Six goals shared at Madejski Stadium – an entertaining game which the Royals controlled in great swathes. But just one point to show for it.
Despite the Rams’ lofty position in the league, Reading had a majority of the possession, chances and the run of things… but could only claim one point.
“Derby started the game with a defensive block and were waiting to win the ball before they came out – that’s how they played,” said Royals boss Jaap Stam.
“We tried to take the initiative on the ball and try to find areas to go forward – it’s not always easy when a team is playing like that!
“But then they scored the first goal without even having a decent attack. We made the mistake ourselves in not defending decisively enough, and they went ahead. That means we had to fight to get back into the game. And we did that, and Liam Kelly scored a great goal, and then Mo got another, which was fantastic – we wanted to keep doing that.
“And then from a set-piece they can score again… it’s too easy to give away goals like that. We spoke at half-time about what we needed to do, but we had barely restarted and they scored their third, and then you need to get back into the game… again!
“They had a little spell when they controlled the game but we got back into it and got our deserved third, to get at least a point. After their red card we kept pushing, trying to get the winner, and worked very hard. Unfortunately we couldn’t get it.”
Indeed, the Royals scored three nice goals – a stunner from Liam Kelly, and welcome contributions from Mo Barrow and Jón Daði Böðvarsson.
More prevalent was the frustration at conceding avoidable goals to Kasey Palmer, Richard Keogh and Tom Lawrence – all relatively gifted to the visitors.
He continued: “We’ve spoken about it many times in what to do defensively – it’s not the first time we’ve spoken about it. We work on it and you hope that you’ll do better next time.
“But for some reason, it still happens. It’s too easy to give away like that – you work yourself very hard.
“You can say that you play better than the opposition, but they score the goals and we don’t. That’s frustrating and something that we need to handle. We’ve been talking about that all season and working on that.
“It’s difficult to win games if when you score three goals, you concede three as well!
“I’m not saying that we’re playing against a bad team. Derby are doing very well and winning a lot of games – they have great ability in their squad. But we look at ourselves and what we need to do to get three points.
“I can say that we could have had more, but you don’t need to make these mistakes. Derby are a threat going forward and they can make it difficult for you, but you’re always looking at your own squad and for the moments that decide the outcome of the game.”
Liam Kelly (@L_Kelly95) takes advantage of a loose clearance for @ReadingFC in an entertaining affair at the Madejski Stadium today. #ReadingFc— Channel 5 Sport (@Channel5Sport) February 24, 2018
➡️ @EFL highlights from 9pm on @channel5_tv. pic.twitter.com/KhzLlhRIXJ
Kelly’s goal, a rocket from 25 yards on the half-volley, was the highlight of a lively afternoon…
“Liam has great ability to score from positions like that!” said Jaap.
“He’s done it before already, and we always tell him that if he’s in positions like that where he can have a shot, that’s what he needs to do. It was a fantastic goal.”