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Selles' substitutions cause confusion

Ruben Selles’ Reading side suffered a late 1-0 defeat to Cambridge United this week, with Fejiri Okenabirhie’s strike securing all three points. Reading fans and players thought they would at least go home with a point when Harvey Knibbs’ struck the underside of the bar, but it was controversially ruled that the ball did not fully cross the line.

However, confusion started before kick-off as top scorer Kelvin Ehibhatiomhan was left out of Selles’ starting line-up. He was replaced by midfielder Ben Elliott, which resulted in Femi Azeez moving to striker alongside Caylon Vickers.

Elliott certainly impressed, coming in for his first league start, completing two dribbles (the most in the match) and five passes into the final third. Despite looking like Reading’s creative spark on the night, he was withdrawn from the action before the hour mark and replaced by Ehibhatiomhan.

Bringing Ehibhatiomhan was not a wrong decision and was much needed to give Reading more of an attacking threat. However, taking off Elliott instead of Vickers was a debatable decision. Vickers’ technical ability is evident in his performance, but his lack of physicality was often his downfall against The U’s experienced defence.

Matty Carson was also substituted at the same time as Elliott, this change was needed due to his opposite number James Brophy continuing to get the better of him and create chances for himself. Andy Yiadom came on to provide some much-needed experience in the Reading backline. Yiadom managed to keep Brophy quiet during his 20-minute stint as a makeshift left-back.

With 10 minutes to go, right-back Amadou Mbengue was substituted for a more conventional left-back in Clinton Mola. This substitution meant that Yiadom could return to his preferred right side and Mola come in on the left. Unfortunately, in Mola’s first involvement, he was beaten down the line by Brophy who crossed into Okenabirhie to score the winner.

Michael Craig and Tivonge Rushesha were also introduced replacing Charlie Savage and Femi Azeez with ten minutes to go. Neither managed to have much of an impact on the game with just 11 touches between the two of them.

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