TIAGO Ilori stressed Reading FC must play until the final whistle after conceding a gut-wrenching late equaliser at Nottingham Forest on Tuesday night.

Royals took the lead through Omar Richards’ first goal for the club in the 35th minute.

But a lapse in concentration in the 85th minute by Jaap Stam’s visitors allowed Lee Tomlin to snatch a point for fellow strugglers Forest.

And Ilori admitted the result was difficult to swallow: “It was a tough game,” asserted the former Liverpool defender. “We started well and we managed the game well.

“We knew what we needed to do in the second half and we didn’t do it quite as well.

“It’s disappointing to draw having been ahead for so long. All it takes is one chance. We need to do better next time.

“But it’s a point and it’s a point that we needed.”

Left-back Richards, 20, bagged his first Reading goal when he drilled a left-footed shot into the roof of the net with 35 minutes played.

The Academy product was drafted into the first-team set-up after Jordan Obita was ruled out for the rest of the season with a cruciate ligament injury.

Reading Chronicle:

Lee Tomlin equalises for Nottingham Forest against Reading on Tuesday night. Picture: Jason Dawson/jasonpix

And Ilori praised the young defender, adding: “Omar had a great game. It’s great for him to get his first goal and we all know he’s a quality player.”

Reading now turn their focus to high-flying Derby County who visit Madejski Stadium this Saturday (3pm ko).

Stam's men secured a 4-2 win at Pride Park back in November and will be looking to do the double of promotion-chasing Rams who drew 2-2 at home against Leeds last night.

“We know we can beat any team in the league,” concluded Ilori.

“We just need to work hard and go into the game with our gameplan and stick together.

“The fans have a part to play too. Their support always makes us play better.”

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