REPORT: Reading 1-2 Derby County - Rams win opener with last kick of the game

Frank Lampard oversaw his first game as Rams boss.
Frank Lampard oversaw his first game as Rams boss.

Derby County recovered from a lacklustre first-half to win in dramatic fashion at Reading in Friday night's opening game of the season.

Tom Lawrence headed home Mason Bennett's cross with what was the last action of the game to send the 2,000 Derby fans into ecstasy.

It was an outcome that few would have seen coming at half-time, with the Rams having looked lost in the opening 45 minutes and looking devoid of ideas and creativity.

But, inspired by Mason Mount's debut equaliser, they produced a much brighter final third of the game and proceeded to win it as late as late can be, Reading no doubt disappointed not to have made their first-half superiority count and made to pay the price.

For the Rams, there will be plenty for Lampard and his coaching staff to work on as there were times their side looked far too lethargic and nervous, something that will no doubt ease as familiarity with Lampard's ethos develops, but the three points will ultimately do wonders on all fronts, not least in the way they were secured.

Derby were a little sloppy early on and when Richard Keogh presented John Swift with the ball six minutes in, his through pass to Jon Dadi Bodvarsson sent the Reading striker in on goal but Scott Carson rushed out to block the shot with his legs.

Bodvarsson then had another chance moments later but shot weakly at Carson after a low cross had been cleared to him, Derby again hesitant at the back as Mo Barrow broke down the left.

Keogh gifted Reading another opening on 17 minutes but Swift couldn't find a team-mate when in a good position, Keogh struggling early on.

Derby's patient approach in playing out of defence wasn't producing much in the way of dividends early on, something the home fans were delighted to sing about as chants of 'boring, boring Derby' echoed from the stands.

Indeed, neither side were creating much in the way of goalscoring opportunities, though Reading were guilty of being wasteful with the openings that were being either gifted to them or created often by the pace of Barrow and movement of Swift

Liam Kelly forced Carson into a save low down on 43 minutes, the parry forcing a corner from which Tiago Ilori headed straight at the Rams keeper with an effort that lacked power. Sone Aluko then cut in and fired high and wide as the Royals continued to look most likely.

But the first-half drew to a close with a blank scoresheet, much to the relief of the lacklustre Rams.

The Rams began the second-half much better and David Nugent headed home Mount's cross only for the offside flag to deny him the opening goal of Derby's season - the decision proved to be a correct one.

But Reading would go in front on 53 minutes and Barrow was the creator, a superb cross from the left met with a powerful header by Bodvarsson and the ball found the corner of the net to send the home fans into raptures.

The equaliser arrived seven minutes later and it was from Derby's first shot on target. Mount tried his luck from 25 yards out and his left footed shot went more or less through Vito Mannone in goal who should have done better.

The Rams had a new lease of life, although it took another 15 minutes for them to muster the next effort on goal, Lawrence shooting wide having cut inside 25 yards out.

Lawrence then won the ball out on the left and crossed for Wilson at the back post but his shot was parried away well by Mannone.

But the drama was all to come in the dying seconds. Bennett found space on the right and swung in a cross which Lawrence glanced up and over Mannone and into the corner of the net to secure the most dramatic of victories.

Reading: Mannone, Yiadom, McShane (c), Meyler (Bacuna 85), Swift (Baldock 67), Aluko, Barrow, Ilori, Bodvarsson (Meite 75), Richards, Kelly.

Subs not used: O'Shea, Clement, Walker, McNulty

Derby: Carson, Wisdom, Bryson, Keogh, Wilson, Mount, Lawrence (Pearce 90+6), Lowe, Nugent (Bennett 73), Davies (c), Ledley (Johnson 69)

Subs not used; Roos, Josefzoon, Bogle, Thomas

Att: 16,923 (1,947 away fans)

Ref: R Jones