The Silencing Of The Rams

Last updated : 24 August 2003 By Rob Cooper

Reading displayed their early promotion ambitions with a 3-2 win at Derby who will be concentrating on staying up after another Pride Park defeat.

Reading were by far the better team for much of the game although the Rams did give them a late scare when on loan striker Mathias Svensson pulled a goal back.

But a draw would have been cruel on Reading who tore gaping holes in the home side's suspect defence during an entertaining first half.

Derby also had their moments going forward, but until they cut out the basic errors at the back, they will struggle.

Manager George Burley believes his team is improving.

He said: "We were close to getting a draw against an in form team and that shows how much we have progressed in the last two weeks." Reading manager Alan Pardew believes his side can do better, he said: "I didn't think we played great. We thought we could keep the ball and sit on a lead but we have to learn quickly.

"We probably just edged it but we made hard work of it." There was certainly nothing wrong with the quality of Reading's forward play with Nicky Forster tormenting a defence that never came to terms with his pace and trickery.

He was the provider for two goals, although Derby will look back and admit they should have prevented all three of Reading's goals.

Shaun Goater was left with a simple tap in after Paul Boertien failed to cut out Forster's third minute cross and Lee Grant will have nightmares about the low shot from Scott Murray that went through his hands and his legs.

Murray's second was deflected past Grant but the defending that led up the Reading's third was dreadful and there was no way back for Derby.

Ian Taylor had put them back in the game from the penalty spot when Ricky Newman fouled Alves Candido Costa in the seventh minute, while another one of the new boys made his mark towards the end of the game.

Svensson put a firm header from ten yards into the bottom right hand corner of the Reading net with nine minutes remaining and Lee Morris almost equalised four minutes later but a draw would have flattered Derby.