David Button: 7
Came out smartly a few times to help clear things up for a youthful defence. Made some good collections from crosses including from a vicious delivery in the 27th minute.
Struggled with a long throw in delivery midway through the second half and could only push it over the crossbar for a Cheltenham corner.
Outside of that however, Button’s smart goalkeeping and control of his box ensured that he didn’t have to make many difficult saves.
Amadou Mbengue: 7
Got through a lot of productive running that forced his opposite number backwards in the first half.
Gave the ball away in a costly position shortly after the break and had to be bailed out by Bindon and Abbey. Withdrawn for Yiadom in the second half.
Nelson Abbey: 8
Playing with the captain’s armband for the second time in seven days, Abbey showed his impressive pace when needed, and saw a lot of the build-up play coming through his side in the first half.
Tyler Bindon: 7
Almost caught Button out with a backpass early on and was the less composed of the two young centre-backs that Reading started with tonight. Got away with a smart piece of cynical play right at the end of the game when he leant into his man to stop him from getting onto Bindon’s own backpass.
Overall though, this was another composed performance from an 18-year-old that showed he could well be ready for regular League One football faster than many may have expected.
Matthew Carson: 6
Started the game full of confidence, taking a storming shot from well outside of the box. Had pace and stamina throughout his appearance.
Got himself booked early in the second half for a late challenge and was understandably removed on the hour mark as his admittedly admirable aggression off the ball wasn’t slowing down after his yellow.
Lewis Wing: 6
Started the game in a much livelier manner than he had played with at any point so far in his Reading career. Took a stinging shot from long distance that Luke Southwood could only palm out.
Worked nicely with Charlie Savage to mostly keep things calm without a central midfielder who also plays as a centre-back present in the central two and, together, they played 18 passes into the final third.
Charlie Savage: 7
Looked calmer on the ball in the opening half and excels in the short game. Savage benefitted from Lewis Wing playing better alongside him than he had so far and looked composed for his age. Couldn’t quite pick out his targets from his set-piece deliveries but you sense that won’t last forever.
Put a few searching balls over the top to turn Cheltenham’s defence around and let Reading set their press up.
Mamadi Camara: 6
Found himself involved a lot in the first half and lost the ball a few times but began playing it well as he grew into the game in the second half. It's easy to forget that he’s only 19 given he’s been on the fringes of the first team for so long.
Harvey Knibbs: 6
Got himself into the box and was let down by his feet a few times in the opening 30 minutes. Ran the channels well and made himself a problem for the defence to deal with, without really touching the ball much in the first half.
Worked hard off the ball and helped Reading to break out of their own half during Cheltenham’s attacks. Withdrawn for Femi Azeez on the hour.
Caylan Vickers: 7
Forced the first goal with a dangerous run directly down the throat of the Cheltenham defence.
Took a little while to get started in the game but he was dangerous once he got warmed up. Defended doggedly when asked to and, while certainly raw in a way that sees him make the wrong decisions from time to time, Vickers looks like a really exciting talent.
Left on for the full 90, Vicklers hustled around the field and made himself a nuisance throughout, playing short passes and making bursts of acceleration when he was on the ball.
Kelvin Ehibhatiomhan: 6
Provides a good target for Reading’s longer vertical passes but is upwardly mobile despite his size. Drew a yellow card out of the Robins’ defence in the first half.
Played smartly and brightly throughout and should have been rewarded with an assist when he put Vickers through towards the end of the first period. Had a blocked shot in the half as well.
Withdrawn in the last 15 minutes for Basil Tuma.
Tom McIntyre: 6
Looked a little erratic when he came on, falling short of his usually high bar for passing despite finding himself heavily involved after his introduction. But he did at least show aggression and won the majority of his duels on the night, helping the team close out the game.
Femi Azeez: 6
Looked generally sharp, allowed to come on fresh against tired legs. Did well to win a free-kick deep in the Robins’ half in injury time and helped Reading to see the match out well.
Andy Yiadom: 6
The less busy of the two defensive substitutions and skewed a difficult effort after a corner well high and wide, but showed bravery to make three clearances or recoveries after his introduction on the hour.
Sam Hutchinson: 6
His usual aggressive self, Hutchinson recorded four turnovers in his 20ish minutes on the pitch. Didn’t help to build attacks but wasn’t asked to do so when Reading were closing the game out.
Basil Tuma: 6
Showed an extreme turn of pace when give a pass to chase down the wings late in the second half. Will be an asset to Reading if he can force his way into the matchday squad with more regularity.
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