Didn’t have a huge amount to do, although he did make a fine stop in the second half from closeish range - although Reading then won a free kick. Didn’t fill me with confidence though: one moment in the first half when he flapped at a cross stands out, as do some really poor, inaccurate kicks late on that meant the ball kept coming back at Reading.
Tom Holmes: 5
Defensively shaky: at fault for QPR’s first-half goal, being caught out by a pass that found Wallace making a run in behind him. Had a similar problem in the second half when the same player beat him too easily to get into the box. On the flipside, he did put in a very good sliding challenge before the first goal that prevented QPR from getting in down the left. Offered little going forward, although he did shoot wide of the far post after the ball fell him on the edge of the area.
Liam Moore: 6
I’m a little torn on Moore. Reading managed to hold on under pressure late on and Moore was a part of that with some important blocks. Then again, Reading looked shaky and a bit disjointed defensively late on, which Moore - as the senior CB in Morro’s absence - needs to take some responsibility for. I’m aware it’s a little harsh to pin a broader problem onto one player like that, but I feel he could have done more to take charge.
Almost had an equaliser in the second half when he tucked the ball home on the follow-up, only to be given offside. I haven’t seen a proper replay back so can’t judge the linesman’s decision, but good instinct from Moore nonetheless to finish.
Lewis Gibson: 5
Should have done better for the opener, when Dykes was able to get in front of him to the ball and have a tap-in from the low cross. In Gibson’s defence (if you’ll pardon the pun), this was just his second start of the season at centre back, and the first in a back four, but he needs better awareness than he showed there if he’s to improve as a centre half.
You can tell he’s confident as a ball-playing defender though. Gibson popped some nice long-range passes about in the first half and even had a go from range at the start of the second, although he would have done better to play in Richards, overlapping on the left.
Omar Richards: 6
Defensively he was less tested than Holmes on the other side so to me he didn’t have too much to deal with. Offensively I’d have liked to see him offer more: whether in the 4-2-3-1 or 4-4-2 diamond, Reading need that overlapping option from Richards, and besides a dangerous cross that couldn’t quite find Joao in the first half, there was little final-third impact from Richards.
Andy Rinomhota: 7
Restored to the starting XI after injury and put in an eye-catching shift, first in a double pivot and then as a box-to-box player in the 4-4-2 diamond after the break. He put himself about well as he always does, but he seemed to be more involved in the final third than he has been, even from the double pivot. Had a good chance early on in the first half when he shot from inside the box, and although he won a corner, he perhaps could have done better.
Lovely pass over the top to find Meite for the equaliser, and a nice sign of confidence for Rino (not an overly expressive passer) to try something more elaborate like that.
Josh Laurent: 6
Played half of the game with a double-pivot partner in Rinomhota, the other as a sole defensive midfield in the diamond. No real worries from Laurent in either scenario - a standard, effective, unflashy shift.
Yakou Meite: 7
A very familiar Yakou Meite performance: he was quiet for much of the game, but came up with the goods in the second half with a crucial goal - his third in as many matches. That goal was emblematic of what he offers this team in the final third: intelligent movement to get in behind, then a mixture of skill and strength to hold off his defender, work the chance and score.
Michael Olise: 5
An up-and-down afternoon for Olise, but more down than up. The biggest negative was a really poor finish in the first half from Ejaria’s pull-back when he just needed to guide the ball home, but blasted it over. Also had some poor set pieces.
On the flip side, he did play some really good passes in the first half to finish players in behind. Meite and Joao should have done better with theirs, while Richards eventually used his to put a cross in that just evaded Joao. However, he was quieter after the break and eventually brought off for Semedo.
Ovie Ejaria: 8
One of his best performances in a while, and it really should have been capped off with at least one assist. In the first half he did brilliantly to dance into the box, pulling the ball back for Olise from the byline, but his finish went over. In the second, he played a pass through to the onrushing Joao who, lacking composure, fired wide. Two golden chances that should have been converted.
Generally he looked sharp and caused the visitors plenty of problems with his footwork, whether in deeper positions or in the final third. We’ve often criticised Ejaria for being a bit laboured in possession, but this afternoon he looked much more purposeful.
I particularly enjoyed one moment in the first half when he controlled the ball under pressure from two QPR players, I think on the halfway line, before spinning away into space, making it look like neither were there, although Rob Dickie pulled him back for a foul. Nonetheless, vintage Ovie.
Lucas Joao: 5
Ugh, not again Lucas. I’ve said similar after recent games, but there’s no way Joao would have missed that chance in the second half if we were talking about the Joao from earlier this season. He seemed to be a bit off balance, yes, but a striker of his ability had to bury that opportunity after taking it past the goalie following Ejaria’s pass. Had a similarish (but nowhere near as glaring) moment in the first half when Olise found him in behind but he dallied rather than letting fly with his left foot. A lack of confidence, surely.
I don’t think his hold-up play was at its eye-catching best today, but Reading noticeably lacked an outlet late on after he’d been withdrawn for Puscas. Then again, after that awful miss, I understand the swap.
George Puscas: 5
Replaced Joao on 79 minutes and barely had a touch, with most of the game in the last 11 minutes plus stoppage time being played in Reading’s third.
Alfa Semedo: 5
Came on for Olise at the same time as Puscas and had little impact. If his introduction was meant to allow Reading to shore up defensively it didn’t do that: pressure kept coming and Semedo couldn’t relieve that.
Tomas Esteves: N/A
Replaced the struggling Holmes on 83 minutes, didn’t have much of a chance to impact the game. I’d have started him as a more attacking option.
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