JON Dadi Bodvarsson snatched a late equaliser for Reading FC in a six-goal thriller against Derby County.

The Icelandic striker struck with 10 minutes remaining to earn a precious point for under-fire boss Jaap Stam.

A pulsating clash saw Derby lead through Kasey Palmer’s sixth-minute opener before Reading went 2-1 up thanks to a Liam Kelly screamer and Mo Barrow strike.

But Stam’s men almost threw it away when Rams skipper Richard Keogh and Tom Lawrence netted either side of the break for a 3-2 lead.

Royals, though, showed tremendous fight and spirit and they got their rewards when Bodvarsson converted Barrow’s cross in the 80th minute.

Derby ended the game with 10 men after Chris Baird was show a straight red for an ugly tackle on Barrow five minutes from the end.

Sadly, there was not enough time left for Reading to press home their advantage as the points were shared.

Royals have now won just once in 13 league matches and remain 18th in the Championship table and four points above the drop zone.

But if Stam’s men can match this kind of performance from here on in their league status should not be in doubt.

Yes, Reading’s defending left a lot to be desired. And yes, supporters are still waiting for their first Championship home win on a Saturday since April 2017.

But Reading’s performance overall was a big improvement on recent weeks against Derby team they have now taken four points off this season.

Reading Chronicle:

Jon Dadi Bodvarsson beats Scott Carson to make it 3-3.

Stam made two changes from the side that drew 1-1 at Nottingham Forest on Tuesday night.

With on-loan Chris Martin ineligible to face his former club and Yann Kermorgant nursing a calf strain, it meant a recall for Jon Dadi Bodvarsson up front.

Pelle Clement also got the nod over Joey van den Berg in midfield, while John Swift made the bench after a six-week injury lay-off.

Rams, however, were missing former Reading loan striker and current top scorer Matej Vydra through injury, but still named a formidable-looking side that was certain to test Stam’s struggling hosts.

Yet they were put under early pressure by the Royals who went close in the fourth minute, Liam Moore smacking two volleys from Sone Aluko’s corner, the second of which tested Scott Carson in the visitors’ goal.

But that fast start was soon snuffed out as Rams took the lead two minutes later.

Tiago Ilori coughed up possession allowing Rams in and, though Tom Lawrence’s initial shot was saved by Vito Mannone, Palmer was on the spot to sweep home the rebound from 10 yards.

Reading Chronicle:

Mo Barrow puts Reading 2-1 up against Derby.

But the response from Royals was immediate as they continued to probe at every opportunity.

And Stam’s men got their rewards when Kelly levelled with a long-range screamer in the 16th minute.

The diminutive midfielder collected Leandro Bacuna’s throw in, looked up and bent the ball around  Carson and into the top corner from 25 yards out, despite Rams’ keeper getting a faint touch.

Rowett was incensed with the equaliser as he felt the throw in should have been Derby’s, but that should not detract from the sheer quality of Kelly’s strike.

Reading were back in the game, and it got even better for Stam’s men when Barrow doubled the lead in the 32nd minute.

Reading Chronicle:

Mo Barrow scored one and set up the equaliser for Jon Dadi Bodvarsson against Derby County.

Clement won the ball high up the pitch and found Bodvarsson, who slipped in Barrow with a delightful pass.

The Gambian used his electric pace to leave the Rams defence for dead before slotting past Carson and inside the near post for a deserved lead.

Sadly, Royals were in front for less than three minutes as Derby snatched a swift equaliser.

The home defence was all at sea when a free-kick from the left was nodded down by Curtis Davies into the path of the unmarked Keogh, who stabbed home from close range without too much fuss.

The visitors’ tails were up and an Andreas Weimann free-kick that swerved this way and that required all of Vito Mannone’s attention shortly before the break.

Then Cameron Jerome headed wide from the resulting corner, though Mannone had his post covered.

But Reading deserved to go in on level terms at the very least, only to fall behind just 35 seconds into the second half.

Lawrence collected the ball on the right and drove through a static defence before firing past Mannone and into the far corner for a 3-2 lead.

Again, Reading refused to give in and Kelly almost equalised a few minutes later with another piledriver from 25 yards that Carson tipped over the bar.

Reading Chronicle:

Former Royal Chris Baird was sent off for this challenge on Reading's Mo Barrow.

As Reading threw bodies forward, so spaces opened up at the back as Joe Ledley tested Mannone from just outside the area.

Stan’s men were hanging on at this point and Mannone had to make a flying stop to his right to parry Jerome’s ferocious volley out for a corner.

Then Lawrence’s pin-point delivery fell nicely to Jerome at the back post, only for the Rams striker to head against the crossbar.

Royals rallied and threatened again in the 66th minute, Gunter escaping down the right before crossing to the back post where an off-balance Bodvarsson scooped his shot over the crossbar.

And the host’s never-say-die attitude reaped dividends when they made it 3-3 with 10 minutes remaining.

Barrow showed great determination to win the ball back off Baird on the corner of the box.

The Gambian winger found Bodvarsson with a telling ball and, while the striker’s first shot was blocked by Carson, he netted from the rebound for his ninth of the season.

Suddenly, Rams lost their heads and were reduced to 10 men in the 85th minute when Baird was shown a straight red for a nasty challenge on Barrow.

The incident sparked a touchline melee and a resulted in a further yellow card for Rams keeper Carson.

Sadly, it also disrupted what could have been a grandstand finish as Reading were unable to snatch a late winner as the points were shared.

Royals have another home fixture on Tuesday night when they welcome Sheffield United (8pm ko).

Reading FC: Mannone, Gunter (c), Ilori, Moore, Richards, Bacuna, Kelly (McCleary 81), Clement (Swift 70), Aluko, Barrow (Edwards 90), Bodvarsson. Subs not used: Jaakkola, Van den Berg, Blackett, Smith. Booked: Richards 49, Moore 83.

Derby County: Carson, Keogh ©, Olsson, Palmer (Johnson 81), Lawrence (Wisdom 88), Baird, Huddlestone, Ledley, Davies, Weimann, Jerome. Subs not used: Anya, Pearce, Roos, Nugent, Thorne. Booked: Olsson 20, Palmer 50, Keogh 83, Weimann 83, Carson 86. Red card: Baird 85.

Referee: Tony Harrington.

Attendance: 17,647 (Derby 2,855).