• QPR continue improvement with win over Millwall • Nottingham Forest earn second victory of season
Middlesbrough bounced back from their defeat at Norwich and returned to second place in the Championship with a 2-0 home win against Bolton. George Saville’s first-half drive, his first goal for the club, set them on their way and Brit Assombalonga added a second in the 90th minute. Victory puts Tony Pulis’s team a point behind the leaders Leeds. Bolton manager Phil Parkinson felt his players produced a performance Stephen Darby would be proud of.
Stoke City were handed a 3-0 home defeat by Wigan Athletic to continue their winless start to life in the Championship. Two goals from Will Grigg – the second from the penalty spot – and another from Gavin Massey saw the visitors win handsomely, while Stoke also had the defender Ashley Williams sent off for a second yellow card with 12 minutes remaining. Stoke have two points from their first four games.
The stage was set and the script written. At the death, deep into four stoppage-time minutes, Tom Lawrence delivered the perfect start to life in the dugout for Frank Lampard. Time stood still as his header looped into the net, capping Lampard’s whirlwind induction into the rollercoaster world of management. He fidgeted his way through a turgid first hour in which Reading took the lead until Mason Mount, the on-loan teenager, struck an unlikely equaliser before Lawrence popped up with the winner to crown a perfect first evening at the office.
As Lampard said, it will not always feel this good, this sweet – but this was some comeback. It was a cruel one for Reading – led by Paul Clement, Lampard’s former assistant manager at Chelsea. A powerful second-half header by Jon Dadi Bodvarsson had cut Derby down to size. But Mount, who excelled at Vitesse Arnhem last year, pulled Derby level with a speculative effort from distance that trickled through the fingers of Vito Mannone, the Reading goalkeeper, but no one could have foreseen Lawrence’s late heroics. The match-winner soaked the delirium from away supporters as he lay still in front of them, while Lampard’s assistants, Jody Morris and Chris Jones, mobbed him.
For all the world, that looked to be fizzling out for a 1-1 draw. Bennett ran the line, didn’t even look as he swung in a speculative cross. There was one Derby player in the box and the ball landed perfectly on Tom Lawrence’s head, who in fairness, did brilliantly to direct it into the corner.
That will hurt for Reading, who probably had the better of the match, but faded in the final minutes. Derby’s first goal was an absolute stinker, too, but Lampard won’t care. His team did not play particularly well but they found a way to win. That’s a very valuable quality in this league.
Frank Lampard’s side wins it with virtually the last touch of the game. The referee blows for full-time as soon as Reading get the game back underway.
Derby have won it at the death! Mason Bennett runs down the right wing, swings in a hopeful cross at pace and Lawrence arrives to perfectly loop a glancing header into the top corner! Wow! Lampard is mobbed by his staff, Lawrence by his teammates and Derby’s fans go mad.
90+2 min: Bryson has an effort from the edge of the area, but the ball was bouncing awkwardly and the Derby man never got over it.
90 mins: Four minutes of injury time.
89 min: Yiadom shoots from 40 yards out. It does not go into the net.
87 min: Johnson is irate, claiming that Meite swung an elbow. There is a brief scuffle, which the referee does well to calm down. He books both players for dissent.
85 min: Reading make their final change: Bacuna on for Meyler.
84 min: Chance for Derby! An awkward cross flies across the face of Reading’s goal. McShane, terrified of scoring an own goal, lets it go, unaware that Wilson is arriving at the back post! The Liverpool loanee connects first time from a tight angle but Mannone somehow claws it out! Great save, the Italian has somewhat redeemed himself there for Derby’s goal.
82 min: Bradley Johnson has long been known to have a powerful left foot, striking shots from range.
80 min: Co-commentator Andy Hinchcliffe has fully lost it. He’s talking about what happened to the chocolate nibbles at half-time because of the heat. “A congealed mess.”
78 min: Wilson goes down in a heap under an apparent challenge from Meyler. There are some calls for a second yellow card for the Irishman from the Derby support, but the referee judges it right. Replays show that Meyler actually pulled out of the challenge. It was hardly a free-kick.
76 min: Lawrence tries again from range - presumably keen to see if Mannone wants to fumble another one into the net – but he drags it wide after a neat one-two.
74 min: Reading follow suit – Bodvarsson off, Meite on.
73 min: Derby make their second change: Mason Bennett on for Nugent.
72 min: This is turning into a bit of scrappy game. That will suit Reading, they’ll surely take a point here.
69 min: Derby change: Johnson on, Ledley off. Straight swap. For those that were wondering, Johnson is still an absolute unit.
68 min: Ledley is apparently struggling with a tight hamstring. Might not be long until Lampard’s first ever competitive substitution. Remember where you were!
67 min: Reading do make their change: Swift off, Baldock on.
66 min: “Super, Super Frank, Super Franky Lampard” sing the Derby fans. “They’re top of the table!” emails James Robinson.
64 min: Reading look as though they are making their first change: Baldock is getting instructions from a grey-haired coach.
62 min: Derby’s travelling support, which is substantial, go crazy. They’re doing the Poznan. Lampard, meanwhile, punches the air in celebration. He looks a relieved man. For the past hour his side have been outplayed.
Out of nothing, Derby are level! This is a terrible gaffe from Mannone, who is beaten inside his near post from 25 yards. Mount’s strike was firm, but by no means in the corner. The Reading keeper has had barely anything to do tonight, and now has to pick the ball out of his net.
58 min: Yellow card for Wilson, who catches Barrow. A few seconds later, Kelly fouls Lawrence. The Reading man has to watch himself, he’s already on a yellow.
57 min: Not sure Ryan Giggs will be overly impressed with either Ledley or Wilson tonight – the latter has just squandered a brilliant chance. Bryson had a pop from range, and the ball fell to Wilson on the penalty spot, but the Welshman wasn’t able to control it. McShane got out very quickly to clear the danger. The Reading captain has been excellent tonight.
55 min: You’d probably say that’s what Reading deserve. Lampard looks animated on the touchline, doing that inhale/hands thing to his players, which I think is meant to convey the message of ‘raise it’ but in fact just looks like he’s smelling a bowl of soup.
What. A. Cross. The best player of the first half, Barrow, swings a peach of a ball in from the left wing and the worst player of the first half, Bodvarsson, climbs above Lowe to nod it firmly into the bottom corner. Carson didn’t move. That was a beautiful cross, and a great header, the Icelandic striker timed his run to perfection and didn’t break stride.
50 min: Davies does incredibly well to win two 50/50 challenges to set up a Derby counter-attack. But the move sort of fizzles out, with Reading getting bodies back.
Mount’s cross is deflected, but finds the head of Nugent, who glances it down into the ground, the ball bouncing over Mannone into the Reading net. Replays show that Paul McShane stepped up just in time to catch Nugent offside, it was the correct call.
46 min: Max Lowe, who impressed on loan at Shrewsbury last season, goes into the book for a late challenge on Aluko. But it’s a poor delivery and Derby clear the danger.
Peeeeeeep! And we’re off.
No changes from either side. Let’s have a goal then lads.
I spoke to Derby County captain Curtis Davies earlier this year. He’s a nice man.
“After watching that first half I think there’s only one sensible reaction: Lampard out!” emails J.R. in Illinois.
Welcome back, football!
45+2 min: Sloppy from Reading and Lawrence pounces on a loose ball before driving towards the box. Barrow bring him down and Derby have a very promising free-kick on the edge of Reading’s box. Wilson and Lawrence are over it … Wilson launches it into orbit.
45 min: Chance for Aluko, who finds some space on the edge of Derby’s box … spooned well over. Two minutes added on here.
43 min: We have some football action! Barrow, the best player on the pitch this half, is again the instigator for Reading, and somehow retains the ball after collecting an awkward pass. He sprays it right to Kelly, who fires it low towards Derby’s near post. It was probably going to hit the upright, so Carson does well to turn it behind. From the corner, Ilori heads straight at Carson. Reading definitely having the better of the half here.
42 min: Neither team looks like scoring. But what about the cricket today, huh?! Also, look at this very important minute-by-minute update after I typed Derby into Twitter.
British Sikh grows world’s biggest cucumber!
Sikh priest, Raghbir Singh from Derby, England claims prayers have helped him grow the world’s biggest cucumber - a whopping 49 inches & still growing!pic.twitter.com/R5LfFN27gA
40 min: The Sky commentators are talking about Bielsa. I was only half listening but pretty sure I heard “such is the lure of Leeds.” Ha.
38 min: Kelly is the next name into the book – he brought down Mount after the referee got in the way of the ball.
36 min: Couple of fiesty challenges flying in. First Ledley wins his slide tackle cleanly, then Meyler is late on Bryson. The referee blows up, when he would have been much better to play the advantage with Lawrence leading a Derby counter-attack. Yellow card for Meyler.
33 min: Cruyff turn from Swift, who leaves Ledley and Mount for dead on the left wing. Woof! Swift feeds Bodvarsson with a low cross, but once again the Icelandic striker can’t get it under control.
32 min: Harry Redknapp has now been joined by Frank Lampard Snr in the stands. That’s the most exciting thing that’s happened in the last couple of minutes.
30 min: “Horrible to read ‘It’s all Reading’ here in remotest Guatemala,” emails Peter Rodd. “I thought they were destined to go down and Derby to win the Championship! C’mon you Rams.”
28 min: Early thoughts on Bodvarsson: he’s not very good. I have to admit I haven’t seen an awful lot of him play, but looks very nervy and clumsy. Wonder if Sam Baldock will get a run-out later tonight – signed from Brighton earlier this week.
26 min: There’s also not much to be said about Harry Wilson on Derby’s right wing, other than the fact that he’s got a very slick hair-cut. Peak-District Blinder.
24 min: Not a great start for Derby. Carson, their keeper has had twice the number of touches (14) than David Nugent (7), their striker.
20 min: From the resulting free-kick, Kelly swings it in and Carson is brave in punching clear.
19 min: Three times now Wisdom has been beaten by Barrow’s pace, and this the most humiliating. From a standing start, the former Swansea winger simply kicks it past the full-back and runs around him. Wisdom bring Barrow down, and is given a yellow card, almost apologetically by referee Robert Jones.
17 min: Nugent turns neatly and feeds Lawrence, who drives inside from the left and lets fly, his shot slicing out for a Reading throw in …
15 min: For the second time in 10 minutes, Keogh inexplicably passes the ball to a Reading player inside his own half. Bodvarsson gathers it, and makes a beeline for goal, with Derby caught out of position. Reading outnumber their opponents and all Bodvarsson has to do is roll a simple pass right to Swift, but he overhits it and the attack collapses. Sighs all around the Madejski. Derby lucky there.
14 min: The initial pace has gone out of the game. Derby are slightly more defensive than when they started. Their 4-3-3 is now more of a 4-5-1 without the ball.
12 min: Have to say Lampard looks quite uncomfortable in the dugout. Hands in pockets, he’s often been caught on camera looking like he might shout something, but then doesn’t.
10 min: Derby may have had most of the ball, but they are struggling for penetration. Lawrence tries one from range, and it’s deflected for a corner. But it’s a poor delivery from Lawrence, who doesn’t beat the first man.
8 min: It’s all Reading! Barrow makes another break down the left, gets to the byline and squirts a cross across the face of goal. Lowe half clears and Bodvarsson can only manage a weak effort from the edge of the box. Easily saved by Carson.
6 min: Golden chance for Bodvarsson! Keogh plays a horrible blind pass across the pitch which is intercepted by Swift. The former Chelsea midfielder plays in Bodvarsson, who is clean through, but Carson narrows the angle well and saves a toe poke with his legs.
5 min: Speaking of bookings, it’s worth remembering that either managers could also get a yellow or red card tonight in a new EFL initiative designed to clean up touchline behaviour.
Managers will receive yellow cards for incidents such as kicking a water bottle, sarcastic clapping or any other gesture that could be considered as attempting to undermine the match official. A red card would be handed out for actions such as violent conduct, spitting and stopping the opponent restarting play. The manager would also be culpable for punishment should any member of his or her staff in the technical area or dugout be deemed to have behaved irresponsibly. Only the match official – not assistants or the fourth official – will have the power to issue cards to a manager, although there is a hope that, over time, that could change.
3 min: Lawrence loses the ball to Aluko and with Lowe out of position, Reading break. Lowe bring Aluko down for a free-kick, the left-back is probably a little lucky not to get an early booking.
1 min: Derby kick-off and lose the ball within five seconds. Barrow motors down the left towards the byline but his cross is blocked by Keogh. One thing Reading do have is pace in wide areas, Barrow and Aluko should be a nuisance.
Peeeeeeeeep! And the 2018-19 Championship season is underway.
Ryan Giggs is in the stands tonight, the Welsh manager will presumably be checking in on Harry Wilson and Joe Ledley. He looks a little perplexed as to where Chris Gunter is, he’s injured.
Harry Redknapp is also in attendance to see how his nephew gets on, while Gareth Southgate’s assistant, Steve Holland, is also in the executive box.
Obviously my first competitive game, but it feels like I’ve been here a while. But I love it, feels good to be back. Those players that played and beat Wolves made it easier to select the XI tonight. But we need a big squad for this league.
We want to create opportunities using different styles, whether it’s building from the back or going direct. I like Frank a lot, we worked a lot at Chelsea. I think it’s great he’s embarking on a managerial career. We will have a catch up after.
In case you missed it, Liam Rosenior hung up his boots last month after being released from Brighton, he played at Reading as well during his career. He’s taking up a coaching role at Brighton but also is moonlighting as a pundit for Sky Sports. He’s pitchside at the Madejski Stadium and looks very assured. Anybody that read Rosenior’s columns last season for the Guardian knows how articulate he is. There’s no cliches, and he’s able to reel off names and facts with Championship clubs that others don’t. The lad really does his research.
Our first email of the season.
“Hi, Michael,” writes Adam Griffiths. “A football season starting on a Friday night is an abomination, one that the football gods shall smite us for. Smite us mightily. Thoroughly looking forward to a season of tiptop MBMery and emailinginery, mind. Big thanks in advance to your crack team of MBMers and all the loyal listeners out there.”
Enjoyed this from Jacob Steinberg on Lampard’s thick skin, his smarts, and the importance of his assistant, Jody Morris.
Let’s unpack these teams then. New summer recruits for Reading – Andy Yiadom and David Meyler – start with other new arrivals – John O’Shea, Sam Walker, Marc McNulty and this week’s signing Sam Baldock.
Interestingly, there is no sign of Jack Marriott in the Derby squad. Loanees Mount and Harry Wilson, in from Liverpool, get the nod. It goes to show Derby’s strength in depth that they can have Bradley Johnson and Alex Pearce languishing on the bench. What Reading would do to have Pearce back, the Irishman made over 200 appearances for the Royals before his move to Derby in 2015. Matej Vydra – who failed to agree personal terms on a proposed £11m move to Leeds United – is yet to return to full fitness, as are Tom Huddlestone and George Thorne.
So what have you been doing for the past 19 days? The void of summer, hot days spent trying to find a desk fan to precariously perch on your bedside table, hot nights spent rolling around in a puddle of your sweat after search for fan came to nothing. It’s been awful hasn’t it, with nothing to distract you but transfer gossip and Europa League qualifiers.
But now, we have football, worth caring about. If Marcelo Bielsa believes the second tier of English football is too good for him, then it’s certainly good enough for you. Derby County, now led by Frank Lampard, are very much hoping that they will be in the top tier of English football by next May, and absolutely nobody – including Frank – has any idea whether they – or Frank – are good enough. It should be an intriguing story either way.
Aston Villa, Derby and Stoke fans are feeling a lot more positive than their friends at Reading, Leeds, Middlesbrough and Wigan
After a turbulent off-season where administration looked like a real possibility, there is an air of positivity around the club following investment from two billionaires. For a while it looked like we’d have to sell our best players. As that no longer looks to be the case, I’m feeling hopeful. We’ll start the campaign with Jack Grealish, Andre Green and Jonathan Kodjia, who all were out of the side for significant periods last season. We are, however, weakened by the departures of Robert Snodgrass, Sam Johnstone and John Terry. Assuming there are no significant departures, Villa can challenge for a place in the play-offs at the very least. After Cardiff reached the Premier League last season, automatic promotion should not be beyond our wildest dreams. I predict we’ll finish fifth.Josh Smith
Former Royals Academy graduate assists the FA to raise awareness of challenges for colour blind players
The Colour Blind Awareness organisation was founded to raise awareness of colour vision deficiency (colour blindness) and aims to be the first point of reference in the UK for people seeking information on colour blindness.
Historical Transfer News and Team Gossip has been archived below:
Wed, 28 Jun 2017 14:44:52 +0000: Ajax midfielder Clement joins Reading - Latest Stories, Video, and Commentary about Reading | BBC Dutch attacking midfielder Pelle Clement joins Reading on a three-year deal for an undisclosed fee from Ajax.
Mon, 26 Jun 2017 16:20:33 +0000: Peterborough sign Royals keeper Bond - Latest Stories, Video, and Commentary about Reading | BBC League One side Peterborough sign goalkeeper Jonathan Bond on a six-month loan from Reading.
Mon, 26 Jun 2017 15:06:31 +0000: Shrewsbury Town sign Jules and Adams - Latest Stories, Video, and Commentary about Reading | BBC Shrewsbury Town sign Reading defender Zak Jules for an undisclosed fee and Ebou Adams on loan from Norwich.
Mon, 26 Jun 2017 13:45:02 +0000: Lech Poznan loan for Reading's Rakels - Latest Stories, Video, and Commentary about Reading | BBC Reading forward Deniss Rakels agrees a season-long loan deal with Lech Poznan in Poland.
Mon, 26 Jun 2017 08:47:53 +0000: Luton sign Reading full-back Stacey - Latest Stories, Video, and Commentary about Reading | BBC League Two side Luton Town sign right-back Jack Stacey from Reading for undisclosed terms on a two-year deal.
Newly promoted Reading have been scouting out many possible additions to their squad for next season with manager Brian McDermott having a large number of possible targets he wishes to bring to the Madjeski for the season kick off in August. The Royals manager has stated he would like to reinforce in all departments for next season with a mixture of new and experienced players.
Reading have just offered a contract to up and coming high flying goal keeper Stuart Taylor after the player
enjoyed a successful trial spell at the club in recent weeks. The Royals have been looking for a long term replacement in the goal keeping department for some time and look set to make Taylor the man to do the job as long as the club and the player can agree personal terms before the season kicks off.
Goal keeper Mikkel Anderson looks like he will be heading in the other direction to Portsmouth this summer after the club decided they wished to sign Taylor to replace him and Pompey manager Appleton is extremely keen on the young goal keeper. The southern club have offered to take the player on loan for the season but Reading seem coy on this idea as they would much prefer to dispense with his services on a permanent deal but as of yet both clubs are unable to reach an agreement on the situation so the drama continues.
Young Watford starlet Adrian Mariappa is the first signing of the summer for the Royals as he has just arrived on a three year deal from the London club. The talented Jamaican international central defender is a great addition to the Royals squad and McDermott believes the player will offer them a new dimension in the heart of their defence for next season.
Another player who looks all set to arrive at the Madjeski this summer is Nottingham Forest full back Chris Gunter who has been a long term target of the club for some time. The Welsh international has been out of favour at Forest for the better part of last season and now is keen and excited to the prospect of life in the premier league and the deal looks all set to go through within the next couple of weeks as long as the player agrees personal terms and passes the clubs medical.
In recent weeks there has been growing speculation that the Royals have been enquiring about gaining the services of Jermain Defoe from Tottenham after the striker endured a bit part season last year for his home club. Defoes chances in the first team were extremely limited and now the striker may look elsewhere to ply his trade if talks with the club break down this summer which will leave the door right open for the Royals to bring the player to the Madjeski.