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Luton Town 1-0 Reading: Player Ratings

A reasonable but uninspired performance is let down by the attacking corps firing blanks

Luton Town v Reading - Sky Bet Championship - Kenilworth Road Photo by Kirsty O’Connor/PA Images via Getty Images

Ørjan Nyland: 5

A shame to have to begin the ratings today by focusing on Nyland’s error, but given that it was the difference between the teams, where else can we start? I'm unsure what Nyland thought he was doing there, but you need to be aware of your surroundings at all times on the field, and he wasn’t.

He had a reasonable game elsewhere however, including making a fantastic close-range save after Cameron Jerome turned his defender deep into the box. Nyland moved quickly to tip the ball onto his net - something we haven’t seen as much evidence of so far in his Reading career.

Having reasonable games let down by one mistake seems to be the way for Nyland. A contract should come his way if the price is right, but only because Nyland’s average quality level will keep Southwood in the hunt for the #1 shirt.

Terell Thomas: 5

I’m unsure what to say about Thomas other than that he looks like a player who has never played at this level. His positional play seemed solid enough, and Ince’s defensive system stops him from needing to do anything particularly heroic.

Very limited going forward. Didn’t offer much and misplaced a lot of passes that were a little too vertical when they needed more nuance. The dearth of attacking ability from Thomas was immediately made clear as Abrefa was shifted into his full back spot and looked more dangerous.

Tom Holmes: 6

Good passes through the lines in the first half helped Reading to break Luton’s press and keep their pressure manageable throughout the game.

A little nervy at times, especially in the air, and it’ll be interesting to see how Holmes develops next season (if he stays). Holmes seems already more than good enough to start in the Championship, but could be a really top player if he can sort out small lapses in his game.

Michael Morrison: 6

Morrison’s back-post runs at set plays have been a fixture of our play for three seasons now, and yet nobody seems able to stop him in full flow. Could have scored with one back-post header shortly after the hour mark, and was unlucky to see the goalkeeper make a low save.

Was his usual solid self at the back, and given the way in which the goal was conceded, Morrison will feel aggrieved not to have picked up a clean sheet today.

Baba Rahman: 6

Solid and calm performance from Rahman. Made one particularly refined step-up to kill a counter attack in one movement midway through the second half. Rahman provides space to operate for others around him with his attacking runs. Provided searching crosses as well and intent as Reading kept Luton thinking in the second half.

Baba has been a popular and quality solution at LB this season. We’ll miss him, and do well to pick up another full back with as much quality next season.

Josh Laurent: 7

Back in his more familiar position, Laurent signed off for the season in style. Made a lovely cross for Morrison at the back post just after the hour. Laurent, whose dribbling was already purposeful if not cultured, has become an absolute monster of a ball carrier this season. Powerful and fast, Laurent used his frame to ease the full back off the ball late in the second half and provide a cutback for Joao that the striker should have done far better with.

Tom McIntyre: 5

McIntyre did nothing spectacular today, but he just looks like a comfortable and confident all-round footballer, especially when he’s on the ball.

Doesn’t at all look overawed in the holding-midfield position, and definitely seems more suited to playing centrally than out in a full back position. If Ince stays, you’d think this will be the position we’ll see McIntyre at most next season (depending on the available players in midfield), but he’ll need a more ambitious attacking player alongside him.

Yakou Meite: 4

Struggled to get into the game in the first half, and it’s clear that his lack of game time this season has led to him struggling to return to form in general.

Mistimed a shot on the bounce just before the 70th-minute mark but still got it closer to the target than the Luton goalkeeper seemed to think. Hooked shortly after for Rashawn Scott.

Ovie Ejaria: 7

Fantastic to finally see Ejaria get a chance more centrally. Ovie played at 10 in both halves, but in an attacking three in the first half, and as the tip of a midfield diamond in the second. Did well in both, but especially the second, picking up useful free kicks with his quick feet.

Could have done better with Reading’s best chance of the first half, as he made space for himself in the box after doing well with a through ball, but shot tamely at the keeper. In truth, this was probably one of Ejaria’s best games all season, and the switch in position seemed to give him motivation that wasn’t as present elsewhere on the final day of the season.

Junior Hoilett: 4

Surprisingly quiet through much of the match. Received a fair amount of “treatment” from Luton whenever he did try to get running and seemed to eventually decide it wasn’t worth potentially getting injured on the final day. Withdrawn for Tom Dele-Bashiru late on to minimal complaints. It would be great to see Hoilett back next season, but this performance wasn’t typical of why that is.

Lucas Joao: 4

A typical “off” afternoon for Joao. Didn’t offer much in the way of link-up play or attacking intent. Often in the first half the ball would bounce off Joao’s first touch rather than submitting to his usually silky style. Should have done much much better with his best service of the game that came after Laurent did excellent

Subs:

Rashawn Scott: 5

Blimey, it feels odd watching players born in 2004. He made a good run to get himself into the box and onto a through ball from Ejaria, but misplaced his first touch and lost his opportunity. Sequestered himself a little too far out wide in the game and was often overlooked in favour of better passing options when going forward.

Tom Dele-Bashiru: 5

Didn’t show a whole lot after being lumped out onto the wing. May be one to inquire after again for another loan next year (a la Ejaria or Miazga’s second stints in 2019/20). Showed promise this season but not yet the finished product.

Kelvin Abrefa: N/A

Came on for Holmes in the 85th minute and looked exciting. Immediately present and accounted for running down the right wing and feeding his academy teammate Scott. Attacking intent was on full display from the teenager and the club should look to get him into the first team next season.


Average: 5.3/10

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