A quite brilliant Reading performance earned Jaap Stam's men a comfortable 4-2 win at Pride Park this afternoon as goals from Moore, Aluko, Beerens and Barrow were more than enough to beat an in-form Rams outfit who were very much outplayed on the day.
- Moore heads home the opener after nine minutes, connecting with McShane's flick on.
- A wonderful left-footed hit from Aluko doubles the Royals' advantage four minutes later
- Beerens makes it 3-0 early in the second half as he capitalises on a mistake from Davies
- Johnny Russell capitalises on an error at the back to pull one back for Derby
- Barrow taps home Edwards' low cross to make it 4-1, but Martin makes it 4-2 late on.
More injury issues forced manager Jaap Stam into more changes ahead of the clash, handing left-back Omar Richards his first league start and naming fellow Academy youngsters Axel Andresson and Josh Barrett on the bench. The likes of Bodvarsson, McCleary, Kelly, Evans, Quinn, Rinomhota, Harriott, Obita, Mendes, Watson and Ilori were joined on the injury list by Joey van den Berg and Sam Smith so missed out.
Reading enjoyed the early possession, with Derby happy to sit deep. And the Royals fashioned the first shot at goal, Aluko finding the space to take aim from 22 yards out but whistling an effort over the crossbar.
The Rams were then forced into an early substitution, former Royals Academy graduate and Player of the Season Alex Pearce replacing the injured Richard Keogh with less than eight minutes played.
And moments later, the Royals took the lead. Swift delivered a superb inswinging corner that McShane flicked on at the near post. Moore rose above everyone to nod the ball home from close range and hand the visitors a 1-0 advantage their start had deserved.
Reading were all over their opponents. And Derby had barely had a kick omf the ball before they found themselves 2-0 behind. Patient but precise in the build-up, Aluko had cut a cross back for Edwards to volley goalwards - but his shot was charged down. Reading recycled it well and Swift played in Aluko who danced his way through a static Derby defence to lash a left-footed effort past Carson and into the back of the net. A wonderful goal.
The home fans were getting hugely frustrated as the Roayls continued to totally dominate, and that frustration spilled onto the pitch as Sam Winnall cynically clipped the heels of Moore to receive a yellow card.
Gary Rowett's men continue to chase shadows as Reading only strengthened their grip on a first half that had been all about Jaap Stam's side's style. But as the first 45 minutes drew near a close, the hosts started to press higher and look for a way of combatting their opponents' tactics. A good flick from Bacuna prevented Nugent from opening up an opportunity.
And in four minutes of added time, Nugent directed a Tom Lawrence cross from the left into a dangerous area - only for an offside flag to be raised against Winnall as he won a header in the six yard box. A free kick gave County a late chance to fill the penalty area with bodies, but Lawrence's delivery was too heavy for everyone. And Mannone calmly gathered a Winnall flick in the last few seconds to send the Royals in 2-0 at the break.
Half time | Derby County 0-2 Reading
Unsurprisingly, the home side came out full of restored intent and peppered the Reading area with crosses in the opening five minutes of the second period - Moore heading behind the best delivery as Rowett's side began to look dangerous.
Despite scuttling to the right, Mannone reacted sharply to dive low to his left and make a good save to deny Lawrence who hooked a shot goalwards from the edge of the box soon after. And Aluko had to be withdrawn with an injury - Yann Kermorgant came onto the pitch.
His first touch was a flick on down the right side of Derby's half and Curtis Davies played a crossfield pass back to Carson - but Beerens nipped in, rounded the Rams keeper, and passed the ball into the open net for 3-0.
It could have been 4-0 when Richards brought the ball out from the back brilliantly and found Beerens in acres of space. Barrow joined him in attack and the Dutchman picked him out with an early ball from right tno left, but Carson was equal to Barrow's stabbed shot and Derby survived a Reading counter attack.
And another Reading break provided the visitors with a carbon copy chance moments later. Beerens again in space down the right picked out Barrow in support. He turned his marker and drove left-footed t goal but this time his shot flew just wide of the left upright.
Lawrence aimed a 30 yard free kick wide of Mannone's goal with 20 minutes remaining. And Derby pulled one back soon after after Mannone tried to pick a pass instead of clear his lines and the Rams capitalised; Russell passing the ball in off the base of the left post to make it 1-3.
But Reading made it 4-1 with a quarter of an hour remaining. Kermorgant won the ball brilliantly in midfield and fed Beerens darting down the left. He supplied the overlapping Edwards down the right and he in turns fizzed a low cross into the middle where Barrow tapped home from close range.
Again on the counter, a rampant Reading threatened, Barrow leading the charge this time but his pass into Swift was just cut out by a backpedalling Pearce as the midfielder looked to go through on goal.
Lawrence scurried onto a quickly taken free kick to force Mannone into a save that the Italian completed comfortably and held onto inside his six yard box.
In the last second of ninety minutes, substitute Chris Martin scored a second Derby goal, sliding in to connect with a cross from the left and convert from close range. And the fourth official signalled seven minutes of added time to give the home side hope of a late comeback. But it wasn't to be as Reading saw out the final stages with relative ease.
A magnificent performance and a thoroughly deserved victory.
Full time | Derby County 2-4 Reading
Derby County: Carson, Wisdom, Forsyth, Keogh (c) (Pearce 8), Davies, Huddlestone, Johnson, Russell, Nugent, Lawrence, Winnall (Martin 64).
Subs: Mitchell, Baird, Thorne, Weimann, Vydra.
Yellow: Winnall, Nugent, Johnson, Martin
Goals: Russell 71, Martin 90
Reading: Mannone, Gunter, Richards (Blackett 76), McShane (c), Moore, Bacuna, Edwards, Swift, Barrow (Clement 90), Beerens, Aluko (Kermorgant 53).
Subs: Jaakkola, Andresson, Popa, Barrett.
Yellow: Gunter, Barrow, Mannone
Goals: Moore 9, Aluko 13, Beerens 54, Barrow 75
Att: 25,968 (738 away)