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Derby County 1-2 Reading FC: Five Things

Referees, Pavel Pogrebnyak and our ability to win games against 10-men are all under the microscope for Handbags Harris as he picks five key points to come out of our 2-1 win at Derby.

Ker Robertson/Getty Images


Reading's style of play clearly suits playing away. Sitting deep, keeping good shape and discipline, allowing the opposition to come on to us before hitting them when their attacks break down has worked pretty well so far, as shown by us being defeated only once away under Clarke (having given Fulham a bit of a battering second half). At home, with the onus on us to dictate the play, the formula hasn't quite been found yet with less convincing displays. And for that reason, away tie next round please!!


Reading under Steve Clarke have been in a position where the opposition have been reduced to ten men before half time on three occasions, which has led to what can only be described as unconvincing performances subsequent to the red card being shown. Against Watford, punishment was meted out with a breakaway goal, against Millwall a goalless draw the result. Derby are a better side than both, and so it was pleasing that we managed to get the win, but it was noticeable how Derby still managed to find a lot of space in midfield and create chances. I think we need to be much more convincing against ten men, although we should have had much more practice had justifiable reds been given in the Norwich City, Sheffield Wednesday and Leeds United matches.


How remarkable is it that a referee appears to do his best to "even up" a big decision in a game? It was noticeable at Derby that once Craig Pawson, a Premier League select official, had rightly sent off Stephen Warnock that he gave no other big decision in Reading's favour, indeed started booking players on the back of blinkered injustice on the part of Derby fans. The penalty shout straight afterwards for a clear handball after the overrated Richard Keogh had pulled off a save that any ‘keeper would have been proud of was the highest profile case, while for example Danny Williams received a booking after bringing down a Derby man in an innocuous area of the pitch having himself been tripped by another Derby player, so uncontrollably falling into the first man. Cue hysteria in the stands, and a yellow card for Williams. Annoying that once a referee finds himself in this situation he plays the crowd more than he does the game.


How much better do we look when Pog is interested?! Clearly under Adkins he had lost the love, lost the feeling, lost interest yet under Clarke he is a rejuvenated man. So far, this was his best performance of the season in my eyes, the only thing it lacked was a goal.


Reading have won 21 of 37 matches against Derby County in all competitions. 2014 was very much an annus horribilis in terms of this fixture with Reading not mustering a single goal and two comfortable defeats from three. Normal service resumed against a side who's fans hold their club in superior existence (not sure why). You've got no history? Check our history against you lot chaps...