Vito Mannone: 6
Although he made one very good save in the first half to deny Bramall from range, he had a fairly quiet afternoon but looked confident in his passing and command of the area.
Chris Gunter: 6
Didn’t get forward as much as in recent games, apart from that was the typical Gunter performance – solid at the back and a good outlet on the right flank.
Tiago Illori: 7
While Illori looks the most comfortable on the ball out of the centre-backs, often finding a forward with a pass between the lines, he has a terrifying tendency to grapple with opposition strikers in and around the box which led to his sending off at Loftus Road. So if he could stop doing that, that’d be fantastic.
Liam Moore: 7
He missed a great chance at the tail end of the first half but made up for it with a goal saving block as Birmingham were in on goal with the score still 1-0. Only looked troubled when Birmingham went long to Jutkiewicz late on in the match and even then he popped up to clear off the line.
Paul Mcshane: 6
Passed well and dealt with the aerial bombardment in the last 10 minutes. Question marks remain as he never seems as composed as Moore or Illori when faced with an attacker, highlighted by his tendency to dive into challenges, which to his credit were perfectly timed today.
Tyler Blackett: 9
Assisted the first goal with a perfect cross and marshalled the left flank superbly. Looked fast, strong and excellent with the ball at his feet. Forced a good save from Stockdale in the first half and gave the lively Maghoma no joy. Obita might struggle to get back into the team if Blackett keeps up this form as he keeps getting better and better in the wing back position.
Leandro Bacuna: 8
Looks a really solid addition to the midfield in the Danny Williams role. What he lacks in size he makes up for in his passing and speed on the ball. A very exciting player from what I’ve seen on Tuesday night and at St Andrews.
Joey Van Den Berg: 8
Toed the line between combative and fouling superbly in the first half and is firmly establishing himself as a must-have in the team for an away game.
Liam Kelly: 7
Playing in a more advanced role, Kelly often pushed the team forward with his driving runs and really should have had an assist for his great squared ball to Barrow
Modou Barrow: 6
Missed an absolute sitter that could have been costly at 0-0 and still looks better when he picks up the ball from wide, but not a bad performance by any means.
Jon Dadi Bodvarsson: 7
Was hot and cold with his hold up play as he sometimes was outmuscled too easily but his presence as a striker was invaluable when relieving pressure and his headed finish was simply lovely.
George Evans: 7
Added energy and attacking threat to the midfield; he seems to be a very good substitute. A lovely finish, it can never hurt to add a few goals from midfield so it was nice to have to hold on to a one goal lead late on.
Garath Mccleary: 7
Still nowhere near back to his best, yet he’s proving to be an effective option already in getting the assist for the second.
Sam Smith: 6
A short league debut but his perseverance up top kept the ball out of the Reading half just when the clean sheet looked under threat.
Calum Egan (@calumtheGAM)
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