David Button: 6
Besides conceding, he didn’t have to do much outside of claim crosses in the first hour but did so relatively well, helping Reading to see out minimal panic from Shrewsbury’s set-piece deliveries and crosses.
While you couldn’t fault Button for not expecting the shot that resulted from Knibbs’ poor decision in his own box though, you still hope that your keeper makes that save at the near post.
Did help Reading out in the second half: made a great save in the 66th minute from a corner that was redirected at the goal, again shortly after at his near post when Reading’s defence was pulled out of shape, and again when asked to hold onto a point-blank shot from a corner: a sequence that helped Reading during a shaky period.
Andy Yiadom: 5
Given licence to get higher up the field by the defensive prowess of Dorsett on the other side and gave Reading dribbling ability higher up the pitch. Got up the field with a good run that earned Reading a free kick at the end of the first half.
Did well early in the second half to hook out a dangerous ball across the face of Button’s goal and had a chance to end the game moments later when he smashed a shot against the post from Azeez’s rebound. Ultimately confused by Ruben Selles' late directions and couldn’t keep Shrewsbury out.
Tyler Bindon: 4
A real symptom of how much Selles seems to have negatively affected the team recently is Bindon’s regression.
Often asked to step in rather than used as the recovery defender, Bindon occasionally gets a bit too caught up in the physical battle and doesn’t contain the opposition.
Still has more to learn aerially and lost his man in the box for the header that saw Button make a great save in the second half. Caused a scramble that led to a Shrewsbury corner when he fell over underneath a ball that dropped out of the sky.
Couldn’t quite get his head on the ball that ended in the back of the net for Shrewsbury’s late equaliser, jumping underneath it, and Selles’ late repeated attempts to adjust the structure likely contributed to him being out of position for the winner.
Nelson Abbey: 6
Usually the most reserved of Reading’s defenders today, Abbey continued to provide strength and calmness in the center of defence. Rarely made significant mistakes and often cleared up the mistakes of others.
Pulled out to left-back when Harlee Dean was introduced in the late stages and continued to clean things up over there, before drifting back inside into a back three late on. Not at fault for the winning goals.
Jeriel Dorsett: 6
Showed an ability to win one-on-one defensive duels consistently that we haven’t seen in a left-back yet this season. Alongside Abbey, Dorsett provides a very effective layer of speed and strength. Moreover, he seems to enjoy defending.
Did contribute to the press and attack though at times, notably winning the ball by the Shrewsbury corner flag and putting Knibbs free in the box.
Faded as the second half went on and was withdrawn for Harlee Dean, but deserves to keep his place in the team. Avoided the stain of the final result by being withdrawn when he was.
Sam Hutchinson: 6
Helped Reading to get the ball to Lewis Wing more often and provided some aerial cover in the middle. Picked up his customary booking, this time for making a challenge a few seconds after the ref had blown the play dead.
Probably Reading’s most consistent midfielder today and generally came away with the ball when it came near him. Doesn’t have much in him creatively when Reading are in possession, but won’t have been asked to provide that.
Lewis Wing: 5
Definitely looking fit now and gets around the field with purpose, looking mobile as well as alert. Not as involved as he would like in the first half though and eventually drifted pretty far back to get some time on the ball.
Asked to do more defensively in the second half and did show some strength and composure, registering a few important blocks and interceptions. Generally positive today but more wasteful in possession than he's been previously.
Harvey Knibbs: 4
Heavily involved in the early stages with mixed results but definitely more effective off the ball since Smith came back into the team. Used his smart running to contribute to a dangerous passing move that ended with Knibbs’ cross to Smith in the box.
Principally at fault for Shrewsbury’s first goal. Lapsed in judgement, trying and failing to shepherd the ball out of play when he should have cleared it.
Again, looks fine out of possession but with plenty of misplaced passes and dispossessions, Knibbs is really struggling on the ball.
Femi Azeez: 6
Today was one of those performances from Femi that looks good statistically given the chances and shots he generated, but on the eye test still seemed a bit off. Saw a goal waved off in the opening 10 minutes when he flicked on Sam Smith’s fierce shot.
Had a fabulous opportunity to finally end his goal scoring drought half an hour in when he received a deflected shot in the box with a clean sight of goal. Unfortunately his first touch took it away from him and saw him take a big hit from the defender when his shot was blocked.
Put Dom Ballard clear in the box but at a height that saw it get caught in his feet and started the second half well, finding space in the box to see a shot blocked away for a corner. Shortly after, he smashed a powerful shot from a long way out that rebounded off the keeper and was almost turned in by Yiadom.
Withdrawn late for Nesta Guinness-Walker.
Sam Smith: 7
Had the ball in the back of the net minutes before his official opener when his shot glanced off Azeez and was waved off for offside.
Did so well for the opening goal, using his body to shield the ball before smacking it home on the half volley.
Beat the goalkeeper with another header that bounced just over the bar in the 20th minute and continued to contribute to attacks well, winning the ball back high in the opposition half. Crucial to Reading’s attacking play.
Dom Ballard: 6
Showed his tenacity when he managed to outjump the Shrewsbury goalkeeper to nod his goal in from less than five yards.
Put through by Azeez in the box but couldn’t pick the ball out of his feet to get a shot off before he was closed down.
Runs at defenders with the ball and creates space by doing so. Could sometimes release the ball earlier in that effort but affects the game well. Withdrawn for Ben Elliott in the 71st minute.
Ben Elliott: 5
A little muted today compared to performances recently that have led to calls for his involvement. Elliott is certainly a player who wants to play with the ball on the ground, and this was a game that saw a lot of aerial play. Gave away the corner that saw Shrewsbury equalise well but had a defender behind him when he did so.
Harlee Dean: 4
Brought in to help Reading see out the game, but was lucky to see his lack of pace helped out by an offside flag in his first involvement of the afternoon. Given more defensive cover by Abbey once Guinness-Walker came on and settled down quickly.
As with Bindon, Dean was totally unfooted by Selles’ repeated changes to the defensive structure in the last 20 minutes, and struggled to stop the flow of Shrewsbury’s attacks.
Nesta Guinness-Walker: 5
Brought on as a wing-back as Reading went to a three or five at the back in the closing stages. While that’s a better fit for Guinness-Walker, we didn’t really get to see any of him as he touched the ball just three times.
Kelvin Ehibhationmhan: N/A
Kelvin’s first involvement today was to run back half the length of the field and storm into a clean challenge that ended a Shrewsbury counter attack. Couldn’t really get on the ball though as Shrewsbury pressed their advantage late on
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