A well organised and rugged Reading dug in and frustrated a Middlesbrough side who were desperate to avoid a second consecutive home defeat. A Simon Cox dink over Boro keeper Mejias after 7 minutes was enough to secure the victory for the Royals after some disciplined defending, combined with Middlesbrough’s inability to convert chances into goals. Boro’s marquee signing Kike was particularly to blame after nodding a free header well over the bar just before the break and somehow missing a tap in after Grant Leadbitter flashed the ball across the face of goal in the dying minutes.

This result was key for Nigel Adkins’ depleted squad after a trouncing off Nottingham Forest the week before and a poor start to their campaign, overall. Meanwhile, Middlesbrough will be looking to strengthen in attacking positions before the transfer window closes, with Dutch winger, Yanic Wildschut and Belgium international, Jelle Vossen strongly linked to join the club in the next 24 hours.

Middlesbrough

Tomas Mejias – Had very little to do all afternoon. Beaten by a clinical lob after some good play by Reading. 6
Damia Abella – Strong and robust in the challenge. Fairly solid performance from the former Osasuna man. 6
Seb Hines – Stepped forward with a weak challenge allowing let Simon Cox to go past him with relative ease for the only goal of the game. 5
Kenneth Omeruo – Dominant in the air and on the deck. 7
George Friend – More of the same from Boro’s most consistent performer this season. Assured defensively and a threat going forward. 6
Grant Leadbitter – Worked hard and put in some dangerous deliveries but Boro’s forward players failed to convert the chances. 7
Adam Clayton – Didn’t have enough impact on the game. Blazed a big chance over the bar just before the break. 6
Lee Tomlin – Couldn’t reproduce a brilliant midweek performance against Preston in the league cup. Another hit and miss league performance from Boro’s primary creator. 5
Albert Adomah – A real handful all afternoon with pace and trickery. Drew a good save from Adam Federici early on. 7
Adam Reach – Arguably his best performance in a Boro shirt this season. Was very direct and put in some good deliveries. Hugely unfortunate late on, after a cross deflected off Chris Gunter and struck the near post. 7
Kike – Poor performance from the Spaniard. Missed two bread and butter opportunities to equalise and his link up play was not good enough. 5

Substitutions

Luke Williams – Couldn’t get involved in the game but mainly because Middlesbrough’s midfield passing was very average all afternoon. 5
Patrick Bamford – Looked lively after coming on. Kike looked relieved to have a mobile strike partner alongside him for the last stages of the game. 6
Dean Whitehead – Added some extra drive into the midfield but not enough to scrape Boro an equaliser. 6

 

Reading

Adam Federici – Made some important saves and frustrated the opposition crowd and players with his time wasting techniques. 7
Chris Gunter – Solid at the back and always looked to get forward and support attacks. 6
Alex Pearce – Always reliable and was a real leader at the heart of Reading’s defence during Boro’s late bombardment. 7
Michael Hector – Looked assured alongside the experience of Pearce. A decent prospect if he maintains this standard of performance. 6
Jordan Obita – Back into his favoured full back position and was back to his best. Always looking to attack and didn’t put a foot wrong defensively. 7
Ryan Edwards – Superb pass for Simon Cox to latch onto and bag Reading’s winner. 8
Jake Taylor – Didn’t create much but worked hard out on the wing in order to strangle the game. 6
Oliver Norwood – Technically very sound all afternoon. Unfortunate to be substituted late on for tactical reasons. 7
Aaron Kuhl – Seems to have developed a great understanding with Norwood. Good passing and good tackling. 7
Jamie Mackie – Hard working first half performance. Forced out of the game in the second and didn’t have many opportunities to notch. 6
Simon Cox – Took his goal brilliantly. Worrying to see him clutching his hamstring and replaced on 55 minutes. 8

Substitutions

Hope Akpan – A big physical presence in the middle of the park which was just what the doctor ordered during Boro’s late assault. 6
Craig Tanner – The highly rated youngster looked sharp and nippy with some good touches late on. 7
Jake Cooper – At 6ft 4, Cooper helped solidify the Royals defence in the second half. 6

 

Man of the match

Simon Cox – The only moment of real quality in the game rounded off with a brilliant lobbed finish. 8

 

Highlights
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3ZNpcxDC0Wo

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23 - Lancaster University Graduate - Middlesbrough Fan

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