Joe Lumley: 7
Lumley kept Reading in the game early on as the season threatened to get off to a nightmare start. He made a few good saves, including just before the opening goal, which he will have been disappointed with. Looked good collecting balls from crosses with his large frame.
Did very well to find the ball after it crashed off his post shortly after the restart, and looked calm in general, staying with the ball well to pick up a few dangerous looking headers. His distribution was superior to Orjan Nyland’s last season, and it’s fair to say the man can absolutely punt the ball downfield. Overall, an encouraging first outing for Lumley.
Tom McIntyre: 6
Possessed of a cultured left peg, McIntyre demonstrated his passing range throughout with crossfield balls to Hoilett. Defended well as Reading calmed down after the opening goal.
Looks very calm in possession for the most part, but can occasionally trust himself a bit too much. Still, that assuredness combined with his creativity should benefit us over the course of the season so it’s worth the risk. The left side of a back three seems like the perfect position for TMac.
Tom Holmes: 6
Regained his composure after Blackpool’s hot start and did well anchoring the back three. Made crucial interceptions and generally demonstrated a good reading of the game throughout.
Holmes is growing into his Championship career nicely, and he didn’t do anything particularly worrying today.
Andy Yiadom: 8
It took Yiadom less than three minutes this season to pull off one of his trademark “bought fouls” by backing up his defender and throwing himself over. May some things never change.
It was a shame to see Yiadom shackled somewhat by playing in the back three, but it’s great to see the new captain stepping up. Combined well with Hoilett to calmly dig Reading out of holes they dug themselves into.
A confident performance included a few standout moments. Those included getting forward well early on in the second half when he was unlucky to see his inviting cross turned behind for a corner. He saved the best for a late Blackpool breakaway, making an absolutely scandalous goal-saving tackle in his own box in the 79th minute. A great start for the captain.
Nesta Guinness-Walker: 4
There were encouraging signs, but this wasn’t the best of debuts for NGW. Looked shaky throughout, and you’d hope that was more a result of nerves than anything more serious. Oddly let the ball go out of play around 13 minutes but did better getting forward as the first half went on.
Gave the ball away and was almost punished for it with a goal twice in the second half.
Guinness-Walker had a reasonable pre-season and I think most fans were ok with him getting a one-year deal, but I think it’s fair to say it still remains to be seen whether Guinness-Walker is ready for this level just yet.
Junior Hoilett: 7
Ben and I spent a good portion of the season-preview podcast discussing how we’d be worried if Hoilett was playing LWB for the whole season. So of course, here he was starting at RWB in the first game of the season. He adapted well early on though and was able to get forward frequently enough while defending with quiet experience.
He was a handful for the Blackpool defence all second half as Reading pushed in the second half, and provided searching crosses for his teammates in the box. If his end product can improve in the coming weeks, there’s no reason that Hoilett couldn’t have a very purple patch going into the World Cup break.
Tyrese Fornah: 5
Struggled to make an impact in the opening stages and it won’t be a surprise if Loum comes straight into the first XI next week.
Improved in the second half though, and was immediately involved in the second half, turning out of a jam in defence well. Looked better when left to shield the defence himself, and looked mostly calm in possession.
Jeff Hendrick: 5
Looked overrun by Blackpool’s pace early on, and really struggled to get into the game as Fornah and Hendrick seemed to keep treading on each other’s toes. Made an impact for the first time at 20 minutes when he neatly slid Meite in for a chance the Ivorian unfortunately snatched at.
That was indicative of the flow of Hendrick’s first half. There were some bright flashes, but he looked shaky and will need to improve his consistency in the coming weeks. As Reading had more possession in the second half, Hendrick pushed forward and looked generally more comfortable in that area, but lacked the decision making in the final third that could have led to an overall better performance. More to come hopefully.
Ovie Ejaria: 5
A mixed bag from Ejaria. In general, it’s nice to see him operating further up the pitch, but you’d like to see his decision-making skills improve. His cultured dribbling was in evidence as ever, but he didn’t make as much of an impact as Ince or Hoilett and was not unfairly removed for Long late in the game.
Tom Ince: 7
Started really brightly and looked to go forward whenever he had the ball. Made an impact through the rain and boos of the Blackpool fans. Worked hard as ever and perhaps even looks a bit fitter than last season. Certainly Reading’s best player in the first half.
Really looked up for it throughout the entire game, and moves the ball well when Reading are in possession, though he does sometimes look more dangerous on the break. Overall a good start for the junior Ince.
Yakou Meite: 6
Struggled to get into the game early on but looked as direct as ever when he did get a chance. Wanted the ball every time it went forward. To be fair to Meite, he was making runs and perhaps justifiably got a little frustrated with his teammates reluctance to pull the trigger on the killer pass in the first half.
Unlucky to see his last second header in the first half turned behind by Ekpiteta’s block. Faded out of the game a little and full match fitness will likely be a few weeks away for Meite, but he’s a presence in the front line, and he kept his defenders busy throughout the match.
Shane Long: N/A
Who cares how well he did? Shane Long came on for Reading. Let’s just enjoy that today. But bring him on just a little earlier though next time please PI.
Who was your MOTM against Blackpool? Vote through this link.