Championship strugglers Reading took another small step to survival yesterday afternoon as they clinched a last-minute equaliser against Swansea City to secure a 4-4 draw.
Lucas Joao’s penalty in the third minute looked set to put the Royals on course for a settled afternoon – but they were 4-1 down within the hour before giving themselves a real chance to get something out of the game as Tom Ince and Joao made it 4-3.
And after Tom McIntyre’s heroics at Sheffield United on Good Friday, the former Scotland youth international popped up again to clinch the equaliser against the Swans, consigning Derby County to the third tier in the process.
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However, it was another defender that proved to be a real asset on the day for the Berkshire side despite letting four in and that was Baba Rahman.
Although fellow countryman and domestic teammate Andy Yiadom has received great attention for some of his accomplished performances – Rahman stepped up to the plate well and was reasonably solid in defence.
The Chelsea loanee has got forward well at times this season – but defensive vulnerabilities have occasionally crept into his game – something he didn’t show against Russell Martin’s side in his latest outing as he won 79% of his duels in total.
Coming out on top in 86% of his defensive duels more specifically, the 27-year-old was a dependable figure and this is exactly what the Royals need following the departure of Omar Richards last term.
The now-Bayern Munich full-back was a solid figure for the Berkshire outfit last term and with his departure to the Allianz Arena, the second-tier outfit desperately needed a reliable figure to come in and strengthen the backline.
Although Rahman hasn’t been able to do that at times because of his participation in the African Cup of Nations and spell out with a hamstring injury after that, he proved his worth against the Swans as he was also able to make five interceptions.
The fact he also conceded no fouls is an impressive statistic for the Ghanaian, managing to keep his discipline in a game with two penalties and not allowing the visitors to have any meaningful free-kick opportunities.
There are parts of his game he would want to improve from yesterday though, including his passing accuracy as he was only able to execute one of his five long passes successfully, misfiring with ten passes in total and this will be a source of frustration for him.
As well as this, he was only able to attempt two crosses, though his performance was a more solid one going back rather than an effective one going forward. That solidity in the final three league games will only help the Royals in their quest to get over the final hurdle and to the comfort of Championship safety.
Now it’s down to Rahman to replicate that display against Hull City, West Bromwich Albion and Luton Town.