Luke Southwood: 8
I have to admit I was a little concerned when it was revealed that Southwood would have to deputise for Rafael, but he has proven me very wrong. He was superb today - confident in collecting crosses into the box, strong with his communication and he pulled off a couple of excellent saves as well. That one-handed reflex stop to deny Onomah late on is simply incredible and I’ve been watching it over and over again. It’s just as important as a goal.
Andy Yiadom: 6
Wasn’t really a game where Reading looked to utilise their full-backs much, so Yiadom wasn’t overly involved in attacking moves. Consistently left worrying amounts of space for Fulham left-back Antonee Robinson to make overlapping runs. Ultimately though, he was part of a strong all-round defensive performance.
Tom Holmes: 6
Looked relatively comfortable before being forced off through injury 20 minutes into the game. Not great to see him emerge in the second half with a protective boot on, hopefully it’s not too bad as Reading are now severely short on fit senior centre-backs.
Michael Morrison: 7
Morrison has looked a little shaky in the first few weeks of the campaign, but this performance was more reminiscent of his commanding displays last season. The stand-in skipper was solid and organised his defence well, meaning that many of Fulham’s dangerous looking chances amounted to nothing.
Baba Rahman: 6
Like Yiadom, this wasn’t a game that Rahman thrived in, but he also didn’t do an awful lot wrong and contributed to one of Reading’s better defensive performances of the season. He is certainly more of an attacking full-back as he shows lots of promise going forward but you can question his positioning at the back at times.
Josh Laurent: 8
Sometimes all you ask for as fans is a player who fights for every ball and shows pride in playing for the club. Laurent does that, going about his work with a level of ease and professionalism I haven’t seen from many other players in a Reading shirt. He dropped into the centre of defence when Holmes went off injured and looked like he had played there his whole career with a commanding display.
Tom Dele-Bashiru: 7
It was unlikely that Dele-Bashiru was going to top Tuesday night and although this was a quieter game for the Watford loanee, he was still influential in the middle of the park as he linked up play well. Limited the impact of Nathaniel Chalobah too, who looked as if he might cause Reading problems before the game. Dele-Bashiru makes it all look so seamless and that’s why he is great to watch.
Alen Halilovic: 7
More very promising signs from Halilovic and it really feels like there’s a lot more to come from him. Involved in both goals, providing the assist for the second with a clever first time chipped ball over the Fulham defence for Ejaria to beautifully control. Halilovic does need to work on his defensive contribution though, as he left Yiadom exposed at times.
John Swift: 7
Still the metronome in Reading’s team despite not getting on the scoresheet today. Most things we did went through Swift, whether that was exchanges of passes or the midfielder driving forward himself. Set up the first goal, meaning he has either scored or assisted 73% of the Royals’ goals this season. His influence is unparalleled.
Ovie Ejaria: 8
What a cool guy. I love watching Ovie play when he’s in full flow because he just makes it all seem so easy. His two goals today were of a very, very high standard for different reasons. The first is a masterful curled finish into the far corner from outside of the box and the second is gorgeous: a mesmeric touch and spin followed by a calm finish. Oh, then there’s that damn smile.
Junior Hoilett: 6
An interesting tactical decision to play Hoilett upfront and probably not one I would be overly keen on seeing again, but the Canadian performed ok considering he wasn’t given tonnes of service. Got a few shots away and generally made of a nuisance of himself, giving the Fulham defenders something to think about.
Danny Drinkwater: 6
A solid, if unspectacular, debut. Provided very little of note going forward, but that wasn’t a huge problem when Drinkwater’s main task was to help keep it tight at the back which he did pretty well with a couple of important blocks and interceptions. He’ll be a decent option this season.
George Puscas & Dejan Tetek: N/A
Paunovic learnt his lesson from the QPR game last week, bringing on two subs late on to provide fresh legs if nothing else as Reading tried to see the game out. They did just that.
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