Reading 2-2 Derby: Colin Kazim-Richards and Curtis Davies strike in the final five minutes to secure a precious point for relegation-threatened Rams after Junior Hoilett netted twice for struggling hosts
- Bottom-of-the-table Derby fought back from two goals down to secure a point
- Canadian winger Junior Hoilett scored in each half to put the hosts 2-0 ahead
- Substitute Colin Kazim-Richards bundled the ball into the net in 86th minute
- Then, veteran centre back Curtis Davies headed home to level for the visitors
With manager Wayne Rooney on his sick bed, Derby produced a superb late comeback to rescue an unlikely point at fellow Championship strugglers Reading.
Rooney is suffering cold symptoms and though he has tested negative for Covid-19, he followed this one from home as assistant Liam Rosenior took charge on the touchline.
In the 86th minute his team trailed 2-0 to Junior Hoilett’s double, before late headers from substitute Colin Kazim-Richards and Curtis Davies sent the travelling fans wild with delight.
Curtis Davies celebrates after scoring a dramatic late equaliser to rescue a point for Derby
MATCH FACTS AND PLAYER RATINGS
Reading (4-2-3-1): Southwood 5.5; Ashcroft 6 (Araruna 46, 6), Holmes 7, Dann 6.5, Rahman 6; Dele-Bashiru 6, Laurent 6.5; Halilovic 6.5 (Azeez 65, 6), Swift 6.5, Hoilett 7; Carroll 6.5. Subs not used: Rafael, Stickland, Camara, Clarke, Puscas.
Scorers: Hoilett 37, 56
Manager: Veljko Paunovic 6
Derby (4-2-3-1): Allsop 6.5; BYRNE 7.5, Jagielka 6.5, Davies 7, Forsyth 6 (Ebosele 57, 6.5); Bird 7, Thompson 6.5; Jozwiak 6.5, Lawrence 6, Knight 6 (Morrison 67, 7); Plange 6.5 (Kazim-Richards 57, 6.5). Subs not used: Roos, Baldock, Stearman, Williams.
Scorers: Kazim-Richards 86, Davies 90
Manager: Wayne Rooney/Liam Rosenior 6.5
Derby have been in administration since September and for as long as they do not have an owner, their future is clouded by uncertainty.
Yet there are no doubts about their spirit and this point was fully merited.
These sides have had a combined total of 27 points – 21 for Derby, six for Reading – deducted this season for breaking spending rules.
It will be remarkable if Derby manage to avoid relegation but Veljko Paunovic’s men started the day above the line, even though they have not played since December 11.
The Royals’ last three games have been postponed due to Covid-19 while Derby had won their previous three matches, giving them a tiny glimmer of hope.
Still only 32, Andy Carroll was a powerful presence at the point of Reading’s attack. His header from John Swift’s cross drew an outstanding save from Ryan Allsop, who dived to his right to claw the ball away, before Phil Jagielka and Davies stopped Hoilett pouncing on the loose ball.
For all their neat approach work, Derby struggled to test Reading goalkeeper Luke Southwood.
He was forced into a genuine save only once before the break, when he pushed 19-year-old forward Luke Plange’s deflected effort around the post.
Apart from Carroll’s header, Reading had been barely more threatening, until they took the lead through a spectacular strike from Hoilett.
Carroll beat Jagielka in the air and Hoilett spun away from Nathan Byrne and curled a delightful effort beyond Allsop from 20 yards.
Injury problems meant this was Hoilett’s first appearance in a home fixture since September 25 and this was quite a way to celebrate his return.
Derby sub Colin Kazim-Richards (right) bundled the ball into the net in the 86th minute for 2-1
Canadian winger Junior Hoilett (left) had scored in each half to put the hosts 2-0 ahead
Allsop nearly made life worse for Derby when, on the brink of half-time, he tried to dribble past Carroll only to lose his footing. Luckily for Derby, Allsop managed to scramble the ball clear just in time.
Southwood kept his team ahead in the 55th minute with a sharp save from Tom Lawrence’s angled drive following good work by Byrne down the right.
And the value of that save was apparent less than two minutes later when Reading scored their second.
Tom Holmes headed Alen Halilovic’s free-kick back across goal and when Jason Knight missed his attempted clearance, Hoilett poked in his second from close range.
A wonder strike from Hoilett had given Reading the lead in the first-half but Derby rallied back
Jagielka needed lengthy treatment with 20 minutes to go after taking an arm in the face as he jumped with Carroll, while Derby continued to press but were largely restricted to long-range efforts as Reading’s defence showed impressive concentration.
Yet their resistance was broken with three minutes left when Southwood flapped at Max Bird’s cross and Kazim-Richards bundled the ball over the line.
Bird could have equalised soon afterwards when Southwood failed to deal with another cross but put a volley just over from 20 yards.
Derby kept pushing though and levelled when Davies – sent forward from the back – produced a thumping header from Byrne’s right-wing cross in the first minute of stoppage time.