The Royals made a winning start to the Championship season with a very impressive performance against Derby County this afternoon – starting life under new manager Veljko Paunovic in real style.
Two quickfire goals just before half-time here cost the Royals at the end of last season, but this time Lucas Joao and Ovie Ejaria found the net within the space of five minutes before the interval to deservedly take all three points against their Derby hosts.
Reading began the game on the front foot and pressed their opponents from the off. And the first half chance fell for the visitors when John Swift laid the ball off for Michael Olise to run onto and his driving run took him to the edge of the area. Opting not to shoot, the midfielder looked to slide the ball into Lucas Joao inside the box but Derby had recovered in numbers and cleared the ball before the striker could collect the pass.
Appeals for a penalty were waved away as Joao looked like he was pushed in trying to attack a lovely Swift free kick. Then at the other end a half-cleared cross dropped to Jack Marriott whose hooked effort deflected up off a Reading body and over the crossbar.
Reading has a golden opportunity to open the scoring after 18 minutes. Ejaria won the ball back in midfield and Olise played an early ball into the path of Joao. The striker turned away from the two backtracking defenders and only had David Marshall to beat – but his strike was parried by the Rams stopper and Swift’s follow-up effort spooned over the bar.