With Wayne Rooney’s Derby County side undoubtedly heading into Wednesday night’s Championship clash with the Rams’ numerous off-field issues in the back of their mind, a positive result may have not appeared highly likely before kick-off.
However, as has so often been the case so far this season, the 35-year-old’s side demonstrated a tremendous amount of spirit and fight in the fixture, with Craig Forsyth’s first-half strike being enough to secure all three points against Reading, with the Rams running out 1-0 winners.
Indeed, a number of Rooney’s team turned in highly impressive displays in the fixture, with Forsyth, Ryan Allsop and Jason Knight being among the top performers against the Royals, however, it was undoubtedly Tom Lawrence’s showing which will have pleased the Derby manager most.
Having moved back to the left-hand side of the Rams attacking midfield against Reading, while Lawrence did not offer all that much going forwards – as Derby were under defensive pressure for much of the fixture – the 27-year-old turned in an extremely gritty performance in order to secure the three points for his side.
Indeed, over the course of his 90 minutes on the pitch, the £27k-per-week man took a total of five shots at goal, completed three of his three attempted dribbles and three of his four attempted long balls.
The player Steve Evans dubbed “unplayable” also impressed in a defensive capacity, winning seven duels, making one interception, one tackle and drawing two fouls for his side.
These returns saw the Wales international receive a SofaScore match rating of 7.8 in the fixture, with only Allsop between the Derby sticks earning a higher rating than Lawrence on the night.
As such, while Derby will need something of a miracle to secure survival in the Championship this season, should the 27-year-old be able to keep up this level of performance throughout the remainder of the Rams’ campaign, the Pride Park faithful will know that the midfielder gave his absolute all for the club’s cause.