Despite taking the lead twice against Reading, Derby County were held to a 3-3 draw at the Madejski Stadium on Saturday.
The Rams took the lead after just six minutes when Kasey Palmer scored his second goal in as many games, but the Royals were soon level after Liam Kelly’s superb long-range curling effort looped over Derby goalkeeper Scott Carson.
The hosts then took the lead with Modou Barrow capitalizing on a mistake by visiting captain Richard Keogh and sprinting past Curtis Davies before blasting home from close range.
But Keogh was quick to avenge his earlier mistake by firing in his first league goal since October 2015 to make it 2-2 just before the interval.
Tom Lawrence, who had been instrumental all afternoon in Berkshire, gave Gary Rowett’s side the lead 34 seconds after the restart, as he started and finished off a fine passing move between himself and Palmer.
With nine minutes remaining, Jón Daði Böðvarsson struck for Jaap Stam’s men to earn his side a point.
The visitors were reduced to 10 men with just a minute remaining when Chris Baird was dismissed after a late challenge on Barrow.
In an afternoon full of drama, goals and some questionable defending, here is five things we learned from the six-goal thriller at the Madejski.
Another two points dropped by Derby
The draw for the Rams mean that they have won just once in their last seven league matches.
With promotion-chasing rivals Cardiff City and Aston Villa both winning at the weekend, Derby are now seven points behind the automatic promotion places and four points behind third placed Villa.
Their next two games on home soil are against Fulham and Cardiff, who both picked up vital victories over Wolverhampton Wanderers and Bristol City respectively at the weekend and both remain as serious challengers for a return to England’s top flight.
Derby have picked up just eight points out of a possible 21 in their last seven league outings, form that they must turn around against the Cottagers this Saturday.
‘Ain’t nobody, like Jón Daði’
Reading’s form this season has been polar opposite from the side that reached the play-off final last May.
But one unlikely candidate who has performed better than expected this term has been Icelandic striker Böðvarsson, who is currently on loan from league leaders Wolvers.
His 81st minute equaliser on Saturday was his ninth goal of the season in all competitions and his sixth in the Championship.
Despite being almost unrecognisable throughout the second half, Böðvarsson was there once again to secure a vital point for Stam’s side in their bid to avoid relegation.
Without his goals this season, Reading would only be 30 points, which hypothetically would see them three places lower down in 21st and level on points with the drop zone.
He may not have appeared to be an inspiring signing when he first arrived, but without him, Reading’s already poor season would be much worse.
The Palmer problem
After scoring his first goal for Derby against Leeds United last Wednesday and a groin injury that prevented Matěj Vydra from featuring during the 3-3 draw, Palmer, who arrived on loan from Chelsea last month was rewarded with his first start in a Derby shirt.
He made a very good impression at the Madejski Stadium, after opening the scoring just six minutes into the tie. The 21-year-old also provided the assist for Lawrence’s early second-half strike.
But the problem Derby manager Rowett now faces is how to use him.
When Vydra returns to full fitness, it is surely impossible to leave him out of the starting side, as his 17 league goals this season makes him the current top scorer in the entire division.
Lawrence is also a natural ‘number 10’, but fortunately he is also very handy wide man, as his man of the match performance from the left wing on Saturday would suggest.
However, Palmer and Vydra have tended to struggle when shoved out wide in the past and both perform to the best of their abilities centrally.
In theory, Vydra’s inevitable return will see him almost guaranteed to return as the team’s focal point just behind either Cameron Jerome or David Nugent, but Palmer’s purple patch of form leaves Rowett with a superb backup option regardless of who he leaves out.
A screamer from Kelly
As frustrating as it would have been for the visitors to concede just 10 minutes after going ahead against Reading, former England international goalkeeper Carson probably hasn’t conceded many goals better than Kelly’s 16th minute leveller on Saturday.
The 22-year-old Irishman fired in this fine strike for his fifth goal of the campaign in all competitions.
Kelly then tried to recreate this in the second half, with a chance almost mirroring his first half effort, only this time to find his shot tipped over the crossbar by Carson.
His goal was well deserved, as he individually stood out in the Reading midfield.
Goals, goals, goals
This 3-3 draw was the third consecutive time that a game between Reading and Derby has ended with five or more goals in.
Between the Octobers of 2007 and 2016, this only happened once in 19 meetings between the Rams and the Royals, but that is certainly not the case anymore.
Whilst the two teams both produced some fine efforts at the weekend, with goals from Kelly, Lawrence and Keogh particularly impressing, questions must be asked over both teams’ defending, as they both struggled to grasp any real control for the majority of the match.