David Button: 7
Communicated well with Tyler Bindon early on to clear up the danger from a Leyton Orient throw-in deep in Reading’s half (I have to note this because I’ve criticised Button for the issues with communication before both here and on the podcast).
Button complained vigorously about Agyei’s delayed run-up for the penalty, but admittedly he ended up a good yard or two off his line in an attempt to save it.
Parried a low save in the box to Lewis Wing, seeing it turn into another Orient shot, but did well to smother the striker, causing him to miss high and wide. Made a really good low save from Agyei’s powerful effort from inside the box to keep the scores at 1-1 going into half time.
Cleared a ball from danger with his head as one of his first contributions to the second half before making an effective high claim to end an Orient attack. Great stuff from Button, though the Orient attack was admittedly started by his own wayward clearance.
Has to score well for key saves at key moments though and produced a really good fingertips stop to deny Agyei shortly before the final 10 minutes.
Andy Yiadom: 6
Combined nicely with Azeez to get deep into the box and put in a fizzing low cross that deserved a finish. Put in a few staunch challenges in the fast-paced stages of the first half and continued to get very far forwards throughout.
Picked up a knock early in the second half and seemed destined to come off in the early changes but fought through it. Popped up positively again when he wriggled through the box before getting a powerful shot off right before the 60th minute.
Eventually withdrawn for Mbengue in the 74th minute.
Tyler Bindon: 7
Cut out a few dangerous Orient crosses in the first half but was occasionally a victim of his own aggression, finding himself out of position in a few situations.
Did really nicely to slow down a counter-attack and tap the ball away from Agyei in a dangerous counter attack, but continued to niggle and picked up a yellow.
Did really well in the 70th minute to block a dangerous shot in the box after Orient managed to win the second ball from a cross.
In all, he was the most accurate passer from deep for Reading today, won Reading free-kicks to alleviate pressure and won three quarters of his duels in the air. A good performance from Bindon.
Tom Holmes: 6
Gave away an avoidable penalty in odd circumstances, seemingly tussling with the Orient player as the cross came in and not getting his arms down in time to avoid the fairly tame cross.
Made some good challenges before and after that though. Powerfully headed away a free-kick that made it deep into the six-yard box in a theme of his performance.
Stepped in powerfully to cut out an Orient attack on the halfway line late in the game, but came off the worse of the two, needing some attention from the physio. Eventually had to be withdrawn for McIntyre but, by that point, had reasonably well redeemed himself for the penalty.
Jeriel Dorsett: 5
Quiet in the first half, with much of Reading and Orient’s play going down the other side and Holmes helping with much of the buildup passing on the left side.
Caught on the ball early in the second half in a situation that allowed Orient to get into the box. Withdrawn shortly after for Clinton Mola.
Charlie Savage: 6
Hit a nice free-kick into the back post on his first attempt. His set-play delivery should be one of his best assets for Reading now that Savage is back in the team. Indeed, a common routine from Savage’s corners seemed to be to have Smith arrive late in the “first man” defensive position to flick Savage’s delivery around the corner and into the dangerous areas.
Helped keep the ball circulating for Reading in some of their brighter moments and connected with all of his long passes. May feel hard done by to have been withdrawn for Craig quite so early, but didn’t quite get onto the ball enough in his time on the field.
Lewis Wing: 6
Played as part of a double pivot in a 4-2-3-1 again, Wing got around the pitch gamely. Made some nice drops of the shoulder to find Reading time and space in both thirds. Put a fantastic ball through to Smith that end in a shot right after Knibbs’ goal.
Found himself further and further withdrawn for much of the second half and an earlier cog in Reading’s buildup than he had been. Did get into a good spot in the box late in the game for a shot but couldn’t get it around the defender.
Generally solid defensively today, winning a majority of his duels, and suits the formation change. Wing just couldn’t quite get his shots off fast enough today.
Harvey Knibbs: 7
Pressed smartly with Azeez early on to spring a dangerous attack in transition that ended in a blocked Wing shot.
Looks very happy as a creator in the central 10 spot in the 4-2-3-1 and used his central starting position to combine with every player in the attack around him and create some slick moves.
Couldn’t put Yiadom’s cross into a gaping net right after Orient’s goal, seemingly getting his feet caught up at the key moment.
Made no such mistake from a corner minutes later when he slammed Smith’s flick-on home, leaving the 'keeper no chance.
Picked up a knock while winning Reading a free kick at one point but soldiered on.
Went quiet for long periods of the second half where Orient controlled more of possession, but had some bright moments. Saw his shot blocked at the last minute when he intercepted in the box and drove into the six-yard box.
Femi Azeez: 6
Within 10 minutes, Femi had gotten his first shot off in the box, and began a Reading attack by winning the ball in Orient’s defensive third. Played a nice ball into the box for Harvey Knibbs that ended with a Reading penalty shout. And generally found himself involved in much of what Reading did in the final third.
Got himself to within a few yards of the goal with one run inside from a wide position that began with a sublime first touch on a lofted ball through.
A little quiet for the first 20 minutes of the second half but came alive to turn his full back and get a nice lofted cross into the box, earning a corner.
Got deep into the box with a turn of pace after the 90th minute and deserved more from his driven ball across the ground.
Paul Mukairu: 5
Not hugely involved in the attacking moments of Reading’s encouraging first half as much of the play went down Azeez’ half.
Had a fantastic moment when he pulled the ball out of a scrappy situation in central midfield and played a well angled crossfield ball to Yiadom.
Withdrawn for Vickers with Reading needing a spark in the second half.
Sam Smith: 6
Held the ball up well and combined nicely with Knibbs in the opening stages. Flicked Savage’s near-post corner into the box nicely for Knibbs to finish. Tried that same flick-on from a similar position on a later corner so it does look like that’s a routine Reading will run with Savage on set pieces.
Got into a great spot for Wing to find in the final third and was really unfortunate to slip just as he shot his curling effort taking the power out of it.
Couldn’t control Azeez’ through ball that would have set him free in the box a little after the half-hour mark. Continued to toil away but would have to wait a long time for his next shot, a header over the bar late in the game. Ultimately this was another game that Reading couldn’t get Smith involved in enough.
Michael Craig: 5
Brought on for Savage just before the hour mark. Very early in his appearance the ball fell to him right outside of the box needing a first-time shot, but Craig deferred, feeling the ball onto his other foot before recycling play. The play immediately highlighted the difference between the style of Craig versus Reading’s other midfield options.
Cut out a dangerous Orient attack when Mbengue lost the ball and drove all the way back into the opposition half. Overall had a mixed afternoon, cleaning up some Orient moves, but also losing the ball himself to start a few.
Clinton Mola: 6
Brought on for Dorsett at left-back again. Got two headed clearances from the box off in the same sequence, lending some aerial help to Holmes and Bindon. Won a free-kick shortly after with a run into the middle of the pitch.
Got forward well and put in some nice crosses; two in quick succession in particular found Smith first and then earned a corner.
Caylan Vickers: 6
Slotted into Mukairu’s spot as the left-sided forward in the 4-2-3-1. Vickers’ first action was to win a free-kick for Reading and earn his challenger a yellow card. Played a really nice pass through to Knibbs to keep an attack moving for Reading that led to a Wing shot. Couldn’t quite provide the spark Reading needed but was generally positive.
Amadou Mbengue: 6
Nicely won the ball away on the wing with a well timed challenge shortly after coming on. Lost the ball twice for Reading though in situations that first Craig then Button had to resolve. Then he made an incredibly well timed challenge to win the ball again. So, a typically chaotic Mbengue performance then.
Freed Azeez with his passes down the wing a few times, including once in particular late on that got Reading a cutback in the box.
Tom McIntyre: N/A
Brought on late in a like-for-like substitution for the injured Holmes. Only got on the ball a few times but did his job.
Who was your MOTM against Leyton Orient? Vote below or through this link.