David Button: 8
Made a good first save to get his feel for the ball in this match, saving a long-ranged effort from Stevenage that bounced in front of the goalline.
Followed it up just after the half hour with one of his best saves in a Reading shirt so far, pushing a dangerous header onto the post. Was kept busy with two further saves through the first half, and did everything asked of him with minimal fuss.
Much less tested in the second half, but helped keep the team on the road to victory.
Amadou Mbengue: 8
Put in two good crosses early on when he was able to get forward that should have seen better contention from Reading players. Has the pace and creativity to get forward well and pin opposition defences back when Reading are able to carry it up the field.
Burned his opposite number for pace and almost scored himself for Reading’s second, with his hard, low shot only able to be pawed into Ehibhatiomhan’s way.
Given that he spent the first 20 minutes of the second half absolutely blazing up and down the right wing, it’s no surprise he went down on the 70-minute mark with cramp.
A decent first half, and an excellent 20 minutes from Mbengue.
Nelson Abbey: 7
Was given a stiffer challenge today than he was by Cheltenham, and mostly handled it well. Like his partner, he’s currently a little better at defending along the ground, but will grow into the physical role that will be needed from him from time to time.
Made a few mistakes that could be punished at a higher level, but nothing that seemed worrying on a major level.
Tyler Bindon: 7
Incredibly comfortable on the ball and willing to just stand and wait for his nearest man to press him. A little more suspect when asked to defend in the air, but he’ll grow into that role and a robust Stevenage attack won’t be the simplest of tasks he has this season.
Contributes to Reading’s high passing-accuracy numbers under Ruben Selles with no problem, regularly pointing out passes to Abbey and Button while also managing his own.
Matthew Carson: 6
Much shakier today in the first half than he was on Tuesday, and had a little trouble getting settled in the game.
Definitely has a great cross on him in open play though, putting balls into the corridor of uncertainty that makes it difficult for defenders and goalkeepers to defend decisively. More than likely to keep his place and should.
Sam Hutchinson: 6
Took his customary knock but got up again after a lengthy period on the ground, so he’s making progress in a Reading shirt. Got through a lot of work today and smartly knocked the ball away in many situations that otherwise seemed innocuous. Has a knack for winning 50/50s at important moments in the opposition’s build-up which gives Reading’s young charges time to organise themselves.
Charlie Savage: 7
Remains very skilled and one of the most important players to Reading’s build-up, but does have a mistake in him, almost causing a Stevenage goal at one point in the first half when he played the ball straight to the opposition outside his own box.
His set-play delivery has been one of his biggest contributions to the team so far and continued to be so today as Savage put in the corner that found Ehibhatiomhan in the box. Ended the game by stinging the goalkeeper’s palms with a searching free-kick.
Mamadi Camara: 6
Was feeling his hamstring through the early stages, so you wonder if he’s at full match fitness but even so with Camara, Reading got a player who can operate in small pockets of space while also being good in transition.
Became the beneficiary of two great chances for Reading shortly after the half hour, first slamming his low shot into the keeper, and then not quite getting enough pace on his header from Mbengue’s cross. Came off just before the hour, probably for precautionary reasons.
Harvey Knibbs: 7
Did well to draw the red card from Thompson and is a player his opposite number constantly has to watch, thanks to his pace and energy. Continued to take his knocks unfortunately and had to be removed from the game in the first half when he took a head injury. A decent performance with a disappointing end.
Caylan Vickers: 7
One of a few players for Reading who caused Stevenage issues in the first half with his agility on the ball and raw pace. Should have got an assist when he stripped a Stevenage defender for pace and put the ball on a plate for Mamadi Camara. Taken off for Elliot late in the second half.
Kelvin Ehibhatiomhan: 8
Started really brightly and seems to be growing in confidence with every game. Showed excellent movement in the box to get himself on the end of a Camara cutback and only just dragged his pacey shot wide.
Went quiet for a little while after Stevenage’s red card but came back with a bang in first-half stoppage time, showing good movement again to get free in the box and power Savage’s corner into the top corner.
Again was in the right place at the right time to tap Mbengue’s rebound home and pick up his second, showing great instincts in the box. Had the ball in the back of the net one more time in injury time, but was ruled offside from Elliot’s rebound.
Femi Azeez: 6
Came on for Knibbs late in the first half and started his display with his usual pair of impressive dribbling and mixed results in terms of end product.
Probably should have scored twice in the second half - first he fluffed his lines when presented with a bouncing chance in front of the goalkeeper, and later in the half the ball fell to him five yards out. To be fair to him, both chances weren’t simple but are opportunities Azeez needs to put away to win his place back in the starting XI.
Then of course, later in the game, Azeez should have been rewarded with an assist when he placed a ball on Mukairu’s foot in front of the net, only for the debutant to skew wide. An altogether familiar-feeling topsy-turvy performance from Femi.
Paul Mukairu: 6
Unsurprisingly for a player that Selles wanted, Mukairu looks very comfortable on the ball in small spaces. Started his time on the ball in Reading colours with a Marseille turn on the edge of his own box, drawing cheers from the crowd.
Seems to be full of little flicks and flourishes, but fluffed his lines when Azeez put the ball on a plate for him late in the game.
Andy Yiadom: 6
The captain came on for Mbengue and was presented with his armband by Nelson Abbey. Generally reliable in defence, but really showed just how well Mbengue had been playing in his position today.
Tom McIntyre: 6
Went out to left-back in place of Carson and showed the versatility that’s kept him in the matchday squad throughout its different iterations so far. Still very capable of coming on in a game and helping Reading see out a game and is capable of contributing to the build-up.
Ben Elliott: 7
An intriguing cameo from the new signing. Elliot moved around the field nicely and put one testing shot in on the net that ricocheted off the keeper to cause Ehibhatiomhan’s offside goal. Elliot has been given a first-team number (4) and, on the basis of this cameo, he’ll be affecting Reading’s games in no time.
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