English Premier League legend Frank Lampard’s managerial career has begun with a dramatic last-gasp win as Derby stunned Reading in the opening game of the Championship season.
Lampard was left with an “incredible feeling” as he started his managerial career at Derby with a thrilling 2-1 win over Reading, thanks to Tom Lawrence’s stoppage-time header.
The visitors performed fitfully for the first hour of the Championship opener at the Madejski Stadium and fell behind to Jon Dadi Bodvarsson’s goal seven minutes into the second half.
On-loan Chelsea midfielder Mason Mount – a goalscoring midfielder in Lampard’s image – levelled matters with the help of an error from Vito Mannone in the 60th minute before Lawrence had the final word.
And former Chelsea midfielder Lampard was delighted with his first league game on the touchline, insisting they earned the decisive stroke of luck.
“This is football and this is why I came into management – the fans at the end of the game and those celebrations, we have to savour them because that’s what hard work can get you.
“What a finish. You can call it a stroke of luck, but those things are hard-earned.
“We want to celebrate together, it’s a squad game, with the staff and everybody involved and we feel it deeply.
“It’s a last-second winner, so it’s an incredible feeling.
“I would have taken a fantastic performance and a comfortable win, but football is about these moments, this is what we are here for.”
It was no easy start for Lampard’s team, as Bodvarsson broke free of a nervy Derby defence in the sixth minute but shot too close to goalkeeper Scott Carson.
That set the tone for a half where County hogged possession without purpose in between their regular errors, while Reading’s lack of cutting edge in attack meant they went unpunished.
David Nugent thought he had given the visitors the lead early in the second period but the veteran striker’s header was chalked off for offside.
Bodvarsson found the target shortly afterwards, powering Modou Barrow’s excellent left-wing cross home at the back post after Reading sliced through their opponents far too easily.
A deserved advantage lasted little more than seven minutes when Mannone botched his attempt to push Mount’s speculative strike to safety.
Mannone did much to atone for his error in the 83rd minute when he made up ground to brilliantly prevent Liverpool loanee Harry Wilson clattering home from close range, but Lawrence produced a wonderfully deft headed finish from Mason Bennett’s searching 94th-minute centre.
“We were slow and we moved the ball slowly. Reading were smart, they defended as a block and they tried to stop us from playing out through the lines,” Lampard said.
“It was tough but we needed to quicken up our game and we needed more urgency.
“There are times when you can take the sting out of the game, but when a team is sitting back and you move slowly, you invite your own problems.
“It’s a tough, tough game. We have to learn because there is loads of room for improvement.”