Not troubled too much on the day, and I wouldn’t put him at fault for either goal, but I’ve marked him down for some poor kicking.
Chris Gunter: 6
Steady afternoon at right back, and probably Reading’s most assured guy in the back four on the day. Opened up our best chance of the afternoon with a through ball for Ejaria, who then fed Puscas.
Matt Miazga: 5
Pretty solid on the day, but badly let down by his red card after the final whistle. Appeared to get wound up by Tom Lawrence before himself lashing out.
Liam Moore: 4
Should have done better with the first goal, ducking underneath Lawrence’s shot from the edge of the area, rather than making himself big to block it. Later gave away the penalty for 2-0 with a pretty rash challenge on Martyn Waghorn in the box. He had been close to doing the same earlier on in the half when he appeared to barge Louie Sibley in a 50/50, but the penalty on that occasion was - in my view rightly - not given.
Omar Richards: 5
Pretty shaky at the back, and should have got out quicker to the Derby man who crossed in the build-up to the penalty. Better going forwards than defensively though. Richards pushed up the left to overlap Ejaria well, but didn’t have enough end product.
Andy Rinomhota: 6
Halved the deficit in the second half with a looped header after Ben Hamer’s weak punch out. In his all-round play, I thought he put himself about well and won the ball back nicely a few times, but didn’t really impose himself on the game.
He’s restricted when he plays deeper, on his own in front of the defence - unable to make his trademark surges forward and without the technical ability on the ball to dictate the game. I’d have liked to see him and Swift swap positions at some point in the game.
John Swift: 5
Really disappointing. Failed to impose himself on the game or come up with that edge of creativity you’d expect from him, and his decision making was poor a few times. He was pushed higher up the midfield on this occasion, with Rino taking the deeper role, and as a result Swift didn’t get onto the ball to dictate the game as much as he would have liked.
Yakou Meite: 5
Didn’t offer much either out wide on the right or, after Puscas’ withdrawal, as a centre forward. His best chance of the afternoon came in the first half when, making a run to the back post, he was found by Olise but he couldn’t get his left-footed volley on target. Should have closed down Lawrence for the first goal, but lost his man, allowing the Derby man to get a shot off too easily.
Michael Olise: 6
Looked bright on the ball, and was involved in some of Reading’s better moves in the first half. Created a decent chance for Meite with a cute dinked ball to the back post, and his shot from the edge of the box forced a save from Hamer. But for a number ten, he didn’t create too much on the whole, fading in the second half before being withdrawn for McCleary.
Ovie Ejaria: 6
Reading’s most creative player on the afternoon, Ejaria should have ended the day with an assist for Puscas, only for the Romanian to blast his shot off target. He was also a threat twice on the left byline, getting in behind as Reading opened Derby up, but couldn’t pick out a teammate on either occasion.
Although he looked more at home in his role on the left side of midfield - as opposed to playing centrally last week - Reading needed to get him more into the game.
George Puscas: 4
A poor afternoon for Puscas who, like last Saturday, went missing for a lot of the game. I’m loathe to be too harsh on him as, personally, I feel his lack of impact is as much due to the system and lack of support as his own failings. But even so, he needed to stamp his authority on the game a lot better and make things happen. Spurned Reading’s best chance of the game in the first half when he blasted a shot from close range off target - had to work the keeper.
Sam Baldock: 4
Replaced Puscas on the hour mark, didn’t make an impact alongside Meite in a front two, can’t remember him doing anything.
Garath McCleary: 6
Played on the right of Reading’s four-man midfield, replacing Olise, and looked pretty sharp. Gave Reading some width in his quarter of an hour or so on the wing, putting in some decent crosses.
Jordan Obita and Ayub Timbe: N/A
Replaced Omar Richards and Ovie Ejaria on the left, but came on too late to get grades. That kind of attacking change probably should have come earlier if they were to get fair chances of affecting the game, especially Timbe, who probably wasn’t the right option as a pacy winger to break down Derby’s low block in the closing stages.
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