Reading FC Match Report: 2018/2019 Season - Championship
READING 1 DERBY 2
Reading: J Bodvarsson (52)
Derby: M Mount (60), T Lawrence (90)
Reading's season got under way with a disappointing home defeat at the hands of a Derby side revitalised by the recent appointment of manger Frank Lampard. Having taken the lead with a superbly constructed and finished goal from Bodvarsson early in the second half, an appalling Vito Mannone goalkeeping error allowed Derby back in to the game and ultimately go on to claim all three points in the last seconds of stoppage time with a superb goal of their own.
Reading started with a familiar shape playing with Bodvarsson leading the attack closely supported by Swift. New signings Meyler and Yiadom came into the starting eleven and Paul McShane made his return after his lengthy absence due to injury. Derby dominated possession from the start but Reading pressed well and a very shaky looking Derby back four presented Reading with ample opportunities to take the lead which they squandered. Bodvarsson wasting the best of the bunch when he tamely prodded the ball at the advancing Carson after a good through ball from Swift. Yiadom was impressive going forward for Reading and the back four was rarely troubled by a toothless Derby attack. Some clumsy challenges produced a glut of yellow cards as Wisdom and Bryson for Derby and Kelly and Meyler found their way into the referee’s book. It was a half dominated by the away side but Reading really should have taken the lead.
The second half got off to a lively start with Nugent drifting into an offside position before touching the ball past Mannone from a tempting cross. The effort was correctly ruled out for offiside. Minutes later Reading were ahead. A series of well-timed passes took Reading deep into Derby territory before Barrow got his head up and curled a delightful in to the far post which Bodvarsson thumped past Carson with a well-timed run and powerful header to give Reading the lead. From that point Reading seemed to lose their shape and composure. It took a mere eight minutes for Derby to level the score. Mount was given an unbelievable amount of time and space outside the penalty area which he made the most of with a decent strike but not one which Mannone should have allowed to squirm past him into the net. It was extremely poor defending and goalkeeping. (Mannone redeemed himself later with an outstanding block from Wilson but the damage had already been done.)
From that point Reading struggled to retain possession as Derby pressed for the winning goal. It was a goal which looked unlikely to come. Paul Clement tried to get a foothold in the game replacing Meyler, who was in danger of receiving a second yellow, with Bacuna, and new signing Baldock with Swift. Meite was introduced to provide a target in place of Bodvarsson who apart from taking his goal well had been disappointing overall. Aluko by now had almost disappeared for the game and Barrow was not getting enough of the ball to have an impact. Reading however managed to hang on through stoppage time – almost. With only seconds left to play substitute Bennet dug out the most amazing cross which Lawrence met perfectly to nod beyond Mannone’s desperate leap to give Derby the win they probably deserved but was nevertheless incredibly frustrating and disappointing for the home fans.
Not the start Reading were hoping for but the new signings provided some encouragement to the season ahead. I am sure everyone will be looking forward to seeing more of Baldock and an appearance from McNulty.
This Championship game took place 200 days ago in the 2018/2019 season.