Derby County fell to a 3-0 defeat against Reading at Madejski Stadium after being reduced to ten men in the opening minutes.
Derby were a man down after just four minutes when Scott Malone was shown a straight red for bringing down Yakou Meite in the area who was also awarded a penalty. Charlie Adams then converted the spot kick.
Cocu’s side were unable to turn the great character they showed to bounce back into a goal before the Royals doubled their lead in the second half through Lucas Joao. The Royals were awarded a second penalty in the dying minutes of the game after Joao was brought down and Meite found the back of the net.
Rams academy product Louie Sibley made his Sky Bet Championship debut, playing the final 20 minutes after replacing Krystian Bielik. He joined fellow Derby startlet Jason Knight on the pitch who had a standout performance and created multiple chances for the visitors in an attempt to get back into the game.
The Rams were dealt a huge blow after just four minutes being reduced to ten men. Yakou Meite was played through in the area looking to go one-on-one with Ben Hamer but was brought down by Malone and referee Michael Sailsbury immediately pointed to the spot before giving the Derby defender his marching orders. Adams then sent his spot kick into right side of the goal.
In an opening five minutes that set Phillip Cocu’s side up to crumble, the Rams did the opposite and grabbed the game by the scruff of its neck.
Just two minutes later, the equaliser came agonisingly close. Knight played a brilliant ball through to Lawrence in the left of the area and from a tight angle, the winger rattled the effort against the near post.
The Rams continued to get themselves in good positions to create with Martyn Waghorn shooting just over from close range in the 17th minute.
Youngster Knight threw himself into the game causing problems for the Royals’ defence. Just after the 20-minute mark he had his first chance of the afternoon. Duane Holmes sent a long through into the six-yard box, which was blocked out to Knight just inside the box and the midfielder’s half-volley went just over.
Reading’s first chance after taking the lead came in the 28th minute when the won the ball back which led to Meite taking aim from 25-yards, but his low effort glanced just wide. Straight down the other end Knight came close again. He received the ball 20-yards out from goal, but his low effort was a comfortable save for Rafael.
Ten minutes later, Holmes made a good run down the middle after shaking off his marker, the midfielder found Jayden Bogle down the right flank who squared into Knight. The 18-year-old struck on target, calling for the Royals ‘keeper to palm out his effort.
With five minutes left to play in the half, Knight was brought down in the area, but the referee didn’t blow his whistle. Waghorn was played through in the box, and his close-range effort was blocked into the path of Knight who came down before taking his shot.
Minutes after the restart, Hamer was called into action to palm away a low effort from Meite across goal, and Davies was able to clear the danger.
The home side doubled their lead just ahead of the hour mark. John Swift fed the ball backward into the area to Joao to tap in at the near post. On the 66-minute mark Knight had yet another go after good build up play by the Rams. After piling on the pressure, the Ireland Under-21 international struck the woodwork from the right side of the box.
With three minutes left, Reading got a third. Joao went forward into the box and was brought down by Craig Forsyth and again, the referee pointed to the spot which Meite converted.
Reading: Rafael; Guneter, Morrison, Moore (C), Blackett; Ejaria, Rinomhota (Swift, 52), Adam, Meite; Baldock (Boye, 72), Joao
Unused Subs: Walker, McCleary, Howe, Richards, Gomes
Derby County: Hamer; Bogle, Davies, Forsyth (C), Malone; Bielik (Sibley, 70), Knight; Waghorn (Marriott, 83), Holmes, Lawrence; Martin (Lowe, 6)
Unused Subs: Roos, Dowell, Wisdom, Whittaker