David Button: 6
Made a good high claim from a free kick in the first half to end the danger, but bowled it out of play again immediately after.
Wasn’t tasked with anything particularly difficult in the second half and oddly chested away one shot that was directly at his frame.
Andy Yiadom: 6
Made a fantastic slide tackle to recover the ball and prevent it going out for a corner early on when Oxford were crashing the box. Found himself involved a good amount with the ball but struggled with his passing accuracy and was hampered by Femi’s struggles to get into today’s game.
Cleared a dangerous cross out of the box with a last minute header showing his concentration and, defensively, this was a reasonable performance from Yiadom.
Amadou Mbengue: 5
Started in the RCB role. Given his recent wild appearances from the bench at full back, this seemed an interesting choice with Dorsett and Yiadom available.
Played some nice balls into the attacking third from deep, but also suffered some lapses of concentration, making at least two mistakes in the first half that led directly to Oxford attacks.
Calmed down in the second half but you’d imagine Selles has other ideas for the future of this position.
Tyler Bindon: 7
Started in the left-sided CB position today in a changeup from his usual right sided position. Managed to time his intervention perfectly to clean up Mbengue’s mistake in the 12th minute.
Perhaps it was the direct comparison in Mbengue alongside him, but it seemed that Bindon played calmly in his role as the “senior” centre back in the pairing. It’s easy to forget that Bindon turned 19 last week when he puts in performances like this.
Jeriel Dorsett: 6
Interplayed nicely with Mukairu early on to get a cross off into the box and helped to clean up a few defensive situations for Reading in the first half.
Given a tough defensive assignment, especially at the start of the second half. Saddled with several tough duels against a fast winger, he was able to win a few but allowed crosses into the box at other times.
Taken off for Mola late on.
Michael Craig: 6
Started really well for Reading, helping them to break any Oxford buildup in a scrappy opening. Unfortunately got booked relatively early on, stepping too eagerly into a challenge on the halfway line.
Continued to play well after it though, playing some nice passes to break the lines that Craig wasn’t necessarily playing in some of his previous starts. Blocked some dangerous deliveries into the box and helped Reading get Wing on the ball more throughout the first half.
One of his best performances in a Reading shirt for a while, especially with going forwards but did fade as the game went on.
Lewis Wing: 7
More great play defensively today and Wing is clearly Reading’s most complete midfielder right now.
Hustled back really well to help out his defender when Yiadom was caught in possession early on. Got a good sliding block off on the outside of the Reading box to deflect a dangerous looking shot. Massively helpful for Reading in terms of blocking up the middle today.
On the creative side, he found himself shooting more than providing today. Arrived on the edge of the box to collect Mukairu’s pass, play a really nice one-two to make space and then curl the ball powerfully just wide. Hit a ball that sat up nicely into the keeper’s arms later in the half, and may want that one back but it was there to be hit.
Harvey Knibbs: 5
Buzzed around well at times in the first half. Got close to reaching several crosses into the box and helped Wing to carve out a good shooting opportunity from distance.
Got a few chances to make something happen in the box towards the end of the first half but couldn’t work a good chance, attempting both take ons and crosses in the box.
Continued his effort in the second half defensively, helping Reading to continually disrupt Oxford’s buildup play but couldn’t quite find the right timing for his attacking chances today.
Paul Mukairu: 6
With Femi getting a lot of attention on the opposite flank, Mukairu seized a scrappy game in the early stages by the neck with a series of dangerous attacks in which Mukairu used his dribbling well but also dropped the ball off with his teammates at the correct moment.
Dropped off as the half went on and Oxford adjusted but helped assist a few Reading shooting opportunities. Switched out to the right in the second half and earned his new marker a yellow card with a run down the touchline midway through the period. Withdrawn shortly after that for Ehibhatiomhan.
Femi Azeez: 5
Found himself in double coverage for the majority of the first half, with two Oxford defenders paying close attention to Femi whenever he had the ball in their half. Struggled to get involved in much play and suffered for it, with some of his few touches in quick situations benign wayward.
Got his first chance to run at the defence before the hour mark when he switched out to the left side. Drove to the outside of the box but sliced his chance wide.
Ran onto a nice flick on from Sam Smith to create a potentially dangerous opportunity but his first touch was poor and the chance was gone. Withdrawn late on for Elliott. Not Femi’s day at all.
Sam Smith: 5
Struggled again with a serious lack of service, perhaps failing to make enough runs to get the ball at his feet in Oxford’s half. Pressed gamely of course but it has been a while now since Smith has gotten himself a goal.
Nicely played Azeez in with a flick on that Femi should have done much better with but in totality this was another game that passed Smith by: a shame after his antics in the reverse fixture.
Clinton Mola: 5
Shaky with the ball at his feet but fine when asked to defend physically. Benefitted from Burey, who had given Dorsett problems, being taken off before his introduction. A perfectly fine appearance from Mola.
Charlie Savage: 6
Played as a singular six in midfield. The good thing about today’s performance was that Charlie didn’t look physically overmatched, and Reading didn’t lose any defensive solidity when Craig left the field.
Savage won both of his duels today, but will have wanted to be involved more. Oddly, a performance in which Savage matched Craig defensively but couldn’t quite match him with the ball at his feet. All that said: this was mostly due to a good Craig performance, and this was still a decent showing from Charlie.
Kelvin Ehibhatiomhan: 7
Changed the game with his first intervention today. Running onto a through ball, Kelvin was able to streak down the left flank and surprise Oxford with his pace. Kelvin’s cross looked dangerous. So dangerous in fact that Brown had to turn it into his own net and Reading were level.
Steamed down the wing again beating a defender for pace later on and earned a throw in for his team 30 yards up the pitch.
Ben Elliott: N/A
Returning from AFCON, Elliott was introduced very late in proceedings for Azeez. Interplayed well with Yiadom at one stage to keep play moving down the right flank, but overall had very little time to make an impact.
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