March was an odd month for Reading.
It started off excellently with back-to-back wins and clean sheets against Blackburn Rovers and Sheffield Wednesday, but soon tailed off into disappointment. The last three matches - Nottingham Forest, Birmingham City and Queens Park Rangers - were all winnable, but none resulted in victories. Golden chances were missed in draws against Forest and QPR, while the defeat at St Andrews was a particularly poor all-round performance.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, we don’t have too many nominees for this edition of player of the month - just three in fact. As ever, the shortlist comes from our average player ratings, man-of-the-match voting, goal contributions and the general eye test. So without further ado, here are your candidates:
Average rating: 6.67
Man of the match awards: Nottingham Forest away (2nd), Birmingham City away (1st), QPR home (3rd)
Reading’s tail-off in the last few matches of March would have gone a lot worse if weren’t for the goals of Yakou Meite. He netted an important equaliser off the bench in his return from injury at the City Ground, before doing the same against Birmingham City (to no avail) and QPR.
Those goals underlined his importance to the team: being able to pop up when others were missing the mark, coming up with the goods when it’s needed most. They also continued his fine goalscoring form from earlier in the campaign: six goals in 886 minutes (10 starts and four sub appearances), and Reading will need that streak to continue if we’re to maximise our chances of promotion this season.
Average rating: 6.2
Man of the match awards: Sheffield Wednesday home (1st), Birmingham City away (3rd)
March wasn’t Olise’s best month of the season, but he still found time to shine in an otherwise underwhelming period for the team.
His stand-out performance came at home to Sheffield Wednesday, when he converted a penalty to open the scoring, played a key role in the build-up to Lucas Joao doubling Reading’s lead, and generally looked at his best all round. Olise also set up Meite’s equaliser at St Andrews with a dangerous inswinging corner that found the Ivorian at the back post.
Even on a relatively poor afternoon - the 1-1 draw with QPR when he skied a golden chance in the first half - he still unlocked the opposition’s defence with some cute passes for players running in behind.
Average rating: 6.75
Man of the match awards: Sheffield Wednesday home (2nd), Nottingham Forest away (1st), Birmingham City away (2nd)
March was a strong, consistent month for Yiadom - a player who’s not been able to rack up game time this season as he would have liked. He did however manage four back-to-back 90-minute appearances this month in addition to the one at the tail end of February (Rotherham United away).
His consistency is reflected in both his average rating (the highest of any player from March) and his three appearances high up the MOTM voting. A full back getting recognition as the star performer in any individual game isn’t that common, so three on the bounce is great going.
Yiadom’s threat going forwards was most obvious in the 3-0 win against Sheffield Wednesday, when he contributed an assist for Lucas Joao and a goal of his own.
Vote for your player of the month
So those are your candidates, but which of them impressed you the most? You can vote for your choice in the poll below, or if it doesn’t show up on your device, go through this link.