Promotion-chasing Derby frustrated as Daniel Williams earns Reading a point
Derby lost further ground on Sky Bet Championship leaders Middlesbrough as they were held to a 1-1 draw at home by Reading.
The visitors were the better side for much of the game but lacklustre Derby went ahead through Jason Shackell only for the visitors to deservedly level through Daniel Williams.
Reading had chances to win it in the second half, but they did halt a run of six away league defeats, while there were boos at the end from the home fans as Derby had to settle for a point.
Reading went into the game hoping their impressive record at Pride Park, where they had won seven of their last nine games in all competitions, would solve their problems on the road but they were facing former team-mate Nick Blackman, who made his Championship debut following last week's B#3million move.
Blackman saw nothing of the ball as Reading controlled possession in the opening minutes, with Matej Vydra volleying over from 12 yards but he forced the corner that gave Derby an 11th-minute lead.
The Royals' defence switched off, leaving Shackell unmarked to turn the ball in from four yards.
Derby's back four was equally open three minutes later when Garath McCleary set up Oliver Norwood but he skied his shot over from 15 yards.
The hosts had not been convincing and Reading equalised in the 38th minute after another neat passage of play when Hal Robson-Kanu got in on the left and crossed to the back post where Williams arrived to head past Lee Grant.
It was the least Reading deserved and the fact Derby's players were out early for the start of the second half showed head coach Paul Clement was not impressed with what he had seen in the first 45 minutes.
There was no immediate improvement and Reading almost scored again when they broke quickly in the 59th minute and Grant had to turn McCleary's shot behind.
The home fans were starting to vent their frustration at the team's stuttering display but Blackman almost hurt his ex-employers in the 72nd minute when Chris Martin played him in on the left but his low shot lacked the power to beat Ali Al-Habsi.
Clement brought his second January signing, winger Abdoul Camara, on in the 76th minute but Reading almost took the lead four minutes later when Vydra set up Robson-Kanu for a 20-yard shot that Grant tipped on to a post.
There was another scare for Derby from the resulting corner as the ball cannoned around the six-yard box with no Reading player able to get a decisive touch.