Reading 1-1 Derby: Royals snatch late point
By PA Sport
Last Updated: 01/10/16 6:48pm
Managerless Derby were denied a second successive Sky Bet Championship victory when they conceded a late goal at Reading and were held to a 1-1 draw.
Without boss Nigel Pearson, who was suspended by the club in midweek, Derby went ahead through a second-half goal from Matej Vydra. The Czech Republic striker, a former Reading loanee, struck from close range after poor home defending.
But Reading equalised in the 90th minute, when George Evans touched the ball home after a scramble in the Derby area.
Pearson, appointed in May, was suspended on Tuesday after a heated disagreement with club chairman and owner Mel Morris. Assistant Chris Powell stepped into the breach at short notice, with Derby going on to win 2-0 at Cardiff.
Derby were slow out of the blocks and offered little going forward in the opening stages. Jacob Butterfield tried to release Vydra but his pass carried too much pace and the chance went begging.
Tom Ince ventured forward and cut in from his position on the right wing but his fierce shot was blocked by the covering home defence.
Reading were little more creative, preferring the patient approach, but Yann Kermorgant went close when a curling effort drifted just wide of a post. And they could have gone ahead in first-half stoppage time from a Garath McCleary corner only for Kermorgant to send a free header straight at Derby goalkeeper Scott Carson.
Kermorgant had another opportunity in the early stages of the second half after he had been released by McCleary. But with an obvious chance to test Carson, he chose to pass instead of shoot and the Derby defence easily cleared the danger.
Reading soon paid for the error, with Derby going in front in the 62nd minute. Cyrus Christie slung over a free-kick from the left, which took a deflection in the home penalty box and fell nicely for Vydra to jab past Ali Al Habsi.
Vydra could have had a second goal, when he met Ikechi Anya's cross with a firm header. However, Al Habsi produced a flying point-blank save to keep it out. And Reading then levelled in the last minute, when Roy Beerens' corner caused havoc in the Derby area and Evans poked in his first goal for the club.
Reading manager Jaap Stam:
"I was happy with a point at the end. We knew that we would have to be patient and we were patient. After going 1-0 down, it was very difficult to get back into the game because we knew Derby would be dropping back even more and waiting for the counter-attack to score a second goal. We had to be aware of that
"Eventually we scored the equaliser, which I think we deserved. I was happy with that. We've shown before that we can come back."
Derby caretaker manager Chris Powell:
"All things considered, four points from two away games is very good. It's been a good week for us in light of what has gone on. Yes, it's been a turbulent week. But I will give the players all the credit in the world for how they've responded.
"We've got around the players, we've cajoled them, we've kept their spirits up. Their morale has been first class. Today, they showed there's a real togetherness, especially in the second half. We dominated it, created chances and deservedly went in front but just couldn't see it through."