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MATCH REPORT

PUBLISHED
16:38 1st October 2016

Last gasp Evans strike preserves unbeaten home record

The Royals' undefeated home record was almost halted by a second half goal from Matej Vydra, but Goerge Evans struck a 90th minute equaliser to send the Royals into the international break unbeaten at the Madejski and with a point to show for their afternoon's efforts.

Yann Kermorgant and John Swift had both tested Scott Carson with the game goalless, but Vydra flicked home an inswinging set piece just after the hour mark and could have had a headed second were it not for a brilliant save from Ali Al Habsi. And it looked like it was not going to be Reading's afternoon, until Evans smashed home a Beerens corner that had been flicked on by Kermorgant and cannoned off Callum Harriot in the six yard box.

Danny Williams was fit enough to start, recovering from a knock suffered at the end of our home win over Huddersfield last weekend to be named in Jaap Stam's eleven today. Garath McCleary was also back in the line-up following the end of a three-game suspension picked up at Oakwell last month. Liechtenstein international Sandro Wieser, meanwhile, was named on the bench at the Madejski for the first time.

The first shot at goal came from the right foot of Yann Kermorgant, who placed an effort from the edge of the area inches wide of the bottom right corner after the Royals had counter attacked well from the left-back position.

Reading were dominating possession and looking assured on the ball. But it took a well-timed right footed intervention from McCleary inside his own box to cut out a pull back from Cyrus Christie that looked to find Marcus Olsson.

A lovely threaded ball from Beerens found Obita racing down the left flank and the full-back cut the ball back from the byline but no-one was there in blue and white hoops to turn it goalwards.

Midway through the half, Moore charged down a fierce Ince strike, then Bradley Johnson drilled an effort wide via a deflection off Danny Williams.

Swift, then Beerens won corners on the left and the second of those corners had to be punched clear by Carson on his goalline. But Al Habsi had to produce a save for the first time soon after, gathering in Ince's effort from distance at the second attempt.

Swift burst into the County half unchallenged with seven minutes of the half remaining, but his shot was charged down by Keogh on the edge of the box. Next, Evans tried to slot a slide rule pass into the run of Gunter but it skipped off the surface and fizzed behind for a goal kick.

The best chance of the half came in injury time. Gunter won a corner on the right, McCleary floated the ball into the area and Kermorgant arrive unmarked to power a header goalwards but straight at Carson in the Rams goalmouth.

Half-time: Reading 0-0 Derby County

The second half began with a loose touch from McShane at the back which almost allowed Vydra to latch onto a ball through the back four. But Moore came across in the nick of time to slide in and clear off the former Royals loanee's toes.

At the other end, McCleary twisted and turned past his man and threaded a lovely ball in to Kermorgant, who tried to square it for Williams arriving into the box - but the pass was intercepted before it got to the fit-again midfielder.

Just before the hour, Al Habsi punched clear an inswinging corner but Ince arrowed a first time shot back into the box and it cannoned off Obita and across the six yard box before Kermorgant touch direct it safely behind for a corner.

But Derby were ahead soon after. An inswinging Christie free kick was deflected into the path of Vydra who instinctively got a toe to the ball to direct it home with a stabbed volley from close range.

The Royals almost responded immediately, Williams winning a free kick with a driving run and Swift forcing a parried save from Carson with a well-struck set piece. Harriott's follow-up was charged down and the Rams' lead remained in tact.

Evans rifled high and wide with 20 minutes remaining, but Reading were struggling to find the final ball they needed to unlock the Derby defence.

An incredible save from point blank range somehow denied Vydra a second, a looping cross from the left finding the striker but his powerful header pawed off his line by a reaction save from Ali Al Habsi.

At the other end, Stam brought on Mendes in search of an equaliser and Beerens had appeals for a penalty waved away after he went down under a nudge from Keogh.

Mendes looked close to getting his head to a Swift corner but Carson got his fist to it just before the substitute could connect, then with time running out Kermorgant chested a Swift delivery into Mendes'  feet but the forward couldn't find the space to get a shot away.

And as the game looked to be slipping away from the home side, Reading found an equaliser in the 90th minute. Beerens delivered a testing corner which was glanced on by Kermorgant. It struck Harriott yards out and Evans pounce to smash the ball home from close range and make it 1-1.

Five minutes of injury time played out and both sides went for a winner and Derby came close when Al Habsi pushed a Johnson effort away and a Harriott clearance hacked a last gasp Russell ball out of the six yard box. But honours ended even.

Full-time: Reading 1-1 Derby County

Reading: Al-Habsi, Gunter (Mendes 82), Obita, McShane (c), Moore, Evans, Williams, Swift, McCleary (Harriott 63), Beerens, Kermorgant.
Subs: Jaakkola, Watson, Gravenberch, Kelly, Wieser.
Yellow: McCleary, Gunter. 
Goals: Evans (90)

Derby County: Carson, Christie, Olsson (Baird 77), Butterfield, Keogh (c), Pearce, Johnson, Hughes (Russell 82), Anya, Ince, Vydra (Blackman 85).
Subs: Mitchell, Weimann, Wilson, Bent.
Yellow: Johnson, Hughes, Ince, Butterfield.
Goals: Vydra (62)

Att: 17,002 (1,565 away)