After our 3-0 victory over Bradford secured an FA Cup semi-final at Wembley, Vital Reading looks at the players’ individual performances from the win.
After our 3-0 victory over Bradford secured an FA Cup semi-final at Wembley, Vital Reading looks at the players’ individual performances from the history making team. First half goals from Hal Robson-Kanu and Garath McCleary put the Royals in control, with Jamie Mackie’s second-half goal sealing a Wembley date for Clarke’s men.
Adam Federici – 7 – The Aussie keeper had a fairly quiet evening, only having to claim the ball twice in the first half. Second half he was a bystander, as the game was virtually over. Distribution spot on as usual.
Chris Gunter – 7 – His partnership with McCleary in the first half ran Bradford ragged. I was pleased with how brave Gunter was with driving forward, taking risks with the overlap. Clarke got his selection right with Kelly over Gunter for the previous fixture, and Gunter over Kelly for this one in an attacking sense.
Michael Hector – 7 – A few shaky moments in the first half for big Hec, but on the whole, against two physical strikers in Hanson and Stead, he did very well. He won the majority of his aerial battles and tracked Stead well when he tried to work the channels.
Alex Pearce – 8 – Like the game at Valley Parade, another superb performance from the skipper. Same as Hector, matched and bettered the physicality of the Bradford front line. Much more composed on the ball too and tried to pass it out, even if it was playing against ten men for some of it.
Jordan Obita – 7 – No problems defensively, being very solid throughout, especially during a tough spell in the first period when Darby and Morais tried to link up. We maybe did not see a lot of his attacking game, as most of the focus was down the right side with McCleary and Gunter, but he offered himself going forward at the right times.
Garath McCleary – 8 – Probably his best game since Fulham away two months ago, as he ran Bradford ragged in the first half. There was an element of luck about his goal, but he earned it. Slightly quieter second half, but still put in a very good shift. He will be very important at Wembley next month, especially with how wide the pitch is.
Danny Williams – 7 – This rating may seem slightly harsh, but mainly as Williams wasn’t the focal point in midfield for a change. However, this doesn’t mean he had a bad game, in fact the opposite. He was still winning challenges and was important to our constant pressing of Bradford, which thwarted them.
Nathaniel Chalobah – 9 – Man of the Match – Probably the best midfield performance we have seen at the Madejski in some years. A few have criticised the Chelsea youngster since he came here, but this performance opitimised why Chelsea value him so much. His composure and superb touch in midfield was pivotal to keeping the midfield ticking. His role in Mackie’s goal was superb also – good feet and sublime weight of pass.
Hal Robson-Kanu – 8 – Why does HRK only seem to like performing in the FA Cup. This was the first game in a long time that he actually was direct and drove at his man. Not only this, but his work rate off the ball and tracking back added to his performance. Great flicked header for the goal also.
Jamie Mackie – 8 – A close second for the man of the match, but his immense goalscoring form continued, as well as a good all-round showing. He looks some much more dangerous centrally than out wide. His hold-up play was very good and took his goal very well.
Pavel Pogrebnyak – 7 – People love to criticise the big Russian’s goal-scoring record, but this game showed why he is not all about goals. His work rate was superb, working the channels when needed and his first touch to bring others into play proved why he has played at the highest level.
All the subs were brought on too late to have any impact.