Articly by @ramswriter
The Championship came back with a bang last night. Derby travelled to the Madejski Stadium to take on Reading.
This would be Frank Lampard’s first professional game in charge as a manager, and it did not disappoint.
Tom Lawrence scored a last minute header to send the Rams back to Pride Park with all 3 points.
The game didn’t get off to the best start for Derby as withing the first 30 seconds a mistake from skipper Curtis Davies almost gifted Reading with a chance. Looking at Derby’s pre season Lampard wants them to play from the back and keep the ball, so these mistakes will need to be cut out.
16 minutes in and it was Richard Keogh this time who tried to play a blind pass, it was intercepted, but Scott Carson was quick off his line to deny Bodvarsson. Derby could not settle in to the game, Reading pressed quickly and forced Derby in to mistakes. Derby were playing possession football but it was too slow. The total opposite of what Rams fans had seen in pre season. Carson was forced in to another save at his near post. Whilst Derby’s only meaningful chance was a Harry Wilson free kick which sailed over the bar to end the first half.
Reading manager Paul Clement would have been happy with his sides performance in the first half. Lampard on the other hand certainly wouldn’t. Reading’s Sone Aluko had been a pest in midfield and Modou Barrow’s pace had troubled Andre Wisdom down the left hand side.
Derby played too much football in their own half, and their was no penetration from midfield. Joe Ledley pushed forward meaning Bryson and Mount had to come back and collect the ball from their own half. It was all a bit disorganised. Could Derby change things in the second half?
It was Derby who started the second half more brightly. They were moving the ball a lot quicker. Nugent headed in to the net, but it was ruled out correctly for offside. It was Reading who took the lead on 52 minutes. The dangerous Mo Barrow delivered a fantastic ball to the back post and Jon Dani Bodvarsson, headed back across goal in to the far corner leaving Carson stranded.
Reading’s lead only lasted 7 minutes; Keogh charged forward, his loose pass was picked up by Craig Bryson, he fed it to debutant Mason Mount, who unleashed a left foot rocket from 25 yards out. Mannone got hands on it but the ball found its way in to the bottom corner.
This lifted the away fans, the terrace was bouncing. Harry Wilson had a great chance to put Derby ahead moments later. Wisdom’s intricate ball over the top found Mount in the box, he crossed to the far post, Wilson was their, but Mannone came up with a wonderful save to deny him a debut goal.
The game started to peter out. It seemed as if both teams were going to settle for a draw. Rams substitute Mason Bennett had other ideas though. Bennett received the ball from a throw, he used his pace and power to hold off Omar Richards and delivered a pin point cross to Lawrence, who rose like a salmon and headed in to the far corner. Lampard and his coaching staff went berzerk on the touchline as did the players.
The full time whistle blew. The score board showed Reading 1-2 Derby.
Derby showed something they had lacked in previous seasons. The ability to not let their heads drop when they go behind. The ability to keep on going even when it gets tough. They showed a never say die attitude. It wasn’t the most pleasing on the eye match, but this will come in time.
The first half Derby looked nervous and they lacked tempo. Passes were going astray and they caused their own problems. However in the second half they were better, far from the end product though. They were a lot quicker, passes were more accurate and they looked to get in behind the defence more.
Lampard and his team will have learnt a lot from last nights game. They’ll have a better knowledge of what they need to work on for the Leeds game next Saturday. A win is a win though and it does make it feel that much sweeter when it happens in the last minute.