Veljko Paunovic’s Reading kept their play-off hopes alive in the Championship at the Madejski Stadium this afternoon as the Royals defeated Derby County 3-1.
Goals from Michael Olise, George Puscas and Lucas Joao sealed the three points for the hosts who are clinging onto sixth spot in the Championship table, though Bournemouth in seventh, have a game in hand.
Meanwhile for Wayne Rooney’s Derby, it’s another defeat in what has been a dismal campaign with the threat of relegation still very much there, as they sit in 19th position.
In a first-half of minimal flashpoints, three chances in the space of 20 seconds fell for Derby in the 20th minute
Forsyth found some space down the left-flank and he whipped in a cross which was headed by Kazim-Richards but his header struck against the left-hand post.
The ball immediately fell to Tom Lawrence after hitting the post, who blasted in a low-effort which was well saved by the feet of Rafael, before Kazim-Richards twisted into space and shot, producing a fantastic stop to push it behind from Rafael.
Reading continued to enjoy more of the ball and were probing but struggling to carve out any genuine goalscoring opportunities, with Andre Wisdom and Teden Mengi in particular standing firm in the Rams’ rearguard.
Though, it was the hosts who finally broke the deadlock just on the stroke of half-time, a much needed goal given the respective Bournemouth and Barnsley scores at the time.
The ball fell to Michael Olise on the edge of the Derby box, he worked sone space and thumped a wonderful left footed drive into the top left corner, giving David Marshall no chance in the Rams net.
Ten minutes after the second half whistle blew, the Royals extended their lead.
Meite steped inside from the right and hammered an effort at goal, Marshall could only parry it out and Puscas instinctively tucked the rebound home from close range
Derby’s best chance of following the Royals’ second came in the 70th minute as cracking save from Rafael did enough to deny Max Bird who rifleed a fierce effort from 30 yards.
Moments later, the Royals had a golden chance to make it 3-0, as Meite found himself one on one with Marshall but his low effort was saved well by Marshall.
Seconds after that Meite chance and a proceeding Royals penalty claim was turned down, Derby secured a goal back through Tom Lawrence who unleashed a phenomenal effort from 25 yards out, which swerved and dipped past Rafael.
Just as you felt Wayne Rooney’s side were edging closer to an equaliser, the Royals bagged a third goal in the 83rd minute.
A deep free-kick from Lewis Gibson was stood up to the back post, Holmes headed it down, and Lucas Joao fresh after coming on as a substitute snuck in and scored from close range to seal a big three points for the hosts.