Wasn’t tested that much all game. Stopped a James McClean shot that was straight at him in the first half and a header to his right late on in the second, but you’d expect him to make both of those stops.
Tom Holmes: 7
Solid defensively and put in more key interventions at the back than others, so he’s my man of the match. Dealt effectively with crosses that came his way and did well to intercept a cut-back just before the hour mark. Didn’t have much of an attacking impact though, and Pauno perhaps could have brought on a more dynamic option like Tomas Esteves or Andy Yiadom late on if he’d wanted to go for the win, but Holmes still played a key part in the clean sheet.
Michael Morrison: 6
Fairly routine afternoon for Morro who, like Holmes, dealt well with what came his way - but he didn’t have as much to do. Low point was booting a long free kick out to the left wing, straight out of play. Took a boot to the face in the second half but got on with it in classic Morro style.
Tom McIntyre: 6
Dealt well with Steven Fletcher but didn’t have that difficult an afternoon. Could have given away a penalty in the first half but the referee rightly booked McClean for diving.
Omar Richards: 6
Quiet afternoon all round for Richards - not overly troubled defensively but didn’t add much to Reading’s attack down the left. Got forward better later on in the game but to little effect.
Andy Rinomhota: 6
One of Reading’s brighter players not in the back four, Rinomhota showed more energy and intensity than those around him. Put himself about well in the middle.
Josh Laurent: 5
I don’t think he looked as authoritative in the midfield as he has done in previous weeks. Wasn’t quite so effective in winning the ball back and imposing himself on the midfield as we’re used to. Perhaps needs a rest after barely missing any game time all season.
Michael Olise: 4
As with the other two starting creative players, I’ve given Olise a 4/10 for Reading’s inability for the vast majority of the game to build up attacking momentum or create chances. It was probably the Royals’ worst attacking performance of the league season, and that’s primarily on Olise, Swift and Ejaria.
Olise started as Reading’s right winger and had little impact there. Looked more influential in the later stages of the game when he was brought central but, apart from a free kick that went straight at the wall from just outside the box, he had little product in the final third.
John Swift: 4
An off day for a player who’s otherwise looked sharp in recent weeks, uncharacteristically unable to come up with a moment of magic in the final third. Put in a dangerous free kick early on that the goalie punched away... but little else to say really. Beaten pretty easily at one stage in the first half by John Obi Mikel who was then able to pick out McClean for a shot at goal.
Didn’t show much in open play to grab the game by the scruff of the neck and put Reading on the front foot, which was badly needed on a day when we lacked creativity. Swift’s had a good partnership with Joao recently (assist at Coventry, pass for the penalty at Preston), so I’d have liked to see Swift do more to get the Royals’ lone striker in the game.
Ovie Ejaria: 4
Anonymous for most of the game and looked sloppy in possession too often when he got it. One particularly annoying moment for me came in the first half he picked the ball up in space and had room to charge forwards into, but his pass was poor and the opportunity went.
Then again he did improve later on, looking more dangerous on the left in the closing stages. Managed to come up with Reading’s only shot on target of the game, although it was a routine stop for the goalie, and almost picked out Meite at the back post very late on.
Lucas Joao: 5
Barely had a sniff all game as he didn’t get any service, so it’d be harsh to give him anything lower than a 5/10. Could have done more to impact the game when he had possession though - there were a few times when he got the ball but let it go a bit cheaply.
Yakou Meite: 6
More impactful going forwards than most who who started, adding energy and purpose down the right wing. Had a shot blocked for a corner and then a header from a corner well blocked (although it would have been discounted for a foul anyway). Almost got on the end of an Ejaria cross late on. Meite’s unique among Reading’s attacking midfielders/wingers in that he’s consistently so good at getting into good goalscoring positions and making a nuisance of himself, and hopefully we’ll see more of him in the coming weeks.
Sone Aluko: N/A
Not enough time to make an impact. A couple of loose passes in his few minutes on the pitch.
Who was your MOTM against Stoke? Vote below or through this link. I’ve had difficulty coming up with candidates here...