Royals v Rams - Report
Doyle gives Rams the away day Blues
Kevin Doyle's first goal of the season gave Reading a 1-0 victory over the Rams, a result which left the Rams bottom of the table and still without a point - or a league goal - on their travels this season.
The home side had a strong first-half penalty claim turned down by referee Lee Mason when Graeme Murty's shot struck the outstretched hand of Rams defender Jay McEveley, but Murty was the provider of the winner his cross was headed in by Doyle just after the hour mark.
Andy Griffin and Rob Earnshaw had the Rams best chances both firing wide but it was another performance of good possession football but the final ball again was missing and keeper Marcus Hahnemann not having to make a save all afternoon.
Reading started brightly and had two early chances, both falling to winger Stephen Hunt, who firstly fired a shot over the bar and then headed Doyle's right-wing cross wide, while Doyle himself headed Liam Rosenior's cross just over.
Billy Davies` side struggled again in the final third and Steve Howard and Kenny Miller were starved of the ball. It was Griffin who had the best chance on the half-hour, he cut inside on his left foot and fired inches past Marcus Hahnemann's left-hand post.
Griffin's inclusion saw Tyrone Mears pushed into a more attacking role down the right, and he looked dangerous when the Rams hit on the counter-attack. But that was very few and far between, with Miller constantly caught offside and the lack of service from the midfield was a major problem.
Rams keeper Stephen Bywater looked uncertain and he gifted Reading the first corner when he sliced a back-pass behind. While the pace of Hunt and Doyle was causing the Rams central defenders Dean Leacock and Claude Davis problems.
Bywater was called into action again just before the break this time he faired better palming Brynjar Gunnarsson's header over the bar but the Rams made it too half time equal.
The Rams had the better of the game just after the interval, and skipper Matt Oakley tried his luck from 25-yards but his shot fizzed wide. It looked like Billy Davies` half time address was having the desired affect, with Stephen Pearson also firing wide. While at the other end Doyle just failed to wriggle free of his markers for long enough to shoot.
But the Rams left the striker alone again on the hour and he made no mistake this time. Murty's right-wing cross flicked off Leacock`s head and fell to Doyle who directed his header back across goal, past Bywater's despairing dive.
Davies made a triple change bringing on Eddie Lewis, Giles Barnes and Robert Earnshaw as they pressed for an equaliser. The closest they got was when the Welsh international Earnshaw curled a shot agonisingly wide after making room for him self on the edge of the box.
Doyle almost added a second as time ran out, but could only shoot straight at Bywater, and at the final whistle it was a relieved Reading boss Steve Coppell after his sides 7-4 loss at Pompey last week. While the Rams still look for a point away from Pride Park and more concerning their first goal on their travels.
Reading: GK Hahnemann, Murty, Duberry, Ingimarsson, Shorey, Rosenior (Oster 60), Harper, Gunnarsson, Hunt, Doyle, Kitson. Subs Not Used: Federici, Lita, Fae, Bikey.
Derby: GK Bywater, Mears, Davis, Leacock, Griffin (Earnshaw 75), Feilhaber (Lewis 65), Pearson, Oakley, McEveley, Howard (Barnes 65), Miller. Subs Not Used: Price, Todd.
Ref: Lee Mason (Lancashire).
Tyrone Mears - Played a more attack role and looked good going forward with his pace.
Derby manager Billy Davies:
'We gave away too many free-kicks in the first half, but we made a couple of changes and we looked the more likely to score in the second half.
'But you've got to keep clean sheets, and we gave away a soft goal.
'We are getting better and more confident - we just need that first away performance to kick us on.'
'Obviously it's a relief, but it's only in the system because people talk about conceding seven goals like someone has died.
'Its football and I bet there won't be many teams who go there and score four and also miss a penalty.
'It's not the end of the world to get beaten - we could lose 20 games and have a good season.'
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