Joe Lumley: 6
So how many of us were expecting Joe Lumley to look like a good pickup by the first international break? Outside of the Rotherham United defeat, Lumley has looked calm throughout matches, and his performance today to earn his third clean sheet in his last six games was no different.
He also provides options in the pass game and Reading do need to do more to compete for long balls, because Lumley is beginning to exhibit reasonably impressive distribution. His accuracy isn’t always on point, but his ability to hit nearly anywhere on the field is an asset.
He wasn’t particularly tested this afternoon as Wigan’s attack huffed and puffed without really putting a single chance on target. Lumley was lucky to see a ball he flapped at twice hit the post and be cleared away, but didn’t put a foot wrong otherwise. He contributes well to killing a game off with his willingness to get involved, win fouls and time-waste with the best of them.
Andy Yiadom: 6
An interesting decision to play him in central defence, but Andy Yiadom still found himself deep in Wigan’s half on the right side a few times. Put in a great cutback that Jeff Hendrick should have done much better with.
Spent the first half being targeted with diagonal balls and mostly handled himself well against the taller Magennis, with just the one missed jump that resulted in a chance that went just wide blotting his copybook.
More constrained in the second half, but the captain is always steady for Reading even when other players take the starring roles.
Tom Holmes: 6
Stood tall in the first half and looked the least troubled by Magennis’ size (and moustache). Holmes continues to develop this season but certainly looks more comfortable in a back three. Hutchinson’s cover in front of him allowed Holmes to focus on what he does well today: winning 50/50s.
Tom McIntyre: 6
Wasn’t alone in having a quiet first half but helped to blunt Wigan’s forays into Reading’s half. Looks more comfortable by a long way in a centre back role though and really came into the game in the second half as Reading had a go.
Should have scored on the hour mark as a cross made its way onto his left foot right in front of goal. Made up for it 10 minutes later by providing a gorgeous cross for Tom Ince and was incredibly unlucky not to come away from the match with an assist.
Baba Rahman: 5
Relatively quiet in the first half but untroubled in possession. Still working on his match sharpness, and should benefit from spending the international break on duty. More minutes for Rahman with the Black Stars wouldn’t be a bad result for Paul Ince and the Royals.
Shows excellent delivery when given space on the left wing but a little defensively suspect at times, allowing Wigan to find overloads on Holmes and McIntyre. Picked up a yellow card as he began to tire in the second half.
Junior Hoilett: 7
Arguably Reading’s brightest spark in the quiet first half, Hoilett found himself present and accounted for during some of Reading’s brighter moments. He drifted a fine cross into the box that deserved a better challenge from somebody in pink. Hoilett continued to get up and down the wing throughout the first half and provided a dangerous outlet for McIntyre’s diagonal balls across the pitch.
Continued to go about his business with relative distinction in the second half and was most likely substituted to give the side more defensive legs in the closing stages, rather than for any performance based reason.
Sam Hutchinson: 7
Our first chance to see the veteran centre half play in his ulterior role in midfield, Hutchinson helped Reading to blunt Wigan’s early effort in the first half. Reading fans might have expected McIntyre to be the center back who would step up into the midfield to provide more defensive grit in the centre of Paul Ince’s side, but Hutchinson showed that he has this role in his locker.
Grew into the match well in the second half, stepping up nicely to begin an attacking spell close to the hour mark that eventually resulted in the free kick from which Tom Ince scored.
Ran his socks off after Reading’s goal to protect the lead, and this was an encouraging performance. It seems likely we may see Hutchinson here again.
Tyrese Fornah: 5
Kept himself busy in the first half tidying up Wigan’s buildup play. Benefitted from having a dedicated defensive midfielder alongside him in Hutchinson.
Turns out of trouble incredibly well, but could do with improving his short passing game as he stalled the Royals’ momentum with sloppy passes at times. Replaced by Loum in the closing stages.
Jeff Hendrick: 6
A better first half than in the loss to Sunderland, with calm passing and defending on display. Unfortunately though he wasted Reading’s first great chance of the match, slicing Yiadom’s dangerous cutback over from less than five yards.
Stepped up defensively in the second half when Reading held strong to win the three points, and made several clearances.
Tom Ince: 7
Performed a lovely move to shake one defender in the first half before overrunning the ball. His usual working self in the first half but struggled to get much going creatively.
A little ponderous on the ball at times which led to him losing it after doing the hard work. Lovely delivery from a free kick early in the second half deserved more but would foreshadow things to come…
Put power behind a gorgeous curling free kick to give Reading the lead, doing a great impression of John Swift in the process. Ince’s set piece delivery has had high highs this season, and this was the highest.
Ten minutes later, he should have put the game away for Reading as McIntyre picked him out undefended in front of the goalkeeper but could only head the ball over the top.
Lucas Joao: 5
Did commit himself to more running than usual in the first half but struggled to get into the game.
As ever, looked a lot livelier once Reading had spells of possession in the match, and won useful free kicks. Substituted for Meite towards the end without getting a single chance as good as the Ivorian would get in the 80th minute.
Mamadou Loum: 6
Contributed to the win with a few defensive clearances, but looks a little leggy, perhaps still getting over the injury that recently kept him out.
Yakou Meite: 5
Put clean through within five minutes of coming on but couldn’t put it past the keeper who made a good save. Paul Ince seemed to let him have it on the sideline, but Meite could be forgiven for lacking a bit of match sharpness. Hopefully he puts that kind of opportunity away in the weeks to come. Helped to keep Wigan’s attacks from reaching dangerous areas with his running.
Amadou Mbengue: N/A
Not on for long, replacing Hoilett at right wing back, but touched the ball a few times with varying results. Certainly has energy though and it’ll be good to see if he can challenge the central midfielders for a first XI place after the international break.
Andy Carroll: N/A
Barely saw the ball in his brief cameo, but predictably took his first touch of his second Reading spell on his head. My my though: doesn’t the big man look good in pink?!
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