Pog on it, as Royals secure fourth victory
Saturday 21st September 2013
A superb second half performance from Reading gave them three points over Derby, beating the home side 3-1 at Pride Park with a rare brace from Pavel Pogrebnyak.
Royals boss Nigel Adkins had a minor injury crisis, with seven first team players out injured, including Bridge, Karacan, Drenthe and Williams, who all started against Leeds on Wednesday night. This meant starts for the returning duo of Pavel Pogrebnyak and Chris Gunter, new signing Chris Baird and young Jordan Obita, who was making his league debut for the Royals.
It was a decent start from Reading, who had early efforts from recent acquisition Chris Baird and Garath McCleary, but it was the home side that had the first meaningful effort, as Johnny Russell had an early effort palmed away by McCarthy, after decent interplay with Forsyth. The impressive Will Hughes also had a long range effort at goal, which the young keeper dealt with.
Rams forward Russell had another effort at goal, which McCarthy was again equal to. Reading struggled to get a fair share of the ball in the first half, but had a decent chance of their own, when Robson-Kanu`s header just evaded the Derby goal. Adam Smith had a late chance, firing over from a decent position at the back post.
It was fair to say that Nigel Adkins` side failed to get going in the first period, but no one could fault their start to the second, as they took the lead at Pride Park. Jordan Obita`s deep free kick was headed across goal by Alex Pearce and Pavel Pogrebnyak was on hand to bundle home, to give Reading a lead that they may not have deserved after their first half showing.
Reading looked a different side in the second half and it took them over ten minutes to double their lead away from home and lighting can strike twice, as Pogrebnyak added to his first goal in eight months, as he scored his first brace in a Reading shirt. McCleary`s cross from the right wasn`t cleared properly by the Derby backline and the Russian striker was aware to stroke the ball home with an assured finish from ten yards.
Royals winger Garath McCleary was proving a major threat for the away side, but should have added further gloss to the scoreline, as he failed to convert a Robson-Kanu cross to the back post. The former Forest could have regretted this miss, as Will Hughes` superb curling effort put the Rams back into the contest, after Reading failed to clear the ball.
As it turned out, McCleary wouldn`t regret it, as the game was sealed with a third goal for Reading deep into injury time. Welsh international Hal Robson-Kanu portrayed great strength to hold off a Derby defender, before slipping in substitute Nick Blackman to finish the game, with a scuffed right foot finish, after a decent first touch.
The final whistle blew to signify Reading`s fourth victory of the season and second in two games, but failed to propel in the Royals into the play off places. What matters is another win on the board, despite Adkins being faced with many injuries. A brace for the Pog and a goal for Blackman will surely raise their confidence, along with the signing of Billy Sharp, to seemingly give a different outlook on our striking options.
Derby - 4-3-3: Grant, Smith, Keogh, Buxton, Forsyth, Bryson, Eustace, Hughes, Ward, Russell, Martin
Subs: Deeney, Freeman, Coutts, Jacobs, Sammon, Bennett, Davies
Reading - 4-3-3: McCarthy, Gunter, Morrison, Pearce, Kelly, Baird, Guthrie, McCleary, Obita, Robson-Kanu, Pogrebnyak
Subs: Federici, Gorkss, Cummings, Tshibola, Akpan, Blackman, Le Fondre