Championship
Derby0Reading3

Derby County 0-3 Reading

Kwesi Appiah celebrates his first-half goal against Derby
Kwesi Appiah's early strike was his first in six appearances for Reading

Derby County missed out on a play-off place as their end-of-season slump ended with defeat against Reading.

A superior goal difference meant Derby needed just a draw to stay in the top six but they set the tone for a disjointed and nervy display by gifting Kwesi Appiah a second-minute opener.

Darren Bent wasted a chance to level when his penalty was saved by keeper Adam Federici just before the break.

And Michael Hector's shot and Garath McCleary's spot-kick sealed victory.

The Rams started the day in sixth place in the Championship table, but ended in eighth as Brentford's win over already-relegated Wigan earned them fifth spot, while Ipswich clung on to the final play-off place despite losing to Blackburn.

Media playback is not supported on this device

McClaren on Derby v Reading

Wolves beat Millwall and also finished above the Rams, but missed out on goal difference.

Reading's impressive victory ruined Derby's day but, having won just two out of their last 12 games before hosting the Royals, the result was maybe not as shocking as it first seemed.

There was an enthusiastic minute's applause before kick off to celebrate the life of former BBC Radio Derby presenter Colin Bloomfield, a familiar voice and face to Rams fans, who last month died aged 33 following a battle with cancer.

The warm tribute helped create a wonderful pre-match atmosphere at the iPro but the mood swiftly changed to one of disbelief and silence.

Will Hughes played a sloppy pass which allowed Appiah to run towards goal, and after Richard Keogh committed himself, the Crystal Palace loanee cleverly cut inside and slid the ball home.

End-of-season slump
Derby County conceded 23 goals in their final 13 Championship matches, in which their only wins came against relegated sides Wigan Athletic and Blackpool. The Rams earned just 12 points out of a possible 39 since beating Charlton Athletic in February.

The lively Tom Ince and Bent did both have decent shots saved by keeper Adam Federici, while Keogh went close and Reading's Nathaniel Chalobah almost put through his own net under pressure from Ryan Shotton.

But the Rams were sloppy in possession in the final third, prompting head coach Steve McClaren to switch formation and bring on Jesse Lingard, play him in behind Bent and go with four at the back.

Reading, beaten FA Cup semi-finalists, had little to play but were disciplined in defence and looked dangerous when they ventured forward, but the hosts should have levelled just before the break.

Johnny Russell was bundled over in the box by Jordan Obita but Bent's strike towards the bottom left corner was brilliantly kept out by Federici.

Steve McClaren
The Rams led the Championship as recently as 24 February but won just twice in their final 13 games of the season

Derby brought on influential striker Chris Martin at the break but it made little difference.

The Royals had by far the better chances, Tarique Fosu seeing a fierce shot saved by Grant, dragging a strike wide and then going close on a third occasion.

The pressure told when Hector fired home after a poor attempted clearance by Shotton, and McCleary's low penalty strike wrapped up victory after Jem Karacan was felled by Grant.

Derby head coach Steve McClaren: "I'm really annoyed, angry, and frustrated about the last two months and am really determined to do something about it.

"I'm not making a pledge, this is how I feel at the present moment. I'm under contract at Derby and I've said that all along. I've been questioned about all the speculation which has been going on for about six months.

"My intention is to sort this out. No one has told me otherwise and until somebody does, that's my determination.

"I'm angry, frustrated, I want to do something about it. I want to sit down with everybody next week, I think it's too raw, too early to make any kind of statement but what I say is what I mean."

Reading manager Steve Clarke: "A lot of performances have been really good but the key moments in the game went against us.

"But today, the key moments in the game went for us and that's the difference.

"The players were stuck in a little bit of a rut and had forgotten how to win a game and today they managed to remember so I've told them when they go away for the summer, don't forget what it's like to win a game. So this is a good way for us to finish."

Darren Bent shoots towards goal for Derby against Reading
Bent had scored all three of his previous three penalties for Derby since joining on loan in January
Reading's players celebrate their third goal against Derby
Garath McCleary leads the celebrations after wrapping up a win that means Reading finish the season in 19th place
Derby County players after the loss against Reading
Derby also suffered play-off heartache last season when they missed out on promotion with defeat against QPR in the final at Wembley

Line-ups

Derby

  • 1GrantBooked at 85mins
  • 32ShottonBooked at 66mins
  • 6Keogh
  • 36AlbentosaSubstituted forWardat 73'minutes
  • 3Forsyth
  • 8Hendrick
  • 37WarnockSubstituted forLingardat 33'minutesBooked at 58mins
  • 19Hughes
  • 23Ince
  • 39Bent
  • 11RussellSubstituted forMartinat 45'minutes

Substitutes

  • 2Christie
  • 9Martin
  • 10Ward
  • 16Lingard
  • 18Sammon
  • 21Roos
  • 28Rawson

Reading

  • 1Federici
  • 2Gunter
  • 15Hector
  • 5Pearce
  • 11Obita
  • 6NorwoodBooked at 27minsSubstituted forCooperat 90'minutes
  • 14Chalobah
  • 12McCleary
  • 21KaracanSubstituted forWilliamsat 86'minutesBooked at 90mins
  • 37StaceySubstituted forFosu-Henryat 30'minutes
  • 44Appiah

Substitutes

  • 3Kelly
  • 10Cox
  • 22Blackman
  • 23Williams
  • 31Andersen
  • 35Cooper
  • 39Fosu-Henry
Referee:
James Linington
Attendance:
30,806

Match Stats

Home TeamDerbyAway TeamReading
Possession
Home63%
Away37%
Shots
Home10
Away16
Shots on Target
Home3
Away7
Corners
Home7
Away5
Fouls
Home9
Away19

Live Text

Match ends, Derby County 0, Reading 3.

Full Time

Second Half ends, Derby County 0, Reading 3.

Attempt saved. Tarique Fosu-Henry (Reading) right footed shot from the left side of the box is saved in the bottom right corner. Assisted by Nathaniel Chalobah.

Booking

Daniel Williams (Reading) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

Tom Ince (Derby County) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

Foul by Daniel Williams (Reading).

Attempt blocked. Tarique Fosu-Henry (Reading) right footed shot from the left side of the box is blocked. Assisted by Nathaniel Chalobah.

Darren Bent (Derby County) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

Foul by Jake Cooper (Reading).

Will Hughes (Derby County) wins a free kick on the left wing.

Foul by Daniel Williams (Reading).

Substitution

Substitution, Reading. Jake Cooper replaces Oliver Norwood.

Jeff Hendrick (Derby County) wins a free kick on the right wing.

Foul by Daniel Williams (Reading).

Attempt missed. Chris Martin (Derby County) right footed shot from the centre of the box is too high.

Substitution

Substitution, Reading. Daniel Williams replaces Jem Karacan.

Goal!

Goal! Derby County 0, Reading 3. Garath McCleary (Reading) converts the penalty with a right footed shot to the bottom left corner.

Booking

Lee Grant (Derby County) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

Penalty conceded by Lee Grant (Derby County) after a foul in the penalty area.

Penalty Reading. Jem Karacan draws a foul in the penalty area.

Offside, Reading. Michael Hector tries a through ball, but Kwesi Appiah is caught offside.

Attempt missed. Michael Hector (Reading) header from the centre of the box misses to the left. Assisted by Alex Pearce with a cross following a corner.

Corner, Reading. Conceded by Ryan Shotton.

Chris Martin (Derby County) wins a free kick on the left wing.

Foul by Nathaniel Chalobah (Reading).

Tom Ince (Derby County) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by Kwesi Appiah (Reading).

Corner, Derby County. Conceded by Jordan Obita.

Attempt blocked. Chris Martin (Derby County) header from a difficult angle on the left is blocked. Assisted by Jamie Ward with a cross.

Corner, Derby County. Conceded by Michael Hector.

Substitution

Substitution, Derby County. Jamie Ward replaces Raúl Albentosa.

Goal!

Goal! Derby County 0, Reading 2. Michael Hector (Reading) left footed shot from the centre of the box to the bottom left corner. Assisted by Nathaniel Chalobah following a corner.

Corner, Reading. Conceded by Lee Grant.

Attempt saved. Tarique Fosu-Henry (Reading) right footed shot from the left side of the box is saved in the top centre of the goal.

Corner, Reading. Conceded by Jesse Lingard.

Offside, Derby County. Richard Keogh tries a through ball, but Jesse Lingard is caught offside.

Will Hughes (Derby County) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by Kwesi Appiah (Reading).

Jeff Hendrick (Derby County) wins a free kick on the right wing.

Foul by Oliver Norwood (Reading).

goal

As It Stood

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Bournemouth462612898455390
2Watford462781191504189
3Norwich4625111088484086
4Middlesbrough4625101168373185
5Brentford462391478591978
6Ipswich4622121272541878
7Wolves4622121270561478
8Derby4621141185562977
9Blackburn461716136659767
10Birmingham461615155464-1063
11Cardiff461614165761-462
12Charlton461418145460-660
13Sheff Wed461418144349-660
14Nottm Forest461514177169259
15Leeds461511205061-1156
16Huddersfield451315175875-1754
17Fulham461410226283-2152
18Bolton461312215467-1351
19Reading461311224869-2150
20Brighton461017194454-1047
21Rotherham461116194667-2146
22Millwall46914234276-3441
23Wigan46912253964-2539
24Blackpool45413283691-5525
View full Championship table

Top Stories