Luke Southwood: 7
I can’t fault him for the goal, which was tapped in from a low cross from a matter of yards out, but he otherwise stood tall in the face of what came at him. Made some good saves, including an early one to deny a Jed Wallace free kick. He also looks particularly confident in distribution: happy to play out under pressure, and executed some longer-range passes well too.
Tyrell Ashcroft: 6
Handed his senior debut in the absence of Andy Yiadom, and had a very respectable 90 minutes at right wing back. There’s always a risk when rookies make a sudden step up that they’ll look like a rabbit in the headlights, but that wasn’t the case for Ashcroft. He looked steady throughout the match, with no major worries. Offensively he was understandably often quite cautious, preferring to retain possession rather than push on aggressively, but he did manage to get upfield a few times.
Tom Holmes: 6
Made his first start in a while, this time on the right side of a back three. A pretty quiet evening: nothing defensively stood out, which is no bad thing for a defender. Poor decision in the second half when he opted to blast a shot over rather than keep the move going.
Scott Dann: 6
Another composed shift from a player whose experience shows through at the back. Reading had a few periods of pressure to deal with, and while each of the back three deserve some credit, Dann’s performance felt noticeably authoritative.
Liam Moore: 6
As with the other two centre backs I don’t have a lot to say about him defensively. No obvious worries. I wouldn’t fault him for the goal: he’s fine as an outside centre half to push upfield to pressure the opposition, but needed others behind him to cover. Misconnected with a set piece header in the second half, sending it harmlessly out for a goal kick when he should have flicked it goalbound.
Baba Rahman: 5
Caught out badly for the goal. Didn’t spot the run behind him, allowing Leonard too much space to get in and then pick out Afobe. While you can tell Rahman wants to be an attacking full back/wing back and some flashes - such as having a penalty shout turned down in the first half - he needs to work on that defensive awareness.
Josh Laurent: 5
Restored to a sole holding role at the base of Reading’s midfield in the absence of Danny Drinkwater, and looked better in the first half than the second. Before the break I thought he looked positive in possession, but he had less of a grip on midfield after the interval when Millwall increasingly took charge. Defensively Reading look a bit open with Laurent in this role - while he wants to push upfield to harry, that can leave gaps behind that needed to be filled.
Tom Dele-Bashiru: 5
A pretty quiet evening, despite being given a more favourable position (the move to a 3-5-2 allowed him, like Ejaria, to come more central rather than being out wide in a 4-2-3-1). Generally pretty tidy without adding too much going forwards - he’s one of numerous attacking players that could do with a rest if we’re to expect more energetic performances going forwards.
John Swift: 6
Made Reading tick in the first half from, seemingly, a free role off Puscas that allowed him to drift around midfield. The Royals played some of their best stuff when Swift was more influential. He was however guilty of wasting some promising moments: failing to play in Puscas in a better position, and blasting over from inside the area in one of Reading’s best second-half openings.
Ovie Ejaria: 5
Looked sharper and more effective than on previous occasions in the first half. It helped that he was brought more central into something of a midfield three, allowing him more involvement in possession as Reading put moves together. He also showed some nice link-up around the area, and should have hit the target shortly before the break when pulling the trigger with his left inside the area. Faded in the second half and eventually brought off for Mamadi Camara.
George Puscas: 6
One of his best all-round games this season, showing sharper linkup and generally looking livelier. Could even have had that elusive goal when he slotted home in the first half, only to see the linesman’s flag go up, and wasn’t too far from an Ashcroft cross either. Will have expected more service from Swift, whose decision-making was off at times.
Jahmari Clarke: 5
Replaced Puscas on 78 minutes in what felt like a ‘what else are we going to do?’ kind of substitution. Clarke’s application wasn’t found wanting - he made some nice runs and pressures - but didn’t really get into the game. Should have partnered Puscas rather than replace him.
Mamadi Camara: N/A
Didn’t get enough time on the pitch, but 10 minutes or so (including injury time) is 10 minutes more than he usually gets. Seemed to be introduced on the left, didn’t have enough of an opportunity to show what he could do as an out-and-out winger, and later popped up elsewhere in midfield as Reading probed unsuccessfully.
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