Reading 3-3 Derby: Rams have promotion hopes dented
Last Updated: 24/02/18 6:52pm
Derby's Championship promotion push suffered a setback when they were held to a 3-3 draw at lowly Reading.
In a hectic first half, Kasey Palmer gave Derby the lead early on only for Reading to forge ahead with goals from Liam Kelly and Mo Barrow. Captain Richard Keogh equalised 10 minutes before the interval and Tom Lawrence fired Derby 3-2 in front just seconds after the break.
Jon Dadi Bodvarsson made it 3-3 in the 80th minute and Derby lost defender Chris Baird, a former Reading loanee, to a straight red card five minutes later for a scything challenge on Barrow.
Derby had lost only once in 14 matches, but had won only one of their past six games and not won in their last three. Reading had won only once in 12 outings and had failed to win at home since late November, losing their last four in a row.
It was Reading who made the more positive start, with Liam Moore having a shot blocked and a volley saved by goalkeeper Scott Carson.
Derby were quick to respond and were rewarded in the sixth minute from their first attack. Home goalkeeper Vito Mannone palmed away a low cross-shot from Lawrence and Palmer was on hand to tuck away a first-time effort.
It was Palmer who had rescued Derby with a 92nd-minute equaliser in the 2-2 home draw with Leeds on Wednesday.
Ten minutes later, Reading were level. Kelly picked up the ball 30 yards out and unleashed a fierce drive that Carson got a hand to but could not keep out.
Reading then went ahead in the 32nd minute, when Barrow raced through alone and easily beat Carson for his eighth goal of the season.
However, in a frantic see-saw contest, their lead lasted only three minutes. Curtis Davies' headed flick was latched on to by Keogh, who had time and space to slot home from close range.
Within seconds of the start of the second half, Derby were in front again. Lawrence cut in from the left and was allowed a free run by the home defence before guiding his shot past Mannone.
Reading responded swiftly, with Carson forced to tip over another long-range attempt by Kelly.
But Derby were soon on the attack again, with Jerome twice going close. Mannone made a flying save to keep out his first effort, then Jerome nodded against the crossbar when left unmarked at the far post.
But Reading hit back to equalise 10 minutes from the end, when Bodvarsson turned in Barrow's low cross at the second attempt. Derby's dismay was then compounded when Baird was sent off for a poor tackle on Barrow.
Jaap Stam: "The goals that we conceded were not good. We gave away cheap goals and that's not the first time we're saying that. After they scored early on, we had to get back into the game. And we did that very well with a great goal from Liam Kelly and one from Mo Barrow. We wanted to keep the score at 2-1 and then maybe go forward and go for a third goal.
"You knew that Derby had to score and you know that maybe opens them up. But then they score a goal from a set-piece. We talked at half-time about what we needed to do and how we could get more out of the game but then, before you know it, that had the space to score their third goal. We kept on pushing to get back into the game again and we got a deserved equaliser. So that's a good point."
Gary Rowett: "It was a good game for the neutral bystander, a good spectacle. But for a manager, you don't want the game to be full of so many swings. We started well, but a few things frustrated me today, especially our decision-making defensively. That's cost us a chance to win the game.
"Reading probably had a good 15-to-20-minute spell, which again, as a team, we just didn't defend well enough against. It's very uncharacteristic about how we normally defend. But at the moment we're conceding silly goals every game from open play. Until we cut that out, we'll find it very hard to a win a game."