Luke Southwood: 6
Couldn’t do anything about the first goal, a really well struck volley that beat him by power. Did well to smother an effort from Hylton in the second half that would have been 2-0, getting low to prevent the Luton man from tapping the ball home.
Tomas Esteves: 7
My man of the match, especially considering the improvement he showed today in relation to previous performances. A quieter first half, but really came into his own in the second. Got forward well by driving through the middle, linking up well with Onen on the right and creating some overloads that were behind a lot of Reading’s momentum after the break. Should have had an assist when he got in behind down the right and found Aluko with a low cross that struck the bar.
Defensively fairly quiet as most of Luton’s play in the first half, when they had their best spells, was down the other flank.
Tom McIntyre: 6
Pushed over to an unfamiliar right-sided role to make room for Dorsett coming in on the left. That didn’t really suit his tendency to play out from the back, and you’d think he would have had a lot more joy pushing upfield if he’d been on the left. Stepped up well defensively as the more senior centre back, putting in some key blocks in his own area, including one from Moncur at 0-0.
Jeriel Dorsett: 6
No worries at all from Dorsett, who looked composed on his first start for Reading. Stood up well to Luton’s pressure without making mistakes and moved the ball well.
Ethan Bristow: 6
A difficult first half with most of Luton’s play coming down his flank - not his fault, he needed more help as the Hatters focused on that side. Looked confident in pushing forwards before the break though, although he was less involved after it.
Oli Pendlebury: 7
Neat and tidy in the middle. Didn’t often try anything too complicated, but put himself about well and kept the ball nicely. Came close in the first half when he charged into the area and leathered a shot at goal. His composure and energy to me suggest that he may well be a good understudy for Rinomhota - I’d like to see him involved in the league a few more times this season.
Alfa Semedo: 6
Looked much more at home in a two-man midfield rather than playing further upfield, although he wasn’t able to properly impose himself on the game. Still, a steady enough performance and he tested the goalie with a powerful low drive at the bottom corner.
Jayden Onen: 5
As I’ll also say for Aluko further down, Onen’s afternoon will probably be remembered for a miss. When Melvin-Lambert’s effort struck the bar late on, Onen was following in at close range but put the ball over - it wasn’t an easy chance, but he should have done better.
Overall he played on the left for most of the game, although he had a spell on the right in the second half, where he looked pretty bright and linked up well with Esteves after the break. Had a few chances/half-chances when he got into the box, suggesting that he’s got the mentality to make those kind of runs into the area, which would give Reading a useful alternative to their attacking midfielders who generally don’t do that.
Defensively, he could probably have done more to help out Bristow in the first half, with Luton threatening down that side.
Michael Olise: 6
Pretty quiet by his standards; he wasn’t able to get on the ball and really dictate play as you’d have liked, but a decent afternoon overall. More influential towards the end of the first half and grew in the second, forcing a corner with a well-hit effort from range. Withdrawn in the second half as part of a triple change, and Reading lost their momentum afterwards.
Sone Aluko: 5
One of Reading’s busier attacking players on the pitch, but his afternoon will be remembered for a howler in the second half that pushes him down to a 5/10. He was in plenty of space to receive Esteves’ low cross in the area, around eight yards or so out, but got too much on it and smashed the ball against the crossbar.
That was a big shame because it would have capped off a good afternoon for Aluko, who came up with some good moments. Had Reading’s first shot of the game when he went close from outside the area pretty late in the first half, and almost found Onen when he got in behind after the break.
Sam Baldock: 5
A score and review that can be copy and pasted from most of his other ones really. Baldock barely got into the game as Reading’s lone striker, being unable to hold the ball up or get in behind. Unless Pauno tries something different tactically, for example switching to a 4-3-3, there’s not really much point using Baldock.
That said, he did come fairly close in the second half when he found space and whacked a shot at the bottom corner from range. He also almost converted a loose ball after Semedo’s low drive. Should have come off earlier though.
Dejan Tetek: 6
Brought on as a number 10 with around 20 minutes to go, but didn’t really have that much influence on the game. A decent run-out for a player working his way back from injury though.
Conor Lawless: 6
Played alongside Pendlebury for the closing 15 minutes, having replaced Semedo in a triple change that also featured the introduction of Camara and Melvin-Lambert. Reading’s momentum went at that stage due to the sudden lack of experience, so although Lawless didn’t have any stand-out moments, it’s more due to the flow of the game around him than anything else.
Mamadi Camara: 6
Same as Lawless. Brought on as a right winger and looked pretty lively, but didn’t come up with anything during his limited time on the pitch.
Nahum Melvin-Lambert: 5
Came agonisingly close late on when he managed to get in behind but lofted his effort onto the bar. Good technique to create the opportunity and almost score, but it wasn’t to be. Given Baldock’s lack of impact, I’d have liked to see him replace Baldock earlier in the game.
Who was your man of the match against Luton? Vote below or through this link.