What a huge win that could turn out to be for the Royals. The task, obviously, was made much easier with the dismissal of Derby left back Scott Malone after just four minutes when he impeded Yakou Meite as the last man in the 18-yard box.
Charlie Adam dispatched the penalty to begin what should’ve been a much easier afternoon for Reading than they made it. The visitors went on to hit the woodwork and force a few very important saves from Rafael before Lucas Joao doubled the lead midway through the first half and then won another penalty which Meite smashed home.
It wasn’t the greatest of performances on the whole from Mark Bowen’s men, but you can’t complain too much with three points, another clean sheet and three goals. The fans were certainly happy at the end of the game and on Twitter displayed their joy at a few of the key talking points...
The Ivory Coast international has certainly divided opinion - much like the majority of this Reading squad - since joining from PSG. However, on Saturday afternoon he put in one of his best performances yet in a Reading shirt.
He won the penalty that set us on our way to victory and then completed the scoring with a penalty of his own. He worked tirelessly for the whole 90 minutes and was a constant threat in his more natural position on the right-hand side.
Hopefully this performance isn’t just a one off and he can continue in this vein of form because, on his day, he is a serious handful. The fans were certainly happy with the winger’s performance...
Yaks you were fantastic today, best shift I've seen from you in a Reading shirt. So glad you got that penalty. Urzz— Mark Bradford (@bradford_mark) December 21, 2019
Best I’ve seen you play big man— vitooo ➐ (@v1to__) December 22, 2019
Back to your best yaks— Will RFC ⚪️ (@willsumner09) December 21, 2019
Best performance in a Reading shirt.— Reading FC Family (@General_Footie) December 21, 2019
Adam completely controlled the game, he definitely deserves to be starting more often. I've given him a lot of criticism but Meite was very good today, he caused a lot of problems for the Derby defence. #readingfc— Harrison Mitchell (@harrison1871rfc) December 21, 2019
Return of John Swift
We are just a much, much better team when John Swift is playing and it was no coincidence that within minutes of him coming on for Rinomhota he’d already assisted another goal with a sumptuous pass into goalscorer Joao.
The fans were buzzing when Bowen admitted in his media duties midweek that Swifty was in line for a return to action - much sooner than was originally expected - and they carried that excitement into Saturday with their reaction to the news he’d made the matchday 18.
Keep him and Ovie fit and there is no reason we can’t continue to climb the league in 2020. Here’s what the fans had to say about the return of Swifty...
Great game. Overall positive by keeping Derby at arms length. Adam was good, Ejaria immense and Swift looked brillient for his cameo #readingfc— Laurence Wright (@WrightLaurence) December 21, 2019
Great win, i don’t think we were as good as we can be but we got the job done in a convincing fashion. Bowen deserves credit for good selection and subs, Swift changed the game #readingfc— Alex Stone (@_alexgstone) December 21, 2019
Swift and Pele making the difference, just wow. #readingfc— Alex Lane-Kieltyka (@alex_elkay21) December 21, 2019
On the face of it a comfortable win but let's see how we do when it's 11v11 for 90 mins because that first half was terrible.— Parking the Bus (@Parking_the_Bus) December 21, 2019
However hopefully we will be a different team with Swift back fit #readingfc
So happy Swift is back, made such a difference #readingfc— Andy Pandy URZ (@RoyalBearC) December 21, 2019
How good is John Swift, without him we don’t tick, class performance yet again and an assist within 5 minutes. Let’s hope he stays fit now #readingfc— Webby (@mitchellw2211) December 22, 2019
Huge three points
Make no mistake, this result is an absolutely huge one - and the fans certainly know it. The performance wasn’t great on the whole, with some hairy defensive moments even whilst playing against 10 men. However, sometimes you have to win ugly and I’m sure as the results improve, so will the performances.
As we head to the end of the year, the fans were sent home happy and that hasn’t been the case very often in recent months so that’s always a nice feeling for the fans. The supporters know that’s a big three points, as they showed after the game on Twitter. Let’s just hope it’s backed up with a good performance and result against QPR on Boxing Day...
Great result and confidence boost, nice to get a win just before Christmas. First half Derby looked dangerous even with 10 men and defensively we were iffy. We tidied it up a bit second half and could of scored a hat full if we were even slightly clinical #readingfc— Tom Maynard (@ttmaynard) December 21, 2019
3 points, clean sheet, not bad really... We've played better, we've played worse. .. ♂️ Will certainly enjoy our band xmas do tonight! #readingfc— gongfarmers (@rayvonchong) December 21, 2019
3 points is 3 points no matter how it comes. Yes Reading we're poor for 60 minutes but it doesn't matter how you win. Yaks was on yesterday and Ovie continues to prove why he's the best in the league. Merry Christmas to everyone associated with #readingfc— smudger (@smujjii87) December 22, 2019
A good win and a nice little confidence boost for the team as we head into the busy festive period. Next up is another huge game, as they all are, against QPR on Boxing Day at the questionable kick-off time of 7:30pm.