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Report | Cruel end to season opener

Royals robbed of points as Derby steal victory with last touch of the game

3 August 2018

The Royals were robbed of anything from an opening encounter they bossed, thanks to Tom Lawrence's last second header that won it for Frank Lampard's Rams.

  • Carson saves from Kelly and Ilori at the end of a first half Reading bossed
  • Bodvarsson header deservedly hands dominant Royals the lead
  • Mason Mount beats Mannone with a strike from range to level
  • Mannone makes good parried save to deny Wilson late on
  • Lawrence glances home with a superb header to win it in the 94th minute

There were league debuts for Andy Yiadom and David Meyler announced when teamsheets were exchanged, while Frank Lampard named former Royal Alex Pearce on his bench.

The opening opportunity of the EFL season fell Reading's way. David Meyler won the ball in midfield and John Swift released Mo Barrow down the left. His low cross into the near post was hacked clear at the second attempt before a lurking Royals body in the box could get a touch.

With six minutes on the clock, the Royals made another good interception as Derby tried to pass it out from the back. Swift this time the recipient and he slid the ball into the stride of Bodvarsson, but Carson was off his line quickly to charge down the Icelander's toed effort.

Reading again pressed soon after. Barrow broke down the left and his deflected cross was cleared only as far as Bodvarsson. He lined up a shot but it was straight down Carson's throat from the edge of the area.

The Rams had their first sighter of goal with ten minutes played, Tom Lawrence latching onto a clearing Ilori header to lash a shot at goal from 25 yards out, but it took a deflection off a Reading body and fizzed harmlessly wide of the goal for a corner.

The Royals were looking the more comfortable though and Bodvarsson intercepted a pass out from the back to scurry towards the edge of the Derby area. Swift joined him in attack, but the key pass was just too strong for Swift to collect and subsequently bear down on Carson's goal.

Midway through the half, Barrow beat Wisdom for pace and won a free kick on the left. Kelly delivered a threatening inswinging set piece which Carson had to punch off the forehead of Bodvarsson who flung his body at the ball in vain.

Barrow made more progress down the left but his cross was just too deep for Swift's flying right boot which failed to connect and the game remained goalless.

Carson was forced into a fine low save to his left to keep out a drilled effort from Liam Kelly as half-time approached.

Then Carson was down well to his right to smother a Tiago Ilori header from the subsequent corner. And there was still time for Aluko to bend a left-footed shot just wide of the top left corner. The Royals were much the better side but the teams went into the dressing room level.

Half-time: Reading 0-0 Derby County

Early in the second half, the Rams had the ball in the back of the net, but Nugent's header was ruled out by the linesman; the Derby striker had connected with a deflected cross that had looped kindly to him in the centre of the box and his downward header beat Mannone's dive only for celebrations to be cut short.

Seven minutes into the second half and Paul Clement's Royals had the goal they deserved. A nice passing move saw the hosts move the ball to the left where Barrow delivered a superb first time cross for Bodvarsson to head home - the Icelander rising above his marker to direct a perfect downward header into the bottom left corner.

A timely tackle from Paul McShane stopped Wilson in his tracks, the ball ricocheting off Ledley and into the arms of Mannone as Derby looked to respond immediately.

And Frank Lampard's men were level on the hour. Mason Mount took aim from 22 yards out and struck a sweet effort at goal. Mannone got down to his left but couldn't turn the rasping effort around his post.

Mount nearly got into a shooting position moments later but couldn't control a clever cross into his run into the box, the ball skidding behind for a goal kick.

Sam Baldock was introduced after 66 minutes, the striker making his Royals debut in what was now a finely poised opening game of the Championship season. And Meite followed soon after as he replaced Bodvarsson.

With little more than five minutes left, Mannone made an excellent parried save to deny Wilson the winner as he directed a deep cross that had flashed across the face of goal back on target.

And both teams were looking for the win as it ticked over into the final minute of the ninety - Barrow's low cross was behind everyone and Derby cleared, before Yiadom drove a 30 yard effort harmlessly over the crossbar.

At the start of four minutes of injury time, Bryson hooked an effort over the bar from the edge of the box.

But with the last touch of the game, Derby nicked the win. A superb cross under pressure from the right wing was met by the glancing head of Lawrence who brilliantly picked out the top corner.

A result that is so harsh on a Reading side who performed well throughout and deserved at very least a point. 

Full-time: Reading 1-2 Derby County

Reading: Mannone, Yiadom, Richards, McShane (c), Ilori, Meyler (Bacuna 85), Kelly, Swift (Baldock 67), Aluko, Barrow, Böðvarsson (Meite 75).
Subs: Walker, O'Shea, Clement, McNulty.
Yellow: Meyler, Kelly, Meite
Goals: Bodvarsson 53

Derby County: Carson, Wisdom, Bryson, Davies, Keogh, Ledley (Johnson 69), Wilson, Mount, Lawrence (Pearce 94), Lowe, Nugent (Bennett 73).
Subs: Roos, Jozefzoon, Thomas, Bogle.
Yellow: Wisdom, Bryson, Lowe.
Goals: Mount 60

Att: 16,923 (1,947 away)

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