Reading 2-2 Cardiff Player Ratings: Tremendous Tomlin

Tomlin’s leveller –

Substitute Lee Tomlin’s 90th minute equalizer completed an 11-minute comeback from promotion-chasing Cardiff City, who battled bravely back in Berkshire to secure a point in a 2-2 draw with mid-table Reading. Here’s our Player Ratings.

The Royals

Vito Mannone – commanding in the first half and showed good distribution, but became more erratic after the break. Fortunate that Hoilett didn’t punish his misjudgement of a cross on 54 minutes but failed to heed the warning. 3

Leandro Bacuna – let Mendez-Laing get in behind him for the best chance of the first half and was too slow to react to the rebound for the equalizer. Made some powerful runs but also picked up a silly booking. 3
Paul McShane – had his good moments, but was a touch timid late on when he needed to be more aggressive. Hit the post with the last touch of the game. 4
Liam Moore – a fine performance in which he put in a number of impressive blocks and interventions. Unlucky not to be on the winning side. 7
Chris Gunter – combined well with Barrow at times in the first half, making up for his lack of pace with good movement. His final ball was a tad frustrating but it is testament to his versatility that, as a right-back by trade, he looked comfortable on the left. 6

Joey Van Den Berg – his experience as a centre-back gave him the understanding of when to drop in between McShane and Moore to make life difficult for Bogle. Perhaps did so too readily in the latter stages when he should have held a more advanced position for longer. 6
Dave Edwards – often joined Van Den Berg doing a lot of covering work in the defensive third, but we saw flashes of what he can do in the final third and he might have been better used further up. 5
Liam Kelly – played furthest forward of the midfield trio and linked play well at times in the first hour, especially when the Royals played through the press. Perhaps faded in the latter stages of his 83-minute shift but a roundly encouraging display. 7

Sone Aluko – arguably the most consistent attacking threat on the pitch. Even when Reading weren’t as effective in the second half, he still had his moments on the break. Could have given Bacuna better protection. 7
Yann Kermorgant – dropped deeper than expected for a target man but this gave Reading an option to play through the press in the first half. As the game became more stretched after the break, he didn’t quite have the pace required. 5
Modou Barrow – caused problems for Manga early on, in doing so winning the corner that led to the opener, before scoring the second via a deflection. Faded quickly when moved to a more central role in the second half, which meant Reading lacked cover in wide areas. 6

Jon Dadi Bodvarsson (on 83) – perhaps should have come on earlier, but for Kermorgant rather than Kelly. Two strikers on the pitch meant the midfield dropped in too deep. 5
Adrian Popa (on 88) – nearly scored a screamer to win it in injury-time. (N/A)

The Bluebirds

Neil Etheridge – needed to be more commanding from set pieces and might have struggled more had Reading put some crosses in during the second half. 3

Bruno Manga – the defender had competed well at right-back in previous outings, but here he struggled to handle the pace of Barrow. Moved to centre-back midway through the first half and looked more comfortable there. 5
Sean Morrison – his evening was cut short due to a knock on 34 minutes. Didn’t get the best reception on his return to the Madejski. 5
Sol Bamba – couldn’t be blamed for either goal and his leadership qualities, according to Neil Warnock, came to the fore at half-time, before he produced a dominant second half display. 8
Joe Bennett – might have got closer to Aluko at times in the first half, but he did haul Cardiff back into the game with a firm strike on 83 minutes. 5

Callum Paterson – heading the ball into his own goal from a corner won’t be a moment to remember and the Scot didn’t quite offer the quality in possession to atone for that error. 2
Loic Damour – normally an energetic presser of a ball that proves useful against possession-based sides, but he didn’t show his usual tenacity here. Guilty of turning his back on Barrow’s shot for the second goal just before half-time. 4
Joe Ralls – at times caught in no-man’s land between the high-pressing forwards and the deep-dropping defenders. He put in some good challenges though and was a controlling influence at the start of the first half and for most of the second. 7
Nathaniel Mendez-Laing – arguably Cardiff’s biggest threat from the outset. Gave Mannone’s his most notable piece of work in the first half and in the second, he was one of the players trying to instigate a resurgence. 7

Junior Hoilett – in the first half he left too much space in front of the midfield through careless pressing that Reading exploited. Far better in the second half though, seeing his 54th minute header bouncing on the floor then over the bar. 6
Omar Bogle – looked lively early on but wasn’t quite as ruthless as he has been in his last three appearances. Mishit the ball for one chance and didn’t quite latch onto a back-pass in a frustrating evening. 3

Lee Peltier (on 34) – showed plenty of commitment and made typically crucial blocks on his 31st birthday. 6
Lee Tomlin (on 79) – had a transformative impact on the contest due to his confidence on the ball. Forced a save within seconds of entering the fray and grabbed a dramatic late equalizer. After two great performances off the bench, surely he’s earned a start? 10
Liam Feeney (on 81) – added some energy to proceedings, getting up and down the pitch in a frantic finale. 7