Luke Southwood: 5
Celebrated his new contract with a first start in the Championship, but it wasn’t a good afternoon for him. Beat too easily in the dying seconds as Rarmani Edmonds-Green put his shot through Southwood from a tight angle. Otherwise there weren’t too many worries defensively, but his distribution was shaky at times. Tough experience, but hopefully one he’ll learn from ahead of next season.
Tomas Esteves: 6
Played most of the game as a right back, although he was pushed out to wing back when Reading went to a back three late on. No worries defensively, and looked confident going forwards in the first half, going close himself on one occasion when he blasted over the bar from a tight angle.
Andy Yiadom: 7
I think this may well be his first game for Reading as a centre back in a back four, but his unfamiliarity with the role didn’t show. Didn’t look out of place defensively, putting in some key blocks and clearances. His attacking nature did come out on a few occasions as he popped up in the final third, but that neither led to anything in terms of end product, nor was it punished.
Tom Holmes: 6
Brought over to the left in Reading’s centre-back pairing so he was out of position like Yiadom, but it wasn’t a problem. If Holmes took a confidence hit from his errors at Norwich City last week, they didn’t show in his composed, quietly effective display today.
Omar Richards: 7
Almost certainly his last game in a Reading shirt, with his move to Bayern Munich seemingly done but not officially confirmed. Although he didn’t hit the standards he had done earlier this season, it was a bright display nonetheless.
Got forward well in both halves, having the odd sight of goal and even pressing the goalkeeper to win a throw. His key moment was a really well-timed challenge in the second half to stop Huddersfield getting in on goal down his side.
Alfa Semedo: 5
Involved in the first two goals of the afternoon, both giving away the free kick just outside the box that Huddersfield scored from and winning the penalty for Olise to equalise. On the whole he didn’t otherwise do too much wrong or right in open play, but I can’t help but think he could do more to take charge of matches. Instead, like on other occasions, today he let the match pass him by somewhat.
Josh Laurent: 7
On the day he was handed the club’s player of the season award, he put in a typical Josh Laurent performance: effective in protecting the back four, physically imposing and energetic in covering ground.
That last point was particularly interesting for me: Laurent often seemed to be the deep-lying midfielder that pushed up more freely, such as when he won a corner by charging down the right wing late on. There was also a particularly nice crossfield pass from him early in the second half to Olise, just before Meite was played in.
Laurent has moments like those in his locker, although this season has more predominantly been about his work rate and protection of the back four. It’ll be interesting to see what kind of midfielder Pauno picks to partner him next season - stick with Rino, bring in a more creative passer or perhaps a more classic holding player to let Laurent push forwards more himself?
Andy Rinomhota: 5
A pretty quiet afternoon for Rinomhota who was very much played out of position. Ovie Ejaria’s absence ultimately meant Rino being pushed out to the right wing in Reading’s 4-2-3-1, a role he played decently but unspectacularly a few months ago.
Like then, Rino’s energy was commendable today but he lacked the guile in possession or pace to be a proper threat as a winger. His better moments offensively came in the first half when linking up with Esteves down his side.
I do have to mark him down for Huddersfield’s equaliser though. It was his job to spot and close down Edmonds-Green’s run into the box, with other players committed on the left, but he dallied and allowed the Huddersfield player plenty of space to get his shot away.
John Swift: 6
Bright in the first half but less influential after the break. Before the break it looked very much as if he was finally back to full fitness after generally lacking sharpness since returning from injury, dropping into deeper spots well to pick some intelligent passes. He also had success a couple of times in finding space just outside the box and letting fly, but he didn’t trouble the ‘keeper too much.
Michael Olise: 8
If this is the last time we see him in a Reading shirt, and you’d very much think it is, he made it a very good afternoon. Olise was involved in both Reading goals, scoring the first with a confident penalty and setting up the second by whipping a cross into the back post for Meite. He could well have had a second assist when his inswinging corner was headed just wide by Joao in the second half.
Like he’s done all season, Olise played with freedom and confidence, always looking to try things - whether having a run or playing an incisive pass. He was also Reading’s most consistent attacking player across the two halves, popping up with a few efforts from range after the break.
Yakou Meite: 7
There’s no way Meite should have scored that goal. No way. To get the power and placement on that header to loop it over the ‘keeper takes a heck of a lot of skill, but then again, we know how dangerous Meite is when the ball drops to him in the box.
It capped a positive afternoon for him as Reading’s lone striker - a decision that Ross anticipated a couple of days ago. Meite’s hold-up play was generally decent, and his willingness to try to get in behind gave Reading an extra element to their play that they’ve lacked. That typically came in the first half though, bar one occasion in the second when Olise almost found played Meite in on goal.
Although Joao and Puscas will have something to say about it, playing Meite up top on his own is worth trying again in the future. It’s not a sure bet considering his previous struggles here, but on today’s evidence, if the service is right he can be a threat.
Lucas Joao: 6
He came on in the 67th minute in place of Meite, but didn’t have much of an impact on the match, with Reading not getting forwards all that much in the time he was on the pitch. That said, he did go close with a flicked header from a corner, which he’d won with some strong hold-up play in the box. Perhaps more than most, he needs a rest and recharge over pre-season.
Dejan Tetek: 6
Came into the 10 position in place of Swift to get some more game time. As with Joao he had a quiet afternoon, but did put himself about pretty well high up the pitch.
Liam Moore: 6
Brought on in place of Olise to see the game out as Reading went to a back three, but wasn’t involved much defensively in his time on the pitch.
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