James Shield’s Player Ratings: How The Star’s Sheffield United correspondent thought Chris Wilder’s players performed at Reading

The Star's James Shield
The Star's James Shield

Jack O'Connell's goal, after Billy Sharp had claimed his 12th of the season, enabled Sheffield United to record the win their performance deserved at the Madejski Stadium.

After shading a low key first-half, Chris Wilder's side dominated the second period against Reading but were forced to wait until the final 10 minutes before making the breakthrough.

Dean Henderson 6

Entered the match under scrutiny following his error against Leeds seven days ago and showed his maturity by keeping things as simple as possible. Had relatively little to do.

George Baldock 7

With older brother Steve starting the match on the bench for Reading, the defender had to wait until the 65th minute before making his sibling's acquaintance on the Madejski Stadium pitch. Delivered the cross David McGoldrick converted from an offside position in the 35th minute.

Enda Stevens 7

The fact most of Reading's best work came down his side of the pitch owed more to the unbalanced nature of the home side's attack than it did any fault on the wing-back's part. Has improved the defensive side of his game in recent months.

Jack O'Connell 7

Together with Stevens, had his hands full dealing with the lively and dangerous Josh Sims so could not press forward in open play as much as either he or his manager would have liked. But once again, helped bring a real physical presence to United's defence. Scored United's second.

John Egan 7

Was required to make a series of early clearances as Reading made a surprisingly bright start given recent events at the club. As always, went about his busy with the minimum of fuss. Solid, steady and reliable at the heart of defence.

Chris Basham 7

If Jack O'Connell runs "something like 11.5 km a game" then his fellow centre-half must cover 111.5. Always there to help out at the back, he also popped up in attack whenever United pressed forward. Had a header cleared off the line by Chris Gunter early in the second-half and provided the assist for Billy Sharp's strike.

Oliver Norwood 7

Constantly demands the ball, no matter where he is on the pitch. Captaining the side in Billy Sharp's absence, struggled to find his range to begin with but gradually began to pick out runners whenever he dropped deep. Edged forward more in the second period.

John Fleck 6

Cautioned midway through the first-half for a late challenge, the Glaswegian had to curb some of his competitive instincts from there on in. Nearly released Conor Washington soon after with a delightful pass around one centre-half but the striker was stopped by the other.

John Lundstram 6

After starting the away win over Brentford, the midfielder watched last weekend's game against Leeds from the bench. The decision to select him for another match on the road should therefore have surprised no one. Worked hard and made few mistakes but struggled to make an impression on the game and was withdrawn at half-time.

David McGoldrick 7

A beautiful player to watch, probably a joy to play alongside but a frustrating finisher at times. Found himself bearing down on goal during the opening exchanges but chipped the ball straight at Anssi Jaakkola. Went close early in the second-half.

Conor Washington 6

Has impressed Wilder with his attitude during training in recent weeks and, like Lundstram, started the visit to Griffin Park. Put the ball in the back of the net early on but was adjudged to be offside by the assistant referee. Worked tirelessly.

Substitutes: Mark Duffy (Lundstram, 46), Billy Sharp (Washington, 59)

Not used: Simon Moore, Paul Coutts, Richard Stearman, Marvin Johnson, Martin Cranie.