All in all, November was a very middling month form-wise. Reading managed comeback wins at Birmingham City (2-1) and Swansea City (3-2), a comeback draw at home to Nottingham Forest (1-1) and 1-0 defeats to Millwall and Sheffield United.
The team’s performances over those five matches probably balance out overall as being OK. We saw polar opposites in the last two - very good at Swansea, very bad against Sheffield United - in addition to pretty good, pretty poor and middle-of-the-road displays against Birmingham, Millwall and Forest respectively.
So how about individual stand-outs? We’ve picked out a five-man shortlist for November’s player-of-the-month award - mostly based on average rating, but also with one included for his goal contributions (no prizes for guessing who).
Average rating: 6.60 / Man of the match awards: 1st (Millwall A), 2nd (Swansea City A)
Luke Southwood being an impressive, reliable goalkeeper has seemingly become academic at this point; he took the September and October player-of-the-month awards, and in November continued to show the form that allowed him to initially keep his spot. His average rating of 6.6/10 was the second highest score of any player that started more than one match.
While he took the man-of-the-match award for the 1-0 loss at Millwall, he could have got it at Swansea too. Ironically, he put in an even better performance at the Liberty, but was pipped by the impressive Tom Dele-Bashiru.
Average rating: 7.00 / Man of the match awards: 2nd (Birmingham City A), 3rd (Nottingham Forest H), 1st (Sheffield United H)
November was a slightly unusual month for Yiadom tactically, but still one in which he performed consistently well. While he’s usually just seen as a classic right back in a four-man defence, Yiadom also had stints as a right wing back (in the first half at Birmingham City) and as a right winger (in the second half at Birmingham City, and then from the off at home to Nottingham Forest).
It was that second-half display at St Andrew’s which really stood out. Yiadom helped change the game with his pace and directness, playing a key part in the build-up to Jahmari Clarke’s winner. On the flipside, he showed his defensive value in the resolute display at Swansea City.
Average rating: 6.50 / Man of the match awards: 1st (Nottingham Forest H)
This season has been a frustrating one in terms of game time for Holmes, but things started to click for him in November. Yiadom sometimes being required elsewhere, in addition to a couple of Liam Moore absences (being subbed in the Forest match and then withdrawn due to injury at Swansea), opened the door for Holmes.
He took that opportunity convincingly. His performance against Forest (which included spells at right back and centre back) earned him a deserved man-of-the-match award, and he followed that up with a very good display at the Liberty on Saturday. That mature showing will have shown Pauno that he can trust Holmes to stand tall when the defence is under relentless pressure.
Average rating: 6.40
It’s recently felt to me as if Holmes’ centre-back partner Scott Dann has emerged as Reading’s most underrated player. Given that he played very well in November but didn’t quite get a look-in for a MOTM vote, I’m convinced even more.
Dann has pretty much been an ever-present since breaking into the team, and consistently oozed experience and composure, making key defensive interventions and progressing the ball out effectively. November continued that trend. It also featured another goal. Dann doubled his tally for the season with a true poacher’s finish, lashing home with his right foot after he’d been found by John Swift’s low corner.
Average rating: 6.00 / Man of the match awards: 2nd (Birmingham City A), 3rd (Sheffield United H)
November wasn’t Swift at his very best, but in a sign of his reliability, he still managed to be a key source of goals. Of the six goals scored by Reading, three were assisted directly by Swift. The pick of the bunch was an inswinging cross onto the head of Jahmari Clarke to level the game at St Andrew’s, while he also set up Scott Dann from a corner (Nottingham Forest) and Tom Dele-Bashiru with a simple pass on the counter (Swansea City).
Who’s your POTM for November? Vote in the poll below or, if it doesn’t show up on your device, click this link.