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📰 Match report | Royals oust Rams to keep up the chase

A stunner from Michael Olise was followed by goals from George Puscas and Lucas Joao to earn Reading the maximum reward against Derby County

5 April 2021

Reading kept up the chase for a top six finish with a win over Wayne Rooney's Rams this afternoon - courtesy of a wonderful goal from Michael Olise and two close range finishes from George Puscas and Lucas Joao.

Two minutes in and Rinomhota was fed by Puscas out on the right side and the midfielder dinked a ball over the top looking for Meite - but Marshall was out well to collect the ball ahead of the Ivorian.

Olise sprung the offside trap moments later, but again Marshall was off his line quickly to clear the ball out for a throw.

Rinomhota found some space on two occasions in quick succession with a quarter of an hour played. The first saw him combine with Yiadom on the right and then fizz a low cross into the middle where it was cut out just before it reached the boot of Puscas. Then Rinomhota himself ran onto a nice throughball from Olise but opted to cross towards Meite instead of shoot and the cross was headed behind for a corner.


Derby were somehow denied the opener with 20 minutes played. A cross from Forsyth was headed goalwards by Kazim-Richards but it bounced off the left post and free for Lawrence to drill goalwards. Rafael was equal to it, saving with his legs, but the ball was pinged back into the feet of Kazim-Richards who skipped around a couple of blocking bodies to place a left-footed shot on target - only for Rafael to brilliantly tip the ball over.

Ejaria tried a canny flick looking for Meite but Marshall read it and intercepted it in the box. Then play stopped for a short period as Meite and Byrne received treatment for a clash of heads - both players looking to get on the end of a Yiadom cross from the right. Byrne was replaced by Kornell McDonald.

Puscas set Meite away with a tidy throughball next, but with two defenders to beat the move fizzled out and Derby cleared the danger.

At the start of two minutes of injury time, Yiadom weaved his way into a position to cross from the right and eventually managed to beat his man but Marshall was at his near post to collect it.


But in the final attack of the half, Reading broke the deadlock. The Royals worked the ball from the left, starting with Ejaria, then to Laurent and it landed at Olise's feet on the edge of the box. He took a touch with his right boot and then thundered a left-footed effort into the top left corner for 1-0. It was a superb finish that Marshall could only watch fly past him. And that was enough to give Reading the advantage at the interval.

Half-time: Reading 1-0 Derby County

The second period began with galf appeals for a penalty as Ejaria spun in the Derby box. They were waved away though and Moore went into the book early on for a late challenge on Lawrence soon after.

Richards delivered a lovely set piece eight minutes into the second half, which skidded past Moore and Puscas in the middle - a half chance for the Royals to double their advantage.

Moore did well to lean into Louie Sibley as he scuttled into the area down the right, seeing the ball out for a goal kick when it looked like Sibley would produce a cross or a shot from a dangerous position.

And Reading had a second before the hour. Meite came inside from the right flank and took aim, arrowing a powerful effort on target. Marshall got down well to his right and parried the ball, but it popped up for Puscas to turn home - stabbing the ball past Marshall from close range and doing well to keep the ball down. 2-0.

The Rams made a double change, bringing on Stretton and Jozwiak, and it took a combination of Yiadom and the onrishing Rafael to deny Lawrence a goal - the Derby forward scurried onto a threaded throughball and Yiadom battled back to halt him before the Brazilian keeper leapt on the ball at Lawrence's feet.


Reading were forced into a change of their own, with Omar Richards injured making an important tackle on Kazim-Richards. Lewis Gibson replaced him on the left side of the back line.

Derby weren't done though and it took a flying save from Rafael to deny Max Bird who unleashed a bullet effort from 25 yards that was whistling towards goal before the Brazilian intervened with a leap to his top left corner.

Meite threatened a third for the Royals though when he was sent into space down the right side of the Rams goal. He got the better of Andre Wisdom and barged his way into the area along the byline but his low cross looking for Puscas took a deflection of a Derby leg and looped into the arms of Marshall.


It took a very good save from Marshall to deny Meite a little later, he raced onto a good ball from Olise but his arrowed low effort was clawed wide by the Derby keeper.

And Meite thought he'd won a penalty moment later when he went down after a neat turn six yards out - but the referee awarded nothing.

Derby broke as a result and scored! Lawrence took aim from outside the box and this time Rafael's dive could not keep it out, watching it fly into the top right corner to make the final ten minutes very interesting.

Lucas Joao came off the bench and decided to deny Derby that late sniff of a point. A floated free kick from Lewis Gibson was headed down by Holmes and Joao got on the end of it to hook the ball past Marshall from close range for 3-1.

A low cross from the left skidded just beyond the slide of Kazim-Richards at the back post as the visitors looked to repsond again. 

But as five minutes of injury time were signalled it, Reading looked comfortable.

Full-time: Reading 3-1 Derby County

Reading: Rafael, Yiadom, Richards (Gibson 68), Holmes, Moore (c), Rinomhota, Laurent, Ejaria (Aluko 89), Olise (Semedo 81), Meite (Esteves 89), Puscas (Joao 81).
Unused subs: Southwood, Dorsett, Tetek, Baldock.
Yellow: Moore, Laurent.
Goals: Olise 45, Puscas 57, Joao 85

Derby County: Marshall (c), Wisdom, Forsyth, Shinnie, Bird, Lawrence, Bryne (McDonald 35), Kazim-Richards, Mengi, Sibley (Jozwiak 62), Knight (Stretton 62 (Roberts 81)).
Unused subs: Roos, Buchanan, Bateman, Baniningime, Watson.
Goals: Lawrence 79


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