Full Time After Extra Time This is a live match. Extra Time Half Time

Reading vs Derby County. Sky Bet Championship.

The Madejski Stadium.

Reading 3

  • M Olise (47th minute)
  • G Puscas (57th minute)
  • L João (84th minute)

Derby County 1

  • T Lawrence (79th minute)

Reading 3-1 Derby County: Royals continue play-off pursuit with confident win

Report and highlights from the Sky Bet Championship clash between Reading and Derby County at the Madejski Stadium as Michael Olise, George Puscas and Lucas Joao steered the Royals to an important win in their pursuit of a top-six finish

reading derby 2:03
Highlights of the Sky Bet Championship match between Reading and Derby

Reading bolstered their Championship play-off hopes with a comfortable 3-1 victory over Derby.

Derby had the better chances in a low-key first half but Reading went ahead on the brink of the interval through a long-range strike from 19-year-old winger Michael Olise.

The hosts went further ahead when George Puscas tucked in from close range in the 57th minute, but Tom Lawrence made it 2-1 with 11 minutes left.

Substitute Lucas Joao then secured the home win with his 22nd goal of the season in the 84th minute.

Image: Michael Olise (R) celebrates his opening goal

Reading went into the match at the Madejski Stadium in sixth place, just one point ahead of fellow play-off chasers Bournemouth, who had a game in hand.

But the Berkshire side had been in mediocre form, without a win in four outings after three 1-1 draws and a 2-1 defeat at Birmingham.

Derby had also been struggling, having endured a seven-match winless run and flirted with the relegation scrap last month.

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However, a welcome 2-0 home victory over Luton on Friday had eased Wayne Rooney's team eight points clear of the danger zone.

In an untidy opening Reading offered the most going forward, mainly through the hard running of Puscas.

Olise almost latched on to a long Andy Rinomhota pass but was denied by onrushing goalkeeper David Marshall.

After a slow start Derby gradually got into their stride - and somehow failed to break the deadlock with an astonishing four efforts in the same pinball incident.

First Colin Kazim-Richards nodded against a post from a Craig Forsyth cross, then home 'keeper Rafael saved superbly from Lawrence on the follow-up.

As the ball again ran free Max Bird had a shot blocked before Kazim-Richards was thwarted by another fine stop from Rafael.

Neither side impressed thereafter until Olise's stunner in the second minute of stoppage time at the end of the first half.

The Frenchman collected the ball 25 yards out and unleashed a fierce drive that whistled past Marshall for his sixth goal of the season.

It came from Reading's first shot of the game - and they increased their advantage 12 minutes into the second period.

Yakou Meite cut in from the right flank and let fly from outside the area, forcing Marshall into a smart save, but Puscas reacted the quickest to stab home the loose ball.

Derby responded well, with Kazim-Richards shooting across the face of the home goal and Rafael making an excellent stop to deny Bird.

And they reduced the gap in the 79th minute when Lawrence thundered a powerful long-range attempt past Rafael.

But Joao made the game safe for Reading six minutes from time, slotting in after Tom Holmes' flick-on from a Lewis Gibson free-kick.

What the managers said...

Reading's Veljko Paunovic: "It was a big result against a hard team. It wasn't easy at all but it was a very good performance. We showed a lot of maturity and fierceness from the team, which shows that we all understand what an opportunity we have ahead of us. We didn't take much to prepare for this, the focus of the team was always there because of the awareness of the moment of the season where we are.

"We all know what we have to put out there. From that perspective, the team is at the best moment that we have been in this season. We now have to look to recover the guys that we keep losing because of the injuries. This is due to the severity and the intensity of the competition. But I was very happy, as I always am, with the performance like today. As we look at it, though, we will be taking one game at a time. That is always the way."

Derby's Wayne Rooney: "We gave away sloppy goals at bad times. Though I felt that the performance was quite good. That's one of the positives that we can take out of the result. But we just can't afford to give away those type of goals. We have to make sure that we stay more solid.

"We know that Reading are a good team and have very good attacking players. At times, I felt that we dealt with that quite well today. But then we gave away those goals and that was it. If we can continue with that sort of performance and become more solid, then we'll be winning more games."

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