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Report: Pavel at the double!

21 September 2013

3-1 win for the Royals at Derby

Derby 1 (Hughes 80)
Reading 3 (Pogrebnyak 47, 62, Blackman 90)

A brace from Pavel Pogrebnyak secured all three points for the Royals against Derby County at Pride Park.

After an even first half, the Russian striker bundled home the opener two minutes from the restart after some good work from new signing Chris Baird, making his debut for the Royals.

Exactly 15 minutes later, Pogrebnyak was again in the right place at the right time as he slotted left-footed past Rams goalkeeper Lee Grant for our second.

A beautiful finish from Will Hughes ensured a nervy finish, but substitute Nick Blackman ensured that all three points were going back to Berkshire when his effort slowly rolled in.

A very satisfying and deserved win for the Royals, on an afternoon where young Jordan Obita impressed on his first league start for Reading.

Reading: McCarthy, Gunter, Kelly, Pearce, Morrison (C), Guthrie, Baird (Akpan 63), Obita (Cummings 78), McCleary (Blackman 84), Robson-Kanu, Pogrebnyak.

Subs not used: Federici, Gorkss, Tshibola, Le Fondre.

Derby: Grant, Smith, Keogh, Buxton, Forsyth, Eustace, Bryson, Hughes, Ward (Jacobs 79), Russell (Sammon 73), Martin.

Subs not used: Deeney, Freeman, Bennett, Davies.

Referee: Tim Robinson

Attendance: 21,465

New signing Chris Baird made his debut for the Royals, and it was the Northern Ireland international who had the first attempt of the afternoon, when he dragged a long-distace strike wide in the opening minutes. Garath McCleary, returning to the starting line-up, had a left footed effort off target after some good play down the right.

Royals goalkeeper Alex McCarthy was called into action early on - some good play from Derby down the left presented Johnny Russel with a sight on goal, but McCarthy was equal to his effort. Danny Guthrie then had a speculative effort drop wide of Lee Grant's goal, before the Derby goalkeeper gobbled up a drive from McCleary.

After 20 minutes, Rams midfielder Will Hughes attempted a looped effort from range which had McCarthy back-pedalling, but the young England stopper dealt with it fine, before palming away a Jamie Ward strike from 25-yards.

On the half hour mark, it was a real heart-in-mouth moment for the hosts. McCleary, down the right hand side, delivered a dangerous cross which almost met the loitering Hal Robson-Kanu - but the ball just evaded the Welsh international.

Five minutes later, Reading had a penalty appeal turned down. After some excellent play from McCleary, Robson-Kanu nodded the ball to Jordan Obita - making his first league start - but his shot deflected off a Derby man.

McCleary was causing all kinds of problems during a spell of sustained pressure from the Royals in which Pavel Pogrebnyak headed over from a corner, while County's Will Hughes tested McCarthy from distance and right back Adam Smith skied over before half time.

Second half

The second half begun with a bang for the Royals. Obita swept in a free kick from the left, Alex Pearce headed back towards Pogrebnyak, who did enough to bundle the ball past Grant and into the net to give Reading the lead.

The Russian's opener seemed to hand the Royals a beat of confidence, enabling Nigel Adkins' men to calmly dominate possession in the early stages of the half. And right on the hour mark, one corner of Pride Park erupted once again.

New man Baird did very well in the build up before McCleary fizzed in a cross which Derby failed to clear - and it was Pogrebnyak once again on the scene. With his left foot, the huge striker took full advantage slotted excellently into the back of the net for 2-0.

Reading were in control of the game and could have soon made it three. Robson-Kanu floated a delightful cross to the back post where McCleary was lurking, but the Jamaican fired over.

With just over ten minutes remaining, Derby pulled one back. Rams midfielder Hughes latched on to the ball around the edge of the area and magnificently curled home past McCarthy.

A nervy finish loomed for the visitors - Chris Gunter had to make a backwards clearance from one corner and the Royals had to survive a couple of set pieces from the Rams before the fourth official signalled six minutes of added time.

But Nick Blackman, on as a substitute for McCleary, sealed the win. The striker advanced towards goal after Robson-Kanu played him in on the break - and his effort made its way past Grant and rolled slowly into the net to spark wild celebrations in the away end.

The final whistle ensued moments later, confirming a very satisfying win in Derbyshire and another important three points for Nigel Adkins' men.

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