Reading race out of the traps to beat Millwall 2-1 at the Madjeski


Millwall suffered their first defeat under boss Gary Rowett as two first-half goals ensured Reading took all three points.

The Madjeski continued to be an unhappy hunting ground for Millwall as they slipped to their ninth loss in 12 matches at the stadium. Strikes from Jordan Obita and Sam Baldock gave the hosts a two goal cushion at the break.

But Millwall returned with renewed vigour after the interval and halved the deficit on the hour mark through Jed Wallace. It proved to be not enough as Reading clung on for the victory and made it three matches unbeaten.

Prior to kick-off, it was the battle of the unbeaten bosses as Mark Bowen welcomed Gary Rowett’s Millwall side to the Madjeski.

For the Lions, they were looking to improve upon their dismal away record against Reading. They had won just once in their previous 11 outings in Berkshire, losing eight of them.

With no wins on the road this campaign, things didn’t get any better for the visitors when Reading opened the scoring in the 10th minute.

Jordan Obita latched onto a second ball from Liam Moore’s long-throw to strike a half-volley past the outstretching Bartosz Bialkowski. It was an excellent first-time effort from the full-back, who had marked his return to the side with his first goal of the season.

The Royals came close to doubling their lead nine minutes later when a curling free-kick from John Swift rattled the crossbar. The near-miss wouldn’t dampen the Madjeski crowd though, who remained in full voice.

Meanwhile, Millwall were left struggling with Reading’s newly-found intensity under Mark Bowen.

Matt Miazga went close for the Royals just after the half-hour mark. His header called Bialkowski into action, who tipped the effort across the face of goal. Unfortunately for the Reading faithful, it went agonisingly wide of the post and adrift of any striped shirt.

Things went from bad to worse for Millwall as Sam Baldock got Reading’s second. It had been a long time coming for the hosts who were simply all over their counterparts.

Described by Liam Moore as “one of the best forwards in the league” prior to the fixture, the former West Ham and MK Dons man re-affirmed his reputation as a poacher with a ruthless strike. Baldock cut in from the left and fired a thunderous shot into the top-right corner.

The sound of Tony Harrington’s half-time whistle provided a welcome relief to a Millwall side who were on the ropes for the most part. If Gary Rowett was to remain unbeaten as Lions boss, his players would urgently need an injection of intensity.


Millwall were much the second best in the first 45 minutes – Photo: @MillwallFC/Twitter

In an attempt to quickly halve the deficit, Rowett made one change at the break. Forward Jon Dadi Bodvarsson, who was one of three former Reading players in the Millwall squad, entered the action.

On the hour, the Bermondsey outfit got the response they wanted. Winger Jed Wallace hustled and bustled his way into the box before striking a low effort past Rafael Cabral.

The injury to captain Liam Moore two minutes before the goal visibly disrupted Reading’s back-line. Moore’s usual left-sided channel was frequently being exploited as the visitors went in search of the leveller.

The pressure was beginning to tell as Sam Hutchinson had a header that went narrowly wide. The Millwall skipper rose highest but was unable to direct his attempt.

In the 88th minute, Millwall thought they had snatched it through Bodvarsson. The striker pounced onto a loose ball and attempted an acrobatic overhead kick. Cabral in the Reading goalmouth could only watch on as the strike went just past the post.

Despite the six minutes of additional time, Reading were able to hang on for a hard-fought victory. It was too little too late for Millwall, who suffer their first defeat under Gary Rowett.

Team Lineups:

Reading (5-3-2): Rafael; Yiadom, Moore (c) (Blackett 58′), Morrison, Miazga, Obita; Rinomhota, Swift, Ejaria; Puscas (Meite 75′), Baldock (Gomes 75′)

Unused substitutes: Walker, McIntyre, McCleary, Loader

Millwall (4-2-3-1): Bialkowski; Romeo, Hutchinson (c), Cooper, M. Wallace; Molumby, Williams (Mahoney 78′); J. Wallace, Thompson, Ferguson (Bodvarsson 45′); Bradshaw (Smith 78′)

Unused substitutes: Steele, McCarthy, Pearce, O’Brien


About Author

Football, Boxing and Cricket correspondent from Hampshire, covering southern sport. Editor and Head of Boxing at Prost International. Accreditated EFL & EPL journalist.

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