News and Views

Royals End Season With Shock Away Win

02 May 2015
By Hob Nob Anyone?

Reading wrapped up the 2014/2015 season with a shock 3-0 victory at Derby County. Everyone expected another defeat to nill, but instead Reading cruised to a comfortable win against a side that needed just a single point to confirm their play-off finish. Instead of another Reading defeat we ended a run of nine games without a victory with one of our best results of the entire season.

Derby, against all the odds, suffered a painful finish to the season as they slipped out of the top six at home against a Reading side they expected to offer little resistance. The 3-0 scoreline didn't flatter the Royals who were good for their win and actually deserved to finish the season on a minor high after such a dismal run of form. The victory will be a big boost for the players and manager Steve Clarke who was just starting to feel the pressure ahead of the summer break.

Before this match Reading had only managed to score two goals in their last six matches. Scoring three in one game - away from home and when the match was of such importance to the home team was way outside anyone's predictions. As expected Clarke fielded a strong time, but a few unavailable players allowed Appiah and Stacey to make rare starts. It started well for Reading and continued that way. After just two minutes Appiah picked up the ball on the half way line after getting in the way of a poor Derby pass. Appiah sprinted the remaining length of the pitch turned past a defender in the Derby box before slotting a quality finish past the keeper to make it 1-0. The goal was a bit of a gift from Derby but extremely well taken by the loan player probably playing his last match for the Royals.

The expected onslaught didn't happen as Reading remained at ease in a even first half. Oliver Norwood had a decent effort from a free-kick that saw a decent save from the Derby keeper. Federici made two good saves to keep Reading ahead, one was perhaps heading wide but the other was a great stop. One negative point saw Jack Stacey limp off. However his injury allowed Tarique Fosu to make his Reading debut from the substitutes bench.

At the end of the first half Derby won a penalty when Jordan Obita clearly wrapped his arm around Russell inside the area. At that point Reading fans would be forgiven for expecting the worst - an equaliser and Reading to probably collapse in the second half. However Bent's penalty kick was well saved by Adam Federici to set Reading up nicely for the second half.

After the break Reading improved further and Derby struggled to get into the match. The early exchanges in the second half saw Reading dominate possession and it was hard to believe it was Reading down at the wrong end of the table. Fosu was clearly enjoying playing for the senior squad and was lively and made a real nuisance of himself. He was unlucky not to get on the scoresheet with a series of efforts both on target and off. He could also be forgiven for having a shot when he would have been better to have passed to the unmarked Karacan who would have been certain to put Reading further ahead.

Reading did make it 2-0 on 72 minutes after winning a corner on the left. The ball wasn't dealt with by the Derby defence and it allowed Michael Hector to score from well inside the area. Derby fans started heading for the exits and Reading continued to look comfortable. With five minutes left to play, Karacan, who was playing a forward role, broke into the box and went down after contact from Grant when he took the ball wide. Garath McCleary stepped up and sent the keeper the wrong way to make it 3-0 and wrap up an excellent, and very unexpected, away victory.

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