Ten-man Derby County were held to a thrilling 3-3 draw by Reading at the Madejski Stadium on Saturday.
Kasey Palmer and Richard Keogh both scored for the Rams in the first half, with Tom Lawrence adding a third seconds after the break. Liam Kelly, Modou Barrow and Jón Daði Böðvarsson all netted for the Royals.
Chris Baird was dismissed in the final five minutes after a late challenge on Barrow.
The Rams’ goalkeeper Scott Carson was called into action early on when he was forced to save Liam Moore’s volley from a corner.
Palmer, who was making his first start for Derby since signing on loan from Chelsea in January, opened the scoring after just six minutes.
Lawrence’s shot from the left side was parried away by Vito Mannone, but the ball fell straight at the feet of Palmer, who guided the ball into an empty net from close range for his second goal in the space of three days.
Kelly levelled the scoring after ten minutes with a superb curling effort from distance that looped over Carson and into the top corner of the net.
The hosts then took the lead just after the half hour mark; the ball was picked up midway inside the Rams’ half by Barrow and the Gambian winger sprinted past Curtis Davies before slotting his effort past Carson.
Three minutes later, Derby captain Keogh equalised for the visitors. Lawrence’s free kick found the head of Davies, who headed the ball onto Keogh, who smashed his volley home from close range for his first goal of the season.
Lawrence, who had been heavily involved in both of the Rams’ first half goals, nearly gave the visitors the lead for the second time in the match just before the interval, but his venomous free kick was pawed away by Mannone.
Derby regained the lead 34 seconds into the second half. Lawrence played a clever exchange with Palmer before he took the ball past Tiago Ilori and he fired into the net
Reading almost found themselves level two minutes later, when Kelly attempted yet another effort from long range, but Carson was able to tip this over the frame of the goal.
Joe Ledley saw his effort from outside of the area find the target, but his shot bounced straight into the hands of Mannone.
Cameron Jerome then forced the Reading No.1 into a diving save just after the hour mark with his thunderous volley from distance being palmed away for a corner. From the resulting set-piece, Jerome was picked out at the back post by Lawrence’s curling cross, with the striker’s header crashing off the crossbar.
Böðvarsson equalised for Reading with 10 minutes remaining; his first effort from close range was brilliantly denied by Carson, but the ball went straight back at the Icelandic striker and he stabbed the ball into the Derby net with ease.
The draw keeps Derby fourth in the Sky Bet Championship standings, four points behind Cardiff City in second place, who play their game in hand on Sunday afternoon against Bristol City.
Reading: Mannone; Gunter, Moore, Illori, Richards; Bacuna, Kelly (McCleary, 81), Clement (Swift, 70’); Aluko, Böðvarsson, Barrow (Edwards, 90’).
Substitutes not used: Jaakkola, van den Berg, Blackett, Smith.
Derby County: Carson; Baird, Keogh, Davies, Olsson; Huddlestone, Ledley; Weimann, Palmer (Johnson, 77’), Lawrence (Wisdom, 88’); Jerome (Nugent, 81’).
Substitutes not used: Roos, Pearce, Thorne, Anya.
Despite having control of the second half, Reading’s late equaliser by Böðvarsson denied them any chance of leaving the Madejski Stadium with three points.
His first effort from close range forced a fantastic save out of Carson, but he was unable to keep him out the Reading striker’s second attempt.
Winger Lawrence was a huge influence for his side from start to finish. He played a huge part in creating both Palmer’s and Keogh’s goals.
He was rewarded with a well-deserved goal less than a minute into the second period, in a move that he orchestrated to perfection.
Next up for the Rams is a home fixture against fellow promotion-chasing rivals Fulham on Saturday 3rd March before a trip to Loftus Road to face Queens Park Rangers three days later (Tuesday 6th March).