Injury time penalty punishes lacklustre Royals
Saturday 26th October 2013
A lacklustre Reading side conceded a last minute penalty to Millwall to surrender two points at the Madejski Stadium this afternoon.
Nigel Adkins named an unchanged line up for this game, the first time he has done so in his Royals managerial career, meaning that Alex McCarthy, Billy Sharp, Royston Drenthe and Danny Williams were still on the treatment table. It was a very confident start last week against Doncaster and this one followed suit, as the home side were doing most of the early pressing.
The opening goal came just before the ten minute mark, as Chris Gunter went on a surge down the right wing, but was sieved down by Nicky Bailey. From the resulting free kick, Jordan Obita swung it in perfectly for the 6`4 frame of defender Sean Morrison, to nod home for his first goal of the season. The visitors couldn`t seem to get their game together.
Reading continued to have good possession of the ball, but the Lions defence was standing firm. Steve Lomas` side improved as the game went on and their extra man in midfield was proving profitable to breaking down Reading`s play and forcing them into a very direct style. Despite this effect style from the away side, they were struggling to make clear cut opportunities.
The last chance of the half did however fall to the Royals, as another Obita set piece caused trouble. Millwall failed to clear the ball effectively in their own box and the ball fell kindly to the feet of Alex Pearce, but couldn`t sort his feet out in time and his effort from ten yards was well-blocked. It was a half of few chances, mainly in the home sides favour, but Millwall were standing firm.
Into the second half, there were two very early chances, one for each side. Firstly, Jordan Obita`s superb individual run gave him space to deliver a low ball into the six-yard box and somehow, Adam Le Fondre failed to score from two yards out, as his connection hit the inside of the post. On the break, Millwall went up the other end and Scott McDonald was slipped through, but was smothered well by Federici.
Reading were not looking the same side that beat Doncaster 4-1 last week and Pogrebnyak tried an effort from long-range, but went harmlessly wide of the post. Then was to come the game`s controversy, as Danny Shittu had a goal disallowed for offside by the linesman, much to the annoyance and frustration of the defender and his teammates.
The next chance would fall to Reading, as the lively Obita smashed an effort into the side netting, after McCleary`s low ball caught the Lions defence flat-footed. Substitute Hal Robson-Kanu then forced David Forde into a good save minutes later, with a well-hit twenty yard effort. Captain Jobi McAnuff was next to try his luck after neat interchange on the left wing, but his effort was drilled into the side netting.
The visitors were then reduced to ten men with just five minutes to go, as Jimmy Abdou was dismissed for a second booking, following a rash challenge on McAnuff. This wouldn`t stop Millwall pushing for an equaliser though and came within inches of doing so, as Feeney`s dangerous cross was met by Steve Morison, but his header luckily drifted just wide of Federici`s post.
Into injury time, the Royals were dealt a cruel blow, as the Lions were awarded a late penalty. A deep cross into the area fell for Scott McDonald, whose touch took him ahead of Federici, who brought down his fellow Australian, with the linesman waving furiously for a penalty kick. Liam Trotter was the man who stepped up to give the Lions a deserved point from the game.
Both sides were pushing to win it in the final stages of injury time, but to no avail. It was a frustrating result, even though we probably didn`t deserve to win. We didn`t keep hold of the well enough and we needed to take our chances in the second period to have killed the game off. The point still takes us up a place though - we have to try and take some positives from this!
Reading - 4-4-2: Federici, Gunter, Morrison (c), Pearce, Bridge, Baird, Guthrie, Obita, McCleary, Pogrebnyak, Le Fondre
Subs: S Taylor, Kelly, Gorkss, Akpan, Robson-Kanu, McAnuff, Blackman
Millwall - 4-5-1: Forde; Connolly, Robinson, Shittu, Malone; Abdou, Bailey; Waghorn, Trotter, Woolford; McDonald
Subs: Bywater, Lowry, Smith, Derry, Feeney, Easter, Morison