- Martin heads Rams into 18th minute lead lead
- Murray hits the crossbar with first half header
- Solo goal from Ibe doubles Derby's advantage
- Murray denied penalty when tripped by Grant
- Martin adds a late third to make victorysecure
The Royals couldn't come back from conceding two first half goals and fell to a disappointing defeat to last year's play-off finalists Derby County this afternoon.
Chris Martin put the visitors into an 18th minute lead with a downward header from a corner that found its way inside the right post, then Liverpool loanee Jordon Ibe weaved his way into the box to drive low into the bottom corner for 2-0 before half-time.
Glenn Murray hit the crossbar and was denied a penalty in the second half, while substitute Pavel Pogrebnyak's sidefooted effort only found the side netting, and Martin added a late third to kill the game off.
Reading: Federici, Gunter, Obita, Hector, Pearce, Norwood (Kuhl 69), Taylor, Robson-Kanu (Blackman 69), Mackie (Pogrebnyak 69), Cox, Murray.
Subs: Andersen, Long, Cooper, Akpan.
Yellow: Hector, Obita.
Derby: Grant, Christie,Whitbread, Forsyth, Keogh (c) (Shotton HT),Bryson (Hendrick 74), Eustace, Hughes, Ibe, Ward (Russell 42), Martin.
Subs: Roos, Buxton, Mascarell, Best.
Yellow: Whitbread, Christie, Eustace, Hughes.
Referee: Mr D Deadman
The first chance fell to Simon Cox and it was a good one. Hal Robson-Kanu swung in a superb ball from the left and Cox met it well with his head on the edge of the six yard box, but could only direct his effort inches over the crossbar.
Craig Bryson had Derby's first sight of goal five minutes later, but he spanked a right-footed effort over the bar himself, sweetly striking the ball from the edge of the box but Federici untroubled.
Reading were enjoying a good start to the game though and Norwood swept a first time effort over after good work from Robson-Kanu on one wing, then Mackie on the other who teed him up.
But it was Steve McClaren's men who broke the deadlock. Jamie Ward's corner from the right was floated into the box and Chris Martin
bullied his way to the ball first in the air. His downward header beat a man on the post and crept over the line to give the Rams the lead.
Country enjoyed a good spell after taking the lead, but the Royals almost responded when Jake Taylor's effort was save low to Lee Grant's right and the ball ricocheted off Robson-Kanu's shins and back into the keeper's arms when it could so easily have deflected into the Derby net.
With ten minutes of the half remaining, Murray forced Grant into a smart save at the far post. Taylor's deep cross was met by the striker but the angle made Murray's chance difficult and yet the keeper did well to scoop it behind for a corner.
But minutes later, Murray came even closer. Norwood's corner from the left was won in the air by Murray and this time he beat the Rams keeper but it cannoned off the Derby crossbar and the ball was cleared before anyone could react to the rebound.
And somewhat against the run of play, Jordon Ibe
added a second. The Liverpool loanee jinked inside Norwood and then picked out the bottom corner with a powerful right-footed finish that gave Federici no chance.
Ward whistled en effort wide before the break, but then had to be replaced by Johnny Russell. Then Mackie won a free kick on the right edge of the box, but Obita's fizzed delivery was headed behind by a Derby head.
Before the interval, Robson-Kanu's cleverly flicked header had to be dealt with but Grant was equal to it, then Murray's hoiked cross was gathered by Grant who almost backpedalled over his own goalline but recovered just in time.
Early in the second half, Chris Martin weaved his way into the box and forced Federici into a good save with a thunderous drive, before angling over when the ball came back to his feet. And moments later a corner wasn't cleared and Martin squandered a great chance to make it 3-0, lifting the ball high into the Rams fans from eight yards out.
At the other end, Obita's cross into the box was nearly met by Murray but the inswinger sailed all the way into Grant's clutches on his goalline.
Grant was perhaps a little lucky not to concede a penalty on the hour mark. The Derby keeper failed to cleanly claim a cross into the box and then as Murray nicked the ball from him on the floor the Royals striker's leg was pulled back by Grant. Instead, the referee gave a foul to the visitors.
Norwood's free kick found the head of Pearce, but the centre-back couldn't loop it over the towering Grant who did well to pedal backwards and catch it as it floated goalwards.
With 20 minutes remaining, Nigel Adkins made a triple substitution. Nick Blackman, Aaron Kuhl and Pavel Pogrebnyak were sent on to try to change things and they almost did soon after. Blackman unleashed a powerful left-footed strike that Grant saved with one hand and Pogrebnyak could have sidefooted home the loose ball but instead found the side netting.
Chris Gunter scurried into the box with a good run from the back but his shot was blocked, then Murray tried his luck from range only for a deflection to take it inches wide of the right post and a flailing Grant.
Reading were now throwing everything at their opponents and Grant did well to punch clear of his lines with Hector bearing down on him in a crowded box.
put the result beyond doubt by adding a third, racing onto a well threaded throughball from Russell, holding off the attentions of the covering Gunter and finishing well by placing it over Federici's dive.
Jake Taylor had an injury time effort saved by the keeper but there was no way back for an under par Reading.