Joe Lumley: 7
An excellent performance from Lumley today, who played a huge part in blunting QPR’s potent attack. His height gives him the ability to cover a huge swathe of his box, and Rangers had to resort to lower crosses into the box to find a way to get shots off.
Made two superb saves in the same number of minutes in the second half just after the hour mark.
First, he made an excellent reaction stop low to his left to deny Roberts who had a free header in the box. Then in the next attack, Lumley proved himself equal to Chair’s ferocious shot, leaping high and to the left to keep it out.
Nothing he could have done about either goal, and he kept us in the game.
Tom Holmes: 5
Steady but unspectacular tonight. Holmes was beaten by a clever crossing run by Lyndon Dykes for the first goal. He should have been more aware of the run and allowed Dykes to get the jump on him. Dykes was in his blind spot and the early cross was early precisely because of the QPR forward’s run, but still, the hope at this stage for Holmes must be that he can lead a defence, and you’ve got to expect more if that’s the case.
Helped Reading stay in the game throughout the night but didn’t do anything particular memorable until he amusingly ended his night by being booked for scuffing up the penalty spot.
Sam Hutchinson: 4
Withdrawn in the first half through injury and we’ll have to hope for the best because outside of tonight, Hutchinson has been sturdy for Reading this season.
Hutchinson, by no means alone, struggled with QPR’s dynamic wide players in the first half. He seemed just a step or two behind at times.
Then in a couplet of chaos, he picked up a yellow card in a crunching tackle shortly before “helping” a ball out of play with what I’ll (charitably) call his bicep.
Rightly received a standing ovation as he walked off past the Reading fans but this wasn’t his night.
Tom McIntyre: 6
A little shocked by the pace of QPR’s wingers in the first half as many of the team were, but improved after the break.
His comfort in possession was part of what allowed Reading to come into the game more in the second half, and it should be noted that the wing back on his side of the field, Guinness Walker, had the more impact in the game tonight.
Andy Yiadom: 5
Forced to shift back into defence when Hutchinson was withdrawn through injury. While Yiadom would surely prefer to play higher up the field, he does perform well in the RCB position, providing something a little different to Holmes and McIntyre.
Yiadom is just a canny operator. A man who has learned from his decade of experience in the EFL. Helped stabilise the defence in the second half but didn’t have any particularly memorable moments.
Nesta Guinness Walker: 6
Gosh the boy can really heave the ball from a throw in, can’t he?
During his early performances NGW was often guilty of dribbling for flair with no purpose, but he’s finding a great balance in his recent displays. He turned his man on the wing inside and out with great running throughout, and was possibly the only player to show up in both halves for Reading.
Really bright start to the second half with a lot of intent in his forward running. NGW caused QPR all kinds of issues down the left side. Earned Jimmy Dunne a yellow card with a lovely elastico that completely wrong-footed two opponents. Unfortunately wasted the ensuing free kick.
Still a little shaky defensively but improving quickly.
Oh, and he was sporting a new blonder barnet. You’ve got to wonder if Hutchinson has stitched him up with that one.
Mamadou Loum: 4
Worked hard but was sloppy tonight in crucial moments. In his first appearances for Reading, Loum looked like a man mountain in the midfield defensively, but it seems like he’s a second or two off the pace at the moment. Struggled to get into the game before Hoilett’s introduction took some of the forward running off his plate. Gave away a few free kicks in both halves in what would turn out to be a portent of things to come.
In the second half of course, Loum gave away the penalty that handed the points to QPR. It’s certainly possible to argue that the penalty he gave away was soft, but he gave the referee a decision to make and wasn’t close to getting the ball with his challenge. There’s no reason to think he won’t bounce back, but this was a poor showing from Loum.
Tyrese Fornah: 5
Overawed by QPR’s athletic style in the first half and really struggle to make his mark in the game. Wasn’t necessarily seeing or doing much with the ball.
Started the second half brighter with a run down the left half space but faded again. Withdrawn for Ejaria on the 70-minute mark.
Jeff Hendrick: 5
Struggled mightily in the first half but better when asked to sit a little deeper after Hoilett’s introduction. Becoming more reliable in the team and you’d expect him to keep his place due to Paul Ince’s trust in experience moving forward, but this was a much more muted performance than in midweek.
Andy Carroll: 6
The busier forward throughout in the first half, Carroll found himself the target of a campaign to wind him from the more streetwise members of the QPR team. Was eventually booked after steaming into a slide tackle shortly after getting into a shoving match at a corner.
Before that though, Carroll did well to tuck away his penalty away, giving the goalkeeper no chance. The big Geordie battled throughout and won the Royals one last free kick with seconds to spare in the match, but ultimately tired as the game went on.
Lucas Joao: 6
An improved performance from Joao today, who is perhaps better suited to playing in a two whilst Reading are playing with their current midfield structure.
His dribbling looked the most “Joao-like” of the season and earned his side set plays throughout the game, including the penalty. Withdrawn for Ince but that was certainly his best performance in a while.
Junior Hoilett: 6
Looked a little tired which is perhaps why he started on the bench. Still, the momentum of the game seemed to change when Hoilett came on, which doesn’t feel like a coincidence.
Ovie Ejaria: 5
Almost had an immediate impact, picking up a Hoilett cross just outside the box and being just one touch away from being through on goal. Couldn’t quite find a moment of brilliance tonight but should continue to get minutes in order to get him back up to speed.
Tom Ince: 6
Rested for the first time this season, Ince Jr was his usual combative self in his quarter hour cameo. Earned free kicks and generally invited contact in QPR’s half, but couldn’t quite find the free kick delivery or shot that he found against Wigan. Overall, a short performance good enough to see him return to the starting lineup against West Brom
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