David Button: 7
Made a string of good saves throughout and wasn’t to blame for any of Portsmouth’s goals.
Continued his good performance with an excellent reaction save from a fizzed overhead kick immediately after the restart.
Bizarrely had a chance to score from a corner late on with his feet. Unfortunately he couldn’t rise to the occasion of becoming the most viral goalscorer of the weekend, slicing the ball wide. Oh well, at least we have conclusive evidence goalkeepers aren’t prolific finishers.
Ultimately though, Button kept Reading in this game and was unlucky not to be rewarded with a point.
Andy Yiadom: 6
Returning to the team today, Yiadom started as captain in Nelson Abbey’s absence. With Tyler Bindon having had to deputive at right-back in recent weeks, his return couldn’t have come at a better time.
Had an up-and-down but memorable game. Did excellently well to skip over a challenge on the right and put in the cross that eventually led to Charlie Savage’s goal in the first half.
Had eyes on the man who scored Portsmouth’s second for a good few seconds but ballwatched rather than closing the space.
Really did well through the second half though, adding a bit of experience and explosiveness to Reading’s right side. Tried his hardest and forced a save in the final minutes.
Tyler Bindon: 5
So good to see him back at centre-back. He showed his comfort on the ball with sharp passes to the CORRECT FOOT of his teammates.
Defensively though, he struggled with Portsmouth’s #9 Bishop. Left the seam too open with Nesta Guinness-Walker for Portsmouth’s third goal and allowed the quick ball back across the front of the goal.
Aerial presence still appears to be an issue for Bindon and you’d hope he develops in that regard as time goes on. Almost allowed another in for a goal in the 65th minute.
Harlee Dean: 5
Started his day by oddly jumping while his man was backed up against the touchline, got nutmegged, and then bailed out by Button from the resulting cross.
Gets very little help from his other defenders in the air, but shows no leadership: just more of the performative yelling we got from Tom Ince last season.
Probably the better of the two centre-backs defensively today but unable to affect much on the ball.
Nesta Guinness Walker: 4
Forced to do a lot of defending today with the players ahead of him often engaged in attacking and pressing.
Booked for kicking the ball away at a free-kick early in the second half and contributed to allowing the second ball for Portsmouth’s third goal. Still struggles to maintain defensive concentration through a whole game and consistently struggles to offer support in the box when crosses come in from the opposite side. Hooked for Amadou Mbengue midway through the second half.
Charlie Savage: 7
Given more license to chase the ball in the opposition half, Savage harried well in his advanced position, hustling between both boxes throughout his time on the pitch.
Smacked in a fantastic hard and low volley to put Reading two goals to the good at the time, showing he’s just as suited as Lewis Wing to fulfilling the attacking role from the edge of the box..
Withdrawn for Kelvin Ehibhatiomhan late on when Reading were chasing the game.
Michael Craig: 6
Sat at the base of a THREE-man midfield today, allowing Wing and Savage to step further forward. Stepped in well at a few crucial moments, but also gave away a few free-kicks in the defensive third: he is a young player after all.
Made a really smart backheeled pass to get Reading out of their penalty box at the start of the second and generally looks composed for a man with very little professional experience.
Lewis Wing: 7
Much like Savage, Wing showed that, when given defensive cover, he can get further up the pitch and affect the game when the forwards are able to win the ball back high.
Scored a fantastic goal with a half-volley from the edge of the box, arriving exactly in the position we need Wing to shoot from when a defensive header dropped there.
Worked hard throughout the first half and, while he faded, this was hopefully a sign of better things to come from Wing.
Harvey Knibbs: 6
Hustled well in the first half and won the ball back a few times, starting off counter-attacks. Did really well to head the ball back across that Charlie Savage smacked into the bottom corner.
Certainly looked more comfortable in the more advanced position but it clearly takes a lot physically to make it work, with Knibbs withdrawn for Paul Mukairu in the second half.
Femi Azeez: 5
Looked really up for it today, and having his position further up the pitch as the right-winger really suited Azeez. Showed alertness and quick feet early on to set up an attack with a takeaway and a blocked shot. Almost nicked another one away minutes later as Azeez pressed well in the opening stages.
Faded as the game went on and misplaced a few touches as the half ended. Didn’t really make an impact in the second half and was withdrawn for Ben Elliott.
Sam Smith: 6
Held the ball up well and put in the impressive cross that could only be headed out to Wing for the opening goal. Like the man he assisted, Smith worked hard in the press as Portsmouth tried to get a handle on the game after going down 2-0.
Couldn’t put Reading 3-1 up with the goal at his mercy after an excellent run saw him beat the Portsmouth offside trap and skip past the keeper. Smith punched the ground in frustration after putting the ball over the empty net.
You have a feeling this performance from Smith will only be remembered for that unfortunate miss, but it’s important to remember his role in Reading’s opening-half attacking success.
Paul Mukairu: 4
Outshone by Elliott during his appearance, meaning he didn’t get on the ball as much as he may have liked, but wasn’t able to affect much in the few chances he got.
Amadou Mbengue: 5
You could have been forgiven for thinking Mbengue had never been gone, returning today with his trademark physicality. Mbengue was superior to Guinness-Walker in the same position during the game, but managed to get himself sent off afterwards for his role in a fracas.
Ah well, at least he’ll have more time to get fit I suppose…
Ben Elliott: 7
Did excellently well to slip the ball through the Portsmouth defence to Ehibhatiomhan and his entrance into the game coincided with Reading generating some momentum for the first time in the second half.
Earned a corner with an excellent run in which he spun his man from a standing start. Overall, the attack began going through Elliot whenever Reading got onto the ball after his entrance.
Deservedly booked for a late challenge as Portsmouth looked to counter-attack. Looks dangerous every time he gets the ball running towards the opposition net, and forced a great save out of the Portsmouth keeper late on.
You’d expect him to start next time out after this cameo, for either Azeez or Knibbs.
Kelvin Ehibhatiomhan: 6
Got onto the pitch late but almost scored early in his appearance, latching onto an Elliott through ball and forcing a corner. Looks positive whenever the ball comes near him, and he almost managed to hook a set-piece back across to a teammate.
Has been unlucky to lose his position to Smith in recent weeks, and while he can’t offer as much in the press, he does look more dangerous on the ball.
Dom Ballard: 5
Earned Reading a free kick with some smart play with his back to goal but affected the game perhaps the least out of any of the subs.
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