Goalscorer looks back on Derby drawMidfielder Danny Williams was delighted with the performance of the Royals team in coming from behind to take a 1-1 draw at Derby County’s iPro Stadium on Tuesday evening.
Williams’ headed goal got Reading back on terms after Jason Shackell’s opener – a terrific team display away at second-placed Derby could have been even more richly rewarded, but for some smart saves by Rams stopper Lee Grant.
Hal Robson-Kanu extended his tally for assists even further with the cross for Danny’s goal – Williams was also full of praise for Matej Vydra, Lucas Piazon, Garath McCleary and the rest of the squad for giving a display marked by a mixture of quality and gutsiness.
“It was a great team goal,” said Danny of his 39th-minute equaliser. “We kept the ball well, and everyone wanted to have the ball as well. I think that’s important when you play a team like Derby – nobody was hiding.
“I can’t remember exactly how the goal built up – the only thing I can remember is that Hal got the ball, and I know that from Middlesbrough that when he has the ball I always run into the box because the midfielders often don’t look over their shoulder.
“I love to make those runs in behind when no-one is watching, and I just tried to get a contact. I knew that if I got some contact there that it would be a goal. I’m just happy I could help the team with a goal, and more important was that we got a point here today.
“With Vyds, Lucas, G-Mac and Hal – to be honest with you, I think that’s one of the best offensive four in this division. Of course when the results are not there, people question you – we have to get that out of our head.
“Lucas was my man of the match today because he occupied their two players in midfield and they couldn’t live with him tonight. He showed his quality on the ball. Then Vyds is great at link-up play, and Hal Robson-Kanu and Garath McCleary had great games as well. They all worked hard and played brilliantly, and that makes life easier for me and Ollie Norwood as well.”
While he was very pleased with the way that the team played, there were still pangs of disappointment that the result wasn’t converted into a win after outplaying their high-flying hosts for such a majority of the game.
“If someone told us before that we would get a point here at Derby, we would obviously take it,” he explained. “But if you’ve watched the game, I think we deserved three. We were in the game, we kept the ball well, and it looked like two teams with quality today.
“We conceded an unnecessary goal from the set-piece, but it was a great team effort to come back. Unfortunately we didn’t get the three points – in the second half it looked like we could score, and there was a penalty shout – I would have to watch the replay back. All-in-all it’s a fair result and a good performance from the team.
“Against teams like Derby, you have to be disciplined – you have to rely on your shape and do our basics right, like the manager said. I think we did that today and everyone put a decent shift in – in this division you can only compete if you put the work in correctly.”
The iPro Stadium trip was the Royals’ second of three straight away days – the trip to the East Midlands is bookended by last Saturday’s FA Cup visit to Huddersfield, and the forthcoming trip to meet MK Dons.
297 hardy souls followed the Royals all the way to Derby on a midweek evening – Danny paid tribute to those that made the trip.
“It’s unbelievable, I still have to say, what the fans do during in the week and at the weekends,” said Danny. “Against Huddersfield in the first half at the weekend, it wasn’t pretty to watch – I feel for them sometimes, especially at games like that.
“But as I’ve mentioned before, the fans are so important for me personally and for us as a team. Even if it’s 300 fans like it was tonight, we’re trying to work hard for every fan that travels because we really appreciate their loyalty to the club and their effort.
“It’s only right that we show on the pitch that we fight for the fans and for each other. I don’t really like to travel that much, so I know how it feels for them! Hats off to them.”