Joe Lumley: 6
Equal to everything thrown at him. The highlight of his afternoon from a shot-stopping perspective came in the first half when he got down well to his right to deny an effort heading towards the bottom corner, but he made some other good stops from range. None of them really were all that strenuous though.
Otherwise commanding all round as Reading held out for the clean sheet, and he earned a cheer from the home fans for an absolutely thunderous volley downfield when Jeff Hendrick played the ball back to him off the ground. Also picks up some brownie points for giving the away end (right behind him) plenty of stick immediately after the final whistle.
Andy Yiadom: 7
Part of a defence that marshalled Coventry well and ground out a vital clean sheet. Not too much in the way of stand-out individual moments, but he did put in a crucial, excellent challenge in the first half to prevent Viktor Gyokeres (I think) getting in one-on-one.
Tom Holmes: 6
Unfortunately only got a quarter of an hour on the pitch before being withdrawn due to a head injury. No worries defensively during that period
Amadou Mbengue: 6
I’m delighted for him to open his account, tucking home from close range in the second half from a corner, but it masked what looked like one of Mbengue’s less convincing performances this season. Again playing on the left of a back three, he was beaten too easily on a few occasions to allow Coventry through. A decent performance overall, but those moments should serve as reminders that he’s young and learning his trade.
Junior Hoilett: 5
Not too bad but seemed sloppy by his standards - not the sharp player we saw earlier in the season. Put in some poor corners too.
Tom Ince: 7
Ince again showed that he’s this side’s most consequential attacking player. When Reading were able to get him into the game he was influential, added creativity that nobody else could and took the side up a level. The Royals’ best moves tended to include Ince, he was instrumental in the highest-quality opportunity before the break - bursting down the right before lifting in a cross that Meite headed goalbound for a corner - and put in the set piece which McIntyre met for the winner.
Jeff Hendrick: 5
Once more Reading’s deepest central midfielder in the trio. Nothing outright bad or good, just frustratingly anonymous.
Tyrese Fornah: 5
Looked pretty neat and tidy in his own third but added little going forwards. Withdrawn for Loum midway through the second half.
Baba Rahman: 5
At points in the first half Rahman looked sharper than usual, with a couple of neat ball recoveries in midfield. They were only flashes though and he didn’t influence the game enough, particularly going forwards, before being replaced by McIntyre for the final quarter of an hour.
Andy Carroll: 5
A quiet, ineffectual afternoon from Carroll who didn’t get into the game. While his qualities as an aerially strong target man are obvious, they seemed redundant on Saturday, with Reading’s best stuff going through the more dynamic Meite and Ince. It’s telling/ironic that Reading’s most consequential headers (Carroll’s forte) came from others: Meite’s chance in the first half, McIntyre’s assist and Mbengue’s goal. If Reading aren’t going to commit to a more direct style that suits Carroll, there’s no point putting him in the starting XI.
Yakou Meite: 6
That first-half header which I’ve mentioned a couple of times now was his only shot, but it was a well executed, powerful one that forced a good stop. While he had a fairly quiet afternoon due to a lack of service, particularly in the second half, he still tried to make things happen. A couple of bursts upfield with the ball in the first half stood out - one being harshly penalised for a foul, the other winning a free kick that Ince smashed into the wall for a corner.
Tom McIntyre: 7
Played the vast majority of the game, coming on after around a quarter of an hour for the injured Holmes, and was involved in the goal by meeting Ince’s corner before Mbengue converted. Huge credit to him for coming in and giving a composed, solid performance in an unfamiliar role; McIntyre has typically played as a left-sided centre back this season, but was asked to take up the crucial middle position this afternoon. Shifted over to left-wing-back late on - no worries there either.
Mamadou Loum: 5
Replaced Fornah for the last 23 minutes but didn’t impact the game noticeably. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: Loum isn’t effective in the more advanced box-to-box role that Paul Ince has handed him in the last few games, so I’m sympathetic to his situation.
Shane Long: 6
Replaced Andy Carroll and, while he didn’t add much in the way of attacking threat as Reading were largely happy to hold onto the one-goal lead (hence only getting the 6/10 although I was tempted to give him more), he did his defensive duties effectively.
Worked hard, put himself about well, made a nuisance of himself and linked the play. They’re fairly basic points but they allowed Reading more presence higher up the pitch rather than dropping ever deeper. Long’s such a useful asset to have on the bench when closing out a match.
Lucas Joao: 5
Replaced Meite as fresh legs in the second half but couldn’t replicate the Ivorian’s impact.
Naby Sarr: 6
Made his home debut (which feels odd given how long it’s taken him) by getting the last quarter of an hour in the middle of the back line. No scares or concerns during that period.
Who was your MOTM against Coventry City? Vote below or through this link.