Full-time from The Den
But if anyone had questioned the desire, commitment and passion of Millwall's players they got their answer by the bucket-load as Ian Holloway's new-look side dug in and fought gallantly to secure what could prove to be the point and performance that, quite literally, turns this season.
Reading boss Steve Clarke also tinkered with his starting line-up, losing right-back Chris Gunter through injury with Stephen Kelly stepping in to fill the gap whilst Hal Robson-Kanu, on target against Cardiff City at the weekend, replaced Garath McCleary in the starting XI.
Having conceded two goals in the opening quarter of an hour in their last home match, The Lions understandably wanted to make a steady, solid start and that is exactly what they did as they enjoyed long spells of possession against a Reading side that offered little as an attacking threat early on.
The Lions carved out the first opening of the game when Diego Fabbrini - one of six players brought in by Holloway during January - curled a 20-yard free-kick straight into the hands of grateful Royals' keeper Adam Federici.
Reading finally mustered a couple of half-chances of their own with Pavel Pogrebnyak calling keeper David Forde into action to save his strike from 10 yards whilst Hal Robson-Kanu lost his bearings completely with a header that flew off target following a deep cross from Kelly.
However the momentum that Millwall had built up with a promising first-half performance looked to have been lost when Nelson was shown a straight red card for a late tackle on Hector leaving his team-mates to play out the second-half a man short.
Alan Dunne and Cowan-Hall came on for Magaye Gueye and Maierhofer - the former taking the captain's armband from Forde and the latter making his first appearance in a Lions shirt.
And the duo epitomised everything that was good about this team performance as The Lions prevented Reading from capitalising on their man-advantage during 45 minutes plus three minutes of injury-time.
Forde twice did well to parry efforts from Jordan Obita and Daniel Williams, but it was the home team who created the clearer of the scoring opportunities after the break.
Gregory sent a header from Fabbrini's inviting cross a whisker wide just before the hour-mark and then Hooiveld was denied a debut goal when his bullet header from Williams' deep inch-perfect free-kick was brilliantly tipped over the bar by Federici.
Cowan-Hall tried his luck from distance after picking up a huge clearance from Forde that was flicked into his path by Gregory. The keeper flung himself low to his left to superbly push Simon Cox's 86th-minute drive round the post for a corner to deny the Reading sub at the other end.
The Lions dug in one last time and despite facing a couple of late corners, the organisational qualities of Hooiveld and Dunne ensured that this was a defence not going to be breached as Millwall held firm for a well-deserved point.
Sending off: Nelson (45mins)
Booking: Mackie (84mins)
Ref: A Madley
Att: 8,317 (away 539)