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Football: COPPELL'S BRUSH WITH SETH; Derby 2 Reading 2.

Byline: Ian EDWARDS

STEVE COPPELL need not fear a rash of complacency derailing Reading's attempt to taste the Premiership big time.

Despite their 25-game unbeaten run almost coming to grief at Pride Park - until Shane Long's equaliser two minutes from time - the Reading boss must be pretty sure that his runaway Championship leaders won't be taking their eye off the automatic promotion prize.

Seth Johnson's two goals, his first since returning to Derby from Leeds in the summer, certainly gave Reading their closest brush with defeat since their only reversal on the opening day of the season.

But Kevin Doyle's 11th strike of the season sparked the fightback as Reading twice came from behind to maintain their proud record, helped by Andrew Davies's sending off 20 minutes from time.

And with an 18-point gap over third-placed Leeds United, Coppell has no worries that his men will start to rest on their laurels.

He said: "Complacency is not on our agenda. It is our biggest danger and does not concern me.

"My players have worked very hard for what they have achieved so far.

"We don't have any stars and we have a go for each other."

Johnson fired Derby ahead from close range, only for Doyle to head in Glenn Little's cross to level within a minute. Derby wasted glorious chances before Johnson regained the lead with a 20-yard effort on the hour.

But it was the dismissal of Davies, for a second yellow card, that turned the match in Reading's favour and left Derby boss Phil Brown with a familiar feeling. He said: "We have got ourselves into position to win the game on so many occasions and we have not been able to see it through."

Reading made the most of their one-man advantage minutes from time when Long forced in a close-range header from Nicky Shorey's corner.

DERBY: Camp 6 - Edworthy 5, Nyatanga 6, Davies 6, Jackson 6 - Smith 5 (M Johnson, 71mins), *S JOHNSON 7, Idiakez 5, Bolder 5, Holmes 6 (Thirlwell, 77mins) - Graham 6 (Peschisolido, 86mins).

READING: Hahnemann 6 - Murty 6 (Harper, 86mins), *SONKO 8, Ingimarsson 6, Shorey 6 - Little 7, Sidwell 7, Gunnarsson 6, Convey 6 (Long, 70mins) - Hunt 5 (Oster, 81mins), Doyle 6. Ref: B Curson 6.
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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:The People (London, England)
Date:Jan 1, 2006
Words:374
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