Derby 2-1 Reading: Duane Holmes, Harry Wilson secure win for Frank Lampard's men
Report and highlights as Rams battle past resurgent Royals at Pride Park
Last Updated: 19/01/19 8:28pm
Duane Holmes scored his first goal for Derby as County survived a second-half fightback to beat Reading 2-1.
The summer signing from Scunthorpe pounced in the opening minutes to put Derby ahead and Harry Wilson's 12th goal of the season underlined their first-half superiority.
But the introduction of Sone Aluko transformed Reading and his goal set up a tense finish but, despite getting in some dangerous positions, the visitors could not fashion another clear chance.
Before the game the talk was about Ashley Cole, who is believed to be close to joining Derby, although the former England defender was not thought to be at Pride Park for a game that saw goalkeeper Kelle Roos make his first league appearance for five years.
Roos had not touched the ball before Derby scored in the third minute when Wilson's clever pass sent Holmes in to steer a low shot across Anssi Jaakkola and inside the far post.
Reading were clearly unsettled and when they cheaply gave the ball away a minute later, Jaakkola did well to block Mason Mount's shot.
It was all Derby but Reading had a chance in the 22nd minute when a low ball in from the right found John Swift unmarked 12 yards out but he scuffed his shot wide.
Derby still looked like scoring whenever they put a fragile-looking defence under pressure and after Reading again lost possession too easily in the 40th minute, Wilson's shot from outside the box took a big deflection past Jaakkola.
Reading brought on Aluko and started the second half brightly with a low ball flashing across the face of the Derby six-yard box before Modou Barrow shot just over.
The visitors were playing with more purpose but they had left themselves with a lot to do, yet Jon Dadi Bodvarsson was inches away from connecting with a Barrow cross in the 54th minute.
But Derby's goal threat resurfaced on the hour when Fikayo Tomori whipped a ball to the back post where Mount could not direct his shot on target.
Reading made the most of it by scoring in the 66th minute when Tomori gave the ball away and Ovie Ejaria released Aluko to slide a shot past Roos.
It was deserved for an improved second half display and another Aluko run had Derby in trouble before his shot was charged down.
Jack Marriott was close to restoring Derby's two-goal cushion with a shot that was turned over and although Reading kept pressing, County held on for a first home win since December 1.
Frank Lampard: "There's a lot of talk about Harry and early in the season he was hitting spectacular goals, but what he's done which has really impressed me in the last two months is really up his game generally.
"Everything about his game is positive, he wants the ball, he's creating, he's scoring so it's not just the fantastic goals that Harry Wilson is; he's a player who is developing fast and I'm loving watching him play at the minute.
Jose Gomes: "I am disappointed in the way that we started was completely out of our process and football philosophy and Derby used this as an advantage.
"We cannot play very well and have hope for the future, we need to win and get points. We need to transfer the way we are playing into good results.
"Now we have just 18 battles which are more than enough to achieve our target but no chance at all to achieve our target if we start playing 20 minutes or even one minute like we start this game."