David Button: 6
Almost mistimed control on the ball right at the start of the game and right in front of his net, but luckily did no worse than putting Bindon under pressure. Did appear to miscommunicate with the Kiwi a few times with the ball in his own box which will need to be curtailed quickly.
Couldn’t do much with the first goal once it was in his box. It did appear though that he had time to come for the ball and instead Button got stuck in another conversation with Bindon.
Did well to deny Carlisle from close range in the 51st minute and keep things calm when the game was still within the opposition’s reach.
Andy Yiadom: 6
Caught on the ball early on and had to be bailed out by Abbey. Helped Reading to keep the ball in Carlisle’s half for long stretches of time by cheating high up the field, and completed his dribbles more times than he lost the ball. Not back to his best and a little leggy towards the end of his shift but very solid. Withdrawn for Holmes.
Tyler Bindon: 7
Bindon is a centre-back, and yet today after being pressed aggressively, he managed to confidently take on a pressing Carlisle player, send him the wrong way and turn out of pressure.
Unfortunately, you’ve got to do both sides in defence and he was completely in no man’s land for Carlisle’s first goal, seemingly in the same mind as Button that the other would come for it.
Clearly just as confident in speaking his mind as he is with the ball at his feet.
Started his second half well by refusing a nutmeg and stripping a Carlisle player as they tried to push, and came out with a lot of aggression, perhaps frustrated by letting Carlisle back into the game.
Nelson Abbey: 7
Tidied up nicely from a Yiadom mistake early on. Where have we heard that before?
Abbey was out jumped for Carlisle’s opening goal, but will have expected Button or Bindon to sort out the cross between themselves before it reached him.
After that one defensive misstep, Abbey was able to comfortably physically outmatch Carlisle’s attackers today and help turn this into an easy win for Reading.
Jeriel Dorsett: 7
Does well to sit out very wide and provide width for Reading, even if he’s not playing on the ball too much in possession. Got down the line and put in the cross that ended up being redirected by two separate Carlisle players for an own goal.
Made a nice defensive block on the edge of the box at the start of the second half as Carlisle pressed and pressed, and eventually made a crucial goal-line clearance.
Booked for a “clever” little challenge that stopped a Carlisle counter before it had a chance to develop, and withdrawn for Mbengue shortly after.
Lewis Wing: 8
Nobody on the pitch was on the same level of quality and composure as Wing tonight.
Slowly but surely, play is starting to centre around the ex-Wycombe Wanderers man in the middle of the Reading lineup. Yes, he’s contributing directly to goal scoring, but he’s also hugely influential in buildup play.
Wing’s passing throughout was crisp and vital to how Reading played tonight. Buildup for the first and third goals went through Wing, with Reading’s third only coming from Knibbs after Wing had spun his man and retained possession just on the edge of Carlisle’s box.
Looked really confident in the second half and tried multiple first-time shots and passes. Eventually connected forcefully with an assist from Azeez to smash the ball into the top corner from well outside of the box. A fine fine shot and a statement of intent from Wing for things to come.
Michael Craig: 6
Very calm on the ball - occasionally a little too calm like when he put Yiadom under pressure in his own box!
Relatively untroubled by Carlisle, and helped Reading turn back the right way up the field and get the ball to Wing a few times.
Femi Azeez: 8
Got a great chance to break his scoring duck in the opening 15 minutes when Knibbs slipped him in, but let the ball run across his body to his left foot rather than strike at it with his right.
Didn’t seem as phased by that as he has seemed in recent weeks though and put a fantastic cross in shortly after to help earn Reading a corner.
Confidence clearly still flowing through him, Azeez entirely made the second Reading goal, winning possession back inside his own half before winning his take-on in the Carlisle box and driving all the way to the opposition byline.
Looks fantastic when he starts plays from out wide and should probably aim to do that from now on. Got to the byline and almost crossed for Knibbs’ hat-trick but couldn’t quite put enough on it. Rewarded with his assist later in the game when he nicely laid off the ball for Wing to smash home.
Lastly, he sprung the offside trap brilliantly well to give himself ample time to take down a falling lob and smash it home past the goalkeeper. Celebrated like a man who really needed that, and if this two-game spurt kicks off an impressive run for Azeez: remember these last four days.
Harvey Knibbs: 8
Playing more centrally than he did at the start of the season, Knibbs’ best qualities are getting more chance to shine. Did well to take the ball all the way down the field and slip Azeez in with the score still at 0-0, and should have been rewarded with an assist.
Bundled home Azeez’ hard work with what looked like his stomach area from my angle, but there are no photos on the score sheet and Knibbs was in the right spot!
For his second goal though, he may wish there were photos, because his double turn and confident low finish for Reading’s third were extremely well taken.
Kept running all game, showing incredible lung capacity but didn’t get too many chances to complete his hat-trick.
Paul Mukairu: 6
Can be wasteful on the ball but offers something very different to Knibbs. Beat his man in wide spaces a few times and shows a flair on the ball we haven’t seen since Lucas Joao was in form for Reading.
Sam Smith: 6
Holds the ball up very well and does a good job of retaining possession in the opponent’s half when asked to. I sometimes wish he wouldn’t drop quite so deep in buildup as he’s often therefore not in position if the ball reaches the opposition box quickly, but it’s hard to deny he’s not creatively gifted.
Ben Elliott: 6
Brought on for Mukairu to offer more passing range when the game was calming down. Got a little carried away attempting to replicate Wing’s effort and smashed the ball wide when he had an opportunity outside of the box.
Almost caught on the ball during a Reading counter attack but managed to get it out to a shot for Savage. Just needs to play a touch or two faster if he’s going to start more games.
Amadou Mbengue: 6
Came on for Dorsett and provided something different in his spot but most of the fight had gone out of Carlisle at that stage.
Kelvin Ehibhationhan: N/A
Possessed of a very smooth touch considering his physical presence. Took the ball down nicely a few times but wasn’t afforded any opportunities to shoot.
Tom Holmes: N/A
Brought on late for the man he vice-captained for last season, Yiadom. Untroubled by Carlisle to the extent that he even took a touch in their box.
Charlie Savage: N/A
Brought on to help Reading see out the game and give Craig a rest. Given a ball to shoot on a counter attack a little too late by Elliot, and saw his shot blocked.
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