Coniah Boyce-Clarke: 7
Had barely anything shot-stoppping-wise to do in the first half, bar a low save to his right. Busier in the second half but he was equal to everything Millwall threw his way, and going home with a clean sheet from a fixture potentially this tough isn’t to be sniffed at.
I also really liked his composure in playing out. Boyce-Clarke looked confident with the ball at his feet in open play, and there’s definitely a sweeper-keeper in there to be moulded for the future.
Amadou Mbengue: 6
He only got the first 18 minutes before being withdrawn, but Mbengue was solid in that portion of the game at right-back, helping Reading settle into a tough fixture and hold onto the early lead. Hopefully won’t be out for too long.
Tyler Bindon: 8
An excellent debut for the young Kiwi/Aussie who looked like he’d been playing competitive football this side of the Pond for years. I loved his composure and constant willingness to play the ball out intelligently rather than just whacking it clear. Given that he was on the home fans’ side of the pitch in the first half, keeping his head wasn’t assured, but he did it nonetheless.
Switched to right-back in the second half when Harlee Dean came on. Went close with a free-kick that whistled just past the near post.
Nelson Abbey: 8
The same as Bindon but that bit better. Abbey was the senior head in Reading’s defence and, as captain, in the team overall too, and he played like it. A towering performance from a player who really should stay in the XI on Saturday. Based on this game, he’ll go far.
Matty Carson: 7
A bit more exposed than others in the defence, such as later on in the first half when Millwall found a bit of space down his side, but a strong showing from Carson nonetheless on his debut. Had a couple of creative moments, putting the ball into the box from a cross and a free-kick in the first half. Withdrawn for Guinness-Walker just before the 80th-minute mark.
Tivonge Rushesha: 7
Started out in the middle of the park but went to right-back for the bulk of the game after Mbengue’s withdrawal. Looked solid in both positions - quietly effective - before going off for Dean in the second half.
Lewis Wing: 5
If I hadn’t read the team sheet I wouldn’t have known Wing was playing. That’s not entirely a bad thing - Wing had a more defensive role to play in this game as a deeper central midfielder, and in that context a quiet evening isn’t really an issue. But he’s also a creative player and I didn’t see him exert much influence over the game in possession.
The bottom line really though is that this was another warm-up for Wing, who didn’t play in pre-season. After getting the first half he was withdrawn for Charlie Savage at the interval. He’ll have better evenings, but this wasn’t one for him.
Mamadi Camara: 7
Starting on the right side of midfield, Camara was a good outlet for Reading. He used the ball well and progressed it nicely; he seems to be a distinctly more knowledgeable, assured player than the raw talent we’ve seen in previous years.
Created a good first-half chance for Caylan Vickers, charging forward on the counter before releasing the striker. And he opened his account in scrappy but nonetheless creditable style, poking home late on after Basil Tuma had done most of the work.
Harvey Knibbs: 5
Similar thoughts to Wing really. Knibbs started on the left side of midfield but wasn’t really in the game as an influential attacking threat. His defensive work was good, but there’s more to come from him going forwards. Taken off for Femi Azeez at the break, presumably being rested for Saturday.
Caylan Vickers: 7
Vickers may not have got his goal yet, but he wasn’t far off and he certainly made another positive impression at The Den. He played Kelvin Ehibhatiomhan in for the early opener and effectively set his strike partner up once more, seeing his shot from a narrow angle parried by the goalkeeper before being tucked home by Ehibhatiomhan.
Could have opened his Reading account in the first half when he was released by Camara, before charging forward and firing wide. He probably should have hit the target, but it’s still encouraging to see him getting openings like that.
Kelvin Ehibhatiomhan: 8
The best way to respond to missing a couple chances at the weekend is to bury a couple at the next opportunity. Ehibhatiomhan had two openings and gobbled both up: first dinking the ball home after a minute for 1-0, then tucking home from close range for 2-0 in the 51st minute.
I was impressed by his all-round game too. Ehibhatiomhan led the line effectively, putting himself about well and being a right pain for Millwall’s defence. It was great to see his confidence stick throughout the game after his two goals, to the extent he tried a couple of stepovers in the corner to bamboozle a Millwall defender at one point (unfortunately unsuccessfully).
Michael Craig: 7
Came on after 18 minutes for Mbengue, playing the rest of the game in midfield while Rushesha went to right-back. Calm, composed, quietly effectively and did really well to win the ball back in midfield in the build-up to Reading’s second.
Charlie Savage: 8
Similar thoughts to Craig, but with the added bonus of a really well taken first goal for the club. Savage hit his free-kick sweetly towards the top corner and, although the ‘keeper should have done better, you make your own luck when you strike the ball that well. Bonus points for the knee slide in front of the away end.
Femi Azeez: 6
Added fresh legs at half time and looked dangerous on the counter. On another day he would have had a goal or two, but he was off target with two efforts after bursting forward into shooting range (wide of the post with his right foot, over the bar with his left). For me he could have done better.
Harlee Dean: 6
Got about half an hour at the back off the bench. I didn’t notice him having to do anything outstanding, but he contributed to the clean sheet nonetheless in a period when Millwall were pressing for at least a consolation.
Basil Tuma: 6
His only contribution (again in half an hour on the pitch) was to burst in behind and put the ball across for Camara to score. Nice acceleration and nice composure to tee up his teammate.
Nesta Guinness-Walker: 6
Replaced Carson in the 79th minute and didn’t have much time to make a major impact, although he did play the pass that set Tuma free for the fourth goal.
Who was your man of the match at The Den? Vote below or through this link.