Joe Lumley: 6
Did nothing wrong and wasn't called into major action, although he did a great job winding up the travelling fans behind him in the second half. A mixture of good defensive work in front of him and Bristol City's inadequacies meant he faced precisely zero shots on target. Still, a solid afternoon.
Amadou Mbengue: 7
My man of the match. A very good afternoon for the youngster, who settled into a relatively new right CB role effectively after being shunted into that spot following Andy Yiadom’s suspension. He dealt well with most of what came his way and pulled off a crucial (albeit pretty straightforward) interception to deny Weimann a golden chance in the second half.
Tom Holmes: 7
On the whole he did a good job marshalling a slightly makeshift defence that finally kept a clean sheet - and did so in style by not even allowing a shot on target.
While I’ve not marked him down for this, he doesn’t fully fill me with confidence as the middle (essentially the senior) centre back just yet. He sometimes looks a bit unsure of himself when others in the same role (hi Sam Hutchinson) are better at taking charge. Ideally he'd return to the right-sided centre back spot or at least have Andy Yiadom next to him to help out.
Tom McIntyre: 7
A strong afternoon from McIntyre who looked commanding at left-centre-back. Dealt well with what came his way, particularly in a busier second half.
Junior Hoilett: 5
This wasn't really a game for Hoilett, who's previously shown real value at wingback as an attacking force. This time his offensive play was more restricted and he didn't always look that convincing with the defensive stuff, more so in the second half.
Tom Ince: 7
A bright but not flawless afternoon from Ince, who seemed to have a more explicitly attacking central midfield role in support of the front two and put in his customarily high work rate.
He came up with the key moment of creativity, plonking an inswinging cross onto the bonce of Loum to make it 1-0. Ince did similar in the first half for Meite after a nice burst down the right, and should have done better with a chance of his own in the second, but put his right-footed finish straight at the keeper.
Mamadou Loum: 7
Loum’s a tricky player to grade, being capable of good and bad moments in a short spell, let alone across an entire game. Still, there was more good than bad from him today, not least a towering header to convert Ince’s corner in the second half.
Jeff Hendrick: 6
Hendrick was noticeably better today after getting a fair amount of flak in recent games from fans. That certainly wasn't the case in the first half, when he (again) was anonymous bar a tame effort that was easily kept out.
However, he came alive after the break and got more involved in the final third, such as when he drove a counter which João should have done better with. He also did well to open up the attack for Reading's second, playing the ball up to Long down the left flank.
5/10 for the first half, 7/10 for the second.
Baba Rahman: 5
Seemingly still getting up to speed after a time on the sidelines. Rahman looked sloppy and not at the higher standards we've seen on previous occasions, summed up by an error near his own box in the second half which led to a cheap conceded free kick in a dangerous area.
It wasn't all bad though. He went close with a long-range effort at the start of the second half, and a delicious ball for Ince almost had the attacker in behind in the first half. It reminded us of how good Rahman's distribution can be; his ability to play those incisive passes is unusual for a wingback and could come in handy for unlocking McIntyre's underlapping runs. Rahman did try that once by my count, only to get the execution slightly off.
Hopefully he'll have better games as he develops his sharpness.
Yakou Meite: 6
A pleasingly awkward performance (from the visitors’ point of view) as Meite made a nuisance of himself up top. Should have been another goalscoring performance though, given Meite nodded a header wide of the far post in the first half.
It’s worth Reading sticking with Meite, who’s had two good games this week. As a combative, mobile striker who’s good in the air, he’s a good partner for whoever else is put alongside him.
Lucas Joao: 5
Didn’t do much explicitly wrong, bar a wasted opportunity in the second half when he dallied a tad with the ball rather than pulling the trigger. His work rate and play in possession were both pretty good, but he didn’t have enough of an impact on the game before being withdrawn for Long.
Shane Long: 7
Got 20 minutes or so off the bench and made a crucial impact in the dying moments, setting up Andy Carroll’s goal. Did really well to shrug off Timm Klose, come infield and put the ball on a plate for his strike partner. Probably worth a start at Burnley next weekend for his all-round game.
Nelson Abbey: N/A
Replaced Hoilett with a few minutes to go, presumably to allow Mbengue to be shifted to right wing-back. No worries in that period, which is creditable as he put over to a less familiar right-sided centre back role (he’s left-footed and made his senior debut as a left back).
It’s always good to see a talented youngster get a taste of first-team action. Abbey may well have more this season if Reading’s centre-back injury crisis doesn’t abate.
Andy Carroll: N/A
Sorry Andy, TTE player-ratings rules are rules: no grade if you’re on after the 80th minute.
Buutttt if we could grade Scenes In The Home End, it’d be a 10/10 for his maiden SCL goal. He took his finish at the back post really nicely then lapped up the love of an adoring home faithful and equally adoring set of teammates. There aren’t many better ways to open your home account than to put the finishing touch (pardon the pun) on a crucial home win.
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