Reading FC Match Report: 2013/2014 Season - Championship


READING 1 MILLWALL 1

Reading: S Morrison (9).
Millwall: L Trotter (90, pen).

It was a disappointing end to a disappointing game. Reading, a goal up, and with the benefit of an extra man, somehow allowed a spirited Millwall side snatch a point from the penalty spot in stoppage time. Although The Royals’ performance hardly merited three points, dropping two points under such circumstances is unforgiveable. Reading will draw some consolation from retaining their unbeaten home record and moving up to fifth place courtesy of a surprising away defeat for Forest at Yeovil. Millwall fresh from a draw against QPR were clearly no pushover, which makes the apparent complacency following Morrison’s early goal even more galling.

The visitors were intent on taking something from this game to the point of time-wasting from a goal kick as early as the third minute. It took an outstanding tackle by Bridge to deprive Millwall of an early lead. A crude late challenge on Gunter presented Obita with the opportunity to deliver a free kick into the box from a wide position which Morrison met perfectly to guide past Forde to put Reading ahead in the ninth minute. In the opening minutes Le Fondre was getting the better of the lumbering Shittu in the air and on the ground and then found Pogrebnyak with a superb ball from deep in his own half. It looked promising for Reading. However Reading gradually eased off and Millwall began to take control of midfield. McDonald was looking very sharp and making the Reading back four work hard. Reading produced a late flurry as half time approached. Pearce made room for a shot and might have added a second goal. The half ended bizarrely as referee Phillips signalled half time as the ball was in the air from the corner. Although he got the big decisions right, he missed an significant number of little, but crucial pushes and shoves from which Millwall benefited overall.

Millwall were out early for the second half for a brief aerobics routine on the half way line. I doubt it had much impact on the players’ performance but it did signal intent. A brilliant run by Obita took him past three lunging defenders to set up Le Fondre in the six yard box. Sadly the resulting attempt rebounded back from the inside of the post. It was ultimately a key moment in the game. Millwall immediately broke through and Federici had to save with his right boot when a goal looked likely. Millwall’s tails were up and they were winning all the fifty- fifty challenges. Shittu had the ball in the net from close range but the referee’s assistant raised his flag and the goal did not stand. Shittu disagreed and received a yellow card for sharing his opinion with the referee. Eventually the game settled down again and Adkins (as he did last week) replaced Le Fondre and Obita with McAnuff and Robson-Kanu. The impact was not as great this week. Reading seemed to be edging towards victory, and when a very clumsy challenge by Abdou on McAnuff resulted in a red card, it seemed all over. Not so. Millwall had other ideas. With nothing to lose they pressed forward and McDonald, who had been a thorn in Reading’s side all afternoon, raced through, drawing Federici off his line to win a penalty in stoppage time. Trotter made no mistake and converted convincingly before heading off to celebrate in front of the fans who do not care about nobody liking them.

There were too many flaws in this Reading performance. Mis-hit passes and shots dragged wide were common, and in the second half Guthrie, Bridge and McCleary were all guilty of running into trouble when breaking out of defence instead of looking to for a pass to retain possession. As a result Millwall were able to keep Reading on the back foot. After such a good win last week, and such a good start to the game, the result left the home fans feeling very deflated.
John Wells

This Championship game took place 1638 days ago in the 2013/2014 season.