It's somewhat difficult to judge a Reading performance when there wasn't much of a Reading performance to judge. The Royals were collectively very poor and comfortably beaten by the hosts, and that made it difficult for some players - I’m thinking in particular of the attacking ones - to have a fair crack at showing what they can do. The game was pretty much decided on 51 minutes at 2-0, let alone on 68 minutes at 4-0.
With that in mind, instead of using 5/10 or 6/10 as our usual base mark, I’ve generally gone with 4/10 for those less at fault. As much as I want to give everyone a 1/10 for making me trek up to Yorkshire to sit through that, I’ve tried to have some objectivity in relation to other editions of Ratings we’ve done.
Anyway, here we go.
I wouldn’t put him at major fault for any of the goals, but it was a rough afternoon to let in four so need to mark him low. Each time, he was badly exposed by an absent defence and beaten by shots from pretty close range. On the plus side he made a decent one-on-one save in the second half at 1-0 which, on another day, would have helped.
Tom Holmes: 4
Brought in at right back and wasn’t one of the main culprits defensively, but came up short badly for the fourth goal. Beaten too easily down his side, allowing a cross to come in low that was tapped in.
On the plus side he made a very good intervention in the first half when cutting out a Huddersfield who’d got in behind. He also set up Dele-Bashiru in the second half for a chance that should have been converted, picking the loanee out with a low cross after being found by Swift. Given the general lack of positives, I’ll mark him up slightly for those moments.
Given how poor the centre backs were though, I’m hoping to see him play there next time out.
Michael Morrison and Liam Moore: 2
We rarely venture below a 4/10 in Player Ratings, but I’m going all the way down to 2/10 for Reading’s centre-back pairing. You expect a basic level of organisation from junior pros, let alone ones as experienced as Morrison and Moore. Huddersfield found it far too easy to get into clear-cut goalscoring opportunities on all four occasions, a matter of yards out from goal. That’s simply inexcusable.
Talking more specifically, Moore capitulating under pressure from Sorba Thomas inside his own box for the third was embarrassing. Morrison being nowhere to be seen in the box to deal with the fourth was bizarre. Plus, he had the chance to add some respect to the scoreline by converting a Halilovic free kick from close range, but managed to mess up the opportunity.
Andy Yiadom: 3
Didn’t look comfortable defensively at all really on the left and had some poor positioning. Done too easily (and fell over) in the build-up to the opener. Added nothing going forwards.
Andy Rinomhota and Josh Laurent: 3
Not too bad in the first half, but Reading particularly lacked authority and protection from the double pivot in the second half. Huddersfield had too much space to work in. The ball going through Rinomhota’s legs for the first goal was particularly embarrassing.
Tom Dele-Bashiru: 4
Didn’t get into the game going forwards, although - as mentioned last week - him not being a winger is a mitigating factor. Spurned one of Reading’s best chances when he put Holmes’ cross wide, and gave the ball away with a loose pass in the build-up to Huddersfield’s third.
John Swift: 4
A quiet afternoon from Swift who, despite being Reading’s best player, isn’t good enough to singlehandedly clean up a mess like today. Nice bit of skill in the first half to set up Hoilett.
Junior Hoilett: 4
Probably Reading’s best attacking outlet in the first half, being given a few opportunities to run at Huddersfield’s defence, but he didn’t make anything of any of those chances. Put one shot straight at the ‘keeper after being played in by Swift. Little impact after the break though.
George Puscas: 4
Overall he was fine, adding little up top but not really doing anything majorly wrong. When Reading were in the game he put himself about well and worked hard - so seems to be showing improvement on that front - but that was moot when the contest escaped the Royals.
A quick note on his substitution, which was greeted with ironic cheers by a few ‘fans’ in the away end. Honestly, I get the frustration with a player that cost a lot of money and hasn’t given a return on that investment, but treating a decent pro with his heart in the right place like that (I’ve seen no evidence of an attitude problem, unlike other players we’ve had in the past) is pretty pathetic at the best of times. Let alone on a day when he was far from the most at fault.
Alen Halilovic: 5
Sometimes played on the right, sometimes played more centrally in what looked a bit like a 4-1-4-1 at times. Put in a lovely free kick from which Morrison should have scored. Probably regretting signing.
Dejan Tetek and Jahmari Clarke: N/A
Brought on as fresh legs in place of Swift and Puski. Poor guys. TTE rules usually dictate that we’d give ratings to them as they came on before the 80th minute, but I’ve arbitrarily extended that to the 79th minute considering the circumstances.
Bonus ratings to lighten the mood
The locals: 10
Apparently without exception, everyone in Huddersfield is really nice and friendly. Stewards, lady on the turnstile, everyone. No complaints.
The Birmingham City fan on the train home: 8
Really nice guy who struck up a conversation with me about everything football-related (he noticed I’m a Reading fan due to the bright yellow shirt). Marked down for referencing that game at the Mad Stad (you know which one I’m talking about).
Average (only including professional footballers): 3.41/10
Who was your man of the match against Huddersfield? Yes we’re really asking, and yes I’m grasping at straws with the candidates. If the poll doesn’t display, please click on this link.