Fulham 1-0 Reading: Player ratings

by Sarah on April 11, 2018

Man-to-man marking as Fulham stretched their unbeaten run to twenty games …

Marcus Bettinelli: Even though the Fulham goalkeeper didn’t have to make a save for the second match in succession, this wasn’t his most convincing of performances. Bettinelli was indebted to Tim Ream early on after being beaten to a through ball by Bödvarsson and some of his distribution was a little iffy. Almost played Ryan Fredericks into trouble with one pass out from the back, but redeemed himself by quickly clearing the danger when a couple of backpasses were left a little short. 6

Ryan Fredericks: Gave Fulham plenty of attacking impetus down the right. Might have helped add a clinching second late on after some superb interplay with Neeskens Kebano and saw his own shot deflect wide. Superb in his defensive duties too, making a vital tackle to deny Mo Barrow a sight of goal when the Whites were short of numbers at the back and headed away a dangerous cross with Royals’ attackers waiting at the back post in the second half. Brilliant covering header in the 64th denied Reading a golden chance. 7

Tim Ream: The American was imperious at the heart of the Fulham defence. Showed great anticipation and agility to bail out Bettinelli and clear off the line when Bödvarsson appeared certain to score so early on and, barring one poor pass back to his goalkeeper, transmitted confident throughout the side. Dealt well with all of the forwards that Paul Clement brought on and produced one audacious moment of skill down by the Riverside to work his way out of a tight situation. 8

Denis Odoi: Another commanding display from the Belgian, who has been so impressive in his last three outings. Produced a brilliant block to deny Dave Edwards during the visitors’ swift start and wins an incredible amount of headers for someone who isn’t the tallest. Full of confidence when in possession and stepped out of defence to start a number of Fulham attacks from deep. 7

Matt Targett: We’ll soon to running out of ways to sum up Targett’s continuing excellence. What a distance he has made to this team since arriving from Southampton in January. Produced a moment of real quality with the majestic ball in that Johansen buried to give Fulham the lead. The Whites might have had two more goals from his deliveries before half time but Mitrovic failed to put away a couple of good headed opportunities. Defensively disciplined as ever. 8

Kevin McDonald: Kept busy in front of the Fulham back four, especially in the opening 20 minutes when Reading seemed to surprise the home side with the vibrancy of their start, but by the Scottish midfielder’s fine standards this wasn’t his best display. Looked a little hurried in possession, giving the ball away a little too often and missed a few tackles. Improved as the night went on and threaded a wonderful pass through for Mitrovic in the last ten minutes but the Serbian’s low cross was scrambled clear. 6

Tom Cairney: It seemed as Fulham’s playmaker might be nullified by Reading’s fast start, but Cairney become increasingly influential after Johansen put the Whites ahead. By the end of the night, he seemed to have all the time in the world in run the midfield. Might have had a goal himself had he been a little greedier around the edge of the box – as it was his best effort was blocked. Unselfishly teed up Fredericks in the second half for a shot that was deflected wide. 8

Stefan Johansen: The Norwegian gave Fulham real impetus from midfield with those trademark forward runs of old. Took his goal superbly and, on another night, might have ended up with three or four himself. Had several efforts blocked and saw one second half shot superbly saved by Vito Mannone. Planted a free-kick right on the head of Mitrovic, who headed wide, before the Serbian couldn’t finish from a second-half cutback. Taken off before the end to a richly deserved standing ovation. 8

Ryan Sessegnon: Posed Reading a host of problems down the left flank, especially as the game opened up in the second period. Gave an early indication of his threat with a low ball that Liam Moore cleared at full stretch and fashioned an opening for Mitrovic, who shot over just before the break. Storming run and cross played in Johansen after the break before Mitrovic somehow stabbed his cross wide with six minutes to play when it seemed easier to score. Seemed to have no ill effects after Bacuna’s horrible late lunge that earned the former Villa man a red card. 7

Lucas Piazon: Included down the right perhaps due to his eagerness to put in a performance against his old club. Started brightly and drifted into plenty of dangerous positions as he cut inside from the right, but didn’t have the pace of an Ayite or a Kebano. His best moment came from a second half free-kick that he got over the wall and back down again from 30 yards causing Mannone to juggle it before gathering. 6

Aleksandar Mitrovic: To the Serbian’s immense irritation, Mitrovic was wasteful in front of goal. Passed up countless chances to add to his winner at Sheffield Wednesday, but occupied Reading’s centre halves throughout. Made a host of intelligent runs and delivered a performance full of his usual power to give Fulham a focal point up front, but failed to put the game out of sight. 6

Substitutes:

Neeksens Kebano (replaced Lucas Piazon, 79): The Congolese winger’s encouraging return from the wilderness continued with a lively cameo after replacing Piazon. Injected some pace and intensity from the bench – immediately presenting a different option to the Brazilian. Perhaps should have scored instead of dragging a finish wide of the far post after a blinding dribble through the penalty area and also saw a low cross a couple of minutes later narrowly elude several white shirts. 7

Ollie Norwood (replaced Stefan Johansen 89): Introduced for Fulham’s goalscorer as Jokanovic sought to run the clock down ahead of stoppage time, but had very little time to get involved. 6

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