Joel Pereira: 7
Made some decent saves tonight and loves a throw out of his box rather than holding onto it for too long. Indeed, he often shows a lot more urgency than David Button to get Reading up the field again when he receives the ball.
Looks a bit shaky with crosses delivered into the box, and you do wish he was a few inches taller and a little sturdier to give him an easier time of making it through a crowded box.
Used every inch of his 6”1 frame to become the penalty shootout hero though, with his save from Alfie May driving Reading into the next round!
Amadou Mbengue: 5
All-action early on, being asked to deal with Charlton Athletic’s speedy wingers defensively. Charged in to intercept a pass in Charlton’s half, drive into the box and get a shot off nicely.
Couldn’t cut out the Campbell cross that snaked into the box for Charlton’s opener, but got down the pitch a few more times with decent intent, and it was a shame to see him taken off at half-time. That removal was likely for concussion safety reasons as Mbengue was checked earlier in the first half.
A reasonable display that could have been even better with some smarter decision making.
Tyler Bindon: 7
Not helped by Sam Hutchinson in front of him and regularly had to go to Mbengue out to the right, or launch a searching ball for Wing or the far side. Spent much of the opening hour trying to do two players’ jobs for that reason.
Couldn’t quite cut out the Campbell cross that came into the area before it reached May and clearly felt he should have done better, punching the ground.
Played really well for large periods of the second half, and it is amazing how much calmness and aggression he can show at the same time. Showed us today that he can be comfortable dribbling the ball forwards as well as passing it.
Nelson Abbey: 6
Used his speed well to cover for Hutchinson’s defensive lapses in midfield. Had a relatively quiet game as the more withdrawn of the two centre-backs, but didn’t make any glaring errors.
Clinton Mola: 6
Started at left-back and was somewhat saved from having to do much by most of Charlton’s attacks coming down the opposite side in the first half.
Moved into the right-back slot in the second half when Mbengue had to come out. Probably actually looked the best he has done in a Reading shirt in that position, making his way to the byline once or twice, and generally getting more involved in Reading’s attacking play than Carson.
Sam Hutchinson: 4
Played for the first time since making comments about the young players after the Shrewsbury Town game and continued to perform worse than those young players.
Just not in the same rhythm as his midfield teammates, meaning he couldn’t offer much on the ball. That’s an issue at all times, but even more so when Hutchinson’s pace limits what he can do defensively against a speedy team such as Charlton.
Almost lost the ball as the furthest reserved player at one point and regularly had to be bypassed by Bindon or Wing when trying to build up through the middle third because he just doesn’t offer a viable passing option. Moreover, he often yelled at rookies in the team after a play that started with his own mistake. A real leader.
Ben Elliott: 7
In lieu of a summary, the below list of key actions and his presence on the pitch for the full 90 should sum up how well Elliott played:
- Put in a fantastic long ball for Wing to get on the end of that almost lead to a goal from Vickers in the 25th minute
- Possibly should have had a penalty when bundled over by not two but three Charlton players in the box! Earned the right to ask the question in any case with a dribble between those players
- Got an easy assist minutes later but quickly made the right decision moving it on to Savage a few yards away
- Came so close to winning it when he got ahead of his marker right in front of net, but couldn’t get enough of a touch on Knibbs’ low cross
Lewis Wing: 6
Took a great strike from way outside of the box just before the 15th minute that earned Reading a corner when the goalkeeper had to fight it off.
Got forward well and got on the end of an Elliort long pass into the penalty box but was closed down quickly by the Charlton keeper.
A little quieter than he has been recently but nothing too worrying.
Caylan Vickers: 6
Linked up really well with Smith, playing a few nice passes with him. Was presented with a great position but bouncing chance in the 25th minute, only to drag it wide.
Put a fantastic cross in shortly after that should have been rewarded with an assist when Smith and Elliott couldn’t put it away with their chances.
Left on for the whole game over the other attackers, likely because he makes good decisions, but more importantly: he makes them quickly.
Paul Mukairu: 5
Pizza Cup Paul had to stay in the team given his player-of-the-round award in the group stage, but he couldn’t quite produce the heroics tonight.
Had a chance to run into the Charlton box from the sideline which he did before being tamely muscled off it. Didn’t do a whole lot else of note, but does at least help out his full back a bit.
Sam Smith: 5
Linked up pretty well with most of Reading’s players and offers both hold-up play and creativity. Formed an especially good partnership with Wing and Vickers but faded during the second half. Withdrawn for Kelvin Ehibhatiomhan.
Matty Carson: 5
An up-and-down performance from Carson who was thrust into the left-back spot at half-time.
Within a minute, Carson got himself turned, and instead of attempting to sprint back, just grabbed a handful of the Addicks player’s shirt. That earned him a yellow card and a tricky 45 minutes.
Carved himself out a chance in the 78th minute when he sidestepped a Charlton defender, but could only curl a weak shot wide. Put in a great curving ball across the six-yard box that almost found a touch into the net, and looked better when Reading were in control towards the end of the game.
Allowed May a decent shot though when he didn’t track his run properly from a goal-kick. A mixed bag.
Charlie Savage: 7
Added a lot more to Reading’s buildup in the middle just through being somewhat competent. Scored with a fantastic curling shot on his left foot. Knew exactly what he was going to do when the ball came from Elliott and made no mistake, finding the top corner around the goalkeeper’s outstretched arms.
Helped Reading to control much of the closing stages but couldn’t quite find the cross for a winner.
Harvey Knibbs: 6
Made two decent crosses along the ground. First Knibbs was put into the box by Azeez with a clever run and almost found Kelvin free in front of the goal. Shortly after he should have had the assist when he found Elliot right in front of the goalmouth.
Scored his penalty to get Reading off to a calm start in the shootout.
Femi Azeez: 7
Playing out wide again, Azeez got down the line and put in a good searching ball shortly after his introduction.
Bought himself space from his defender with his dribbling and whipped in a fantastic cross. Shortly after he made a great curved pass to put Knibbs into the Charlton box on the run.
Another good cameo from Femi and, clearly full of confidence, he smashed his penalty into the top of the net.
Kelvin Ehibhatiomhan: 5
Looked lively. Couldn’t quite get himself on the end of a searching cross from Azeez and headed wide as a result of jumping just a little too early. Really unlucky to get virtually no minutes over the past month, but he just doesn’t quite offer what Smith can.
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