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Birmingham City 1-2 Reading: Player Ratings

There’s only one winner for this game’s man of the match, right?

Birmingham City v Reading - Sky Bet Championship Photo by Naomi Baker/Getty Images

Luke Southwood: 6

Didn't really have that much to do all afternoon. The hosts managed just two efforts on target, and he wasn't overly troubled. I won't mark him down for the goal, when he was left isolated by the poor back pass.

Tom Holmes: 6

Like Southwood, not tested too much defensively. He played the first half on the right of a back three, looking comfortable there on the ball, and switched to right back after the break. While not naturally an attacking full back, he pushed forward well, even if the real thrust on that side was provided by 'winger' Yiadom.

Scott Dann: 7

Another solid afternoon from Dann, who marshalled the defence well and made some neat interceptions. Had some accurate switches of play to keep Reading moving, and almost got Swift in behind just after the break with a nice ball over the top.

Liam Moore: 5

Made a really poor error for the opening goal, which threatened to be the match-winning moment until Clarke’s brace in the second half. Badly misjudged a pass back to Southwood, underhitting the ball to allow Scott Hogan to nip in, take the ball around the ‘keeper and score.

That said, he reacted to that mistake well. Looked fine for the rest of the afternoon, seemingly not affected by the error, and played his part in a pretty solid defensive performance to ultimately see the game out.

Andy Yiadom: 8

Bar goalscorer Clarke, Yiadom was Reading's best attacking outlet on the afternoon. He had some decent moments in the first half, like a nice bit of skill and ball down the channel for Puscas, but it was after the break that he really came into his own.

Moving to a 4-1-4-1 meant Yiadom playing as more of an out-and-out winger. He was that bit more freed up to charge forwards at Brum, often cutting inside to dangerous effect.

One such drive led to the winner, while he'd almost found Clarke earlier after bursting into the box and getting to the byline. Could have scored himself with a well-hit effort that was deflected past the post.

No major worries defensively. In the first half he gave the ball away from a period of Reading pressure, but ended the counter with a nice interception on the cross at the end.

Tom Dele-Bashiru: 5

Given two roles this afternoon: a deeper one alongside Laurent in the first half's 3-4-3, before going to the left in a 4-1-4-1 after the break. Looked tidy in midfield and kept things moving without having a big impact on the game. Had a few efforts off target, including one from inside the area in the second half when he probably should have worked the ‘keeper.

Josh Laurent: 6

Starting to look more at home in midfield, having had a few iffy performances there after playing at centre back. Looked confident and effective in a deep-lying role, whether on his own or in a pairing. Had some nice drives upfield in the first half.

Baba Rahman: 6

Made a few forays forward, but Reading's wide threat was provided down the other side. Perhaps he'd been asked to stay deeper after being caught out at Millwall. No major pluses or minuses.

John Swift: 7

Clarke and Yiadom will get more of the plaudits, but Swift's assist was a moment of beauty. He whipped the ball in expertly from the left, providing just the right placement and power for Clarke to guide it home. That was his stand-out moment from a decent, albeit unspectacular (minus the assist) afternoon.

Ovie Ejaria: 5

An off for Ejaria, who didn’t contribute that much going forwards. I can’t really remember him doing all that much in an attacking sense, which sums up his afternoon nicely. Tried a through ball for Clarke in the second half that almost had the youngster through on goal.

It’s interesting though that Ejaria now seems to be playing more central. Paunovic has moved him away from the left in the last two games, whether in a midfield trio in a 3-5-2 or ahead of Laurent in a 4-1-4-1. That perhaps hints at a change in positioning for him going forwards.

George Puscas: 5

Not that bad an afternoon, but he looked quieter to me than he has done in previous games. Tried a few charges down the right that didn't come off, and had a penalty appeal turned down.

The more significant thing was his withdrawal at half time. It was a strikingly early (pardon the pun) time to take him off, but it paid off. Clarke's brace may well have decisively pushed Puscas out of the starting XI.

Subs

Jahmari Clarke: 8

Two lovely goals from a very talented kid. Clarke showed two sides of his finishing with each part of his brace: first levelling the game with a bullet header, then slamming home after a couple of shots had been saved. While the former was easier on the eye, Clarke's predatory instinct to seize the chance and take it for 2-1 shouldn't be overlooked.

Mamadi Camara: N/A

Again not given enough time to have an impact, but he’ll have been glad to get more game time after coming off the bench at Millwall.


Average: 6.16/10

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