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Match Reports

Away day woe as Lions lose to Royals

Our report from the Madejski...

20 October 2018

Yakou Meite's brace sandwiched Sam Baldock's penalty-kick as Reading defeated Millwall 3-1 in the Sky Bet Championship on Saturday afternoon at the Madejski Stadium.

The Lions had The Royals camped in their own half for large periods of the game, but due to a combination of poor finishing and outstanding goalkeeping from Anssi Jaakkola, Murray Wallace's goal proved to be no more than consolation on an afternoon where Neil Harris' side should have had so much more, registering 24 shots on goal.

Harris decided to keep his starting XI unchanged from the 2-1 win over Aston Villa, whilst Shaun Hutchinson made his return to first team action on the substitutes' bench in place of Byron Webster.

The Lions started brightly and intelligent running from Lee Gregory nearly set up an opening shot on goal just five minutes in, but the striker's cutback was cleared away.

Neat play from Shane Ferguson allowed Jed Wallace to have the first attempt of the afternoon in the 11th minute, but Reading goalkeeper Anssi Jaakkola stood tall to deflect the ball behind. Gregory headed the resulting corner-kick on to the roof of the net.

Millwall were keeping possession well and another opportunity presented itself on 13 minutes as Jed Wallace crossed for Gregory, but his effort was blocked for a corner. The pressure continued to show, with James Meredith crossing for Tom Elliott moments later, however the ball was again headed behind.

If not for some heroic goalkeeping by Jaakkola, the lead would have been taken by The Lions on 16 minutes as Jake Cooper guided a header towards goal - incredibly, though, the stopper clawed his way across goal to tip the ball away from the net. Murray Wallace then tested Jaakkola with a header at the far post as Millwall remained heavily in control of affairs.

However, as football so often dictates, it was Reading who came closest to taking the lead with their first shot on 22 minutes. The ball struck the post and rebounded into the path of Liam Kelly, who seemingly had the easiest of tasks in firing past Ben Amos. Romeo, however, had other ideas and expertly blocked the effort, with the ball looping up into the arms of a grateful Amos.

Gregory and Elliott then guided headers towards goal as an eventful first half reached its midway point, but on 28 minutes Reading took the lead, as Meite's glancing header beat Amos at the far post.

Despite that, Millwall kept attacking and again could have scored on 33 minutes, but Jaakkola was equal to Gregory's effort. From the corner that followed, however, the goal finally came - and it was Murray Wallace finding space inside the six-yard box to fire the ball home.

Kelly volleyed wide for The Royals as the first half began to reach its conclusion, but one minute before the half-time break, the home side were awarded a penalty after Mahlon Romeo was ruled to have committed a foul on Tyler Blackett inside the area. Baldock stepped up and confidently placed the spot-kick past Amos.

Just like the first half, The Lions started the second on top and nearly found another equaliser on 50 minutes, but Elliott smacked a header against the crossbar. Calls for a Millwall penalty by the large travelling support behind the goal went unnoticed shortly after, with Elliott this time directing a header wide seconds later.

Meite broke away behind the Millwall defence with 54 minutes on the clock, but Amos spread himself to deny the attacker with his chest.

A flurry of bodies fell to the ground inside the area on 69 minutes amidst penalty claims, but play continued for Jed Wallace to cross for an awaiting Ferguson at the back post, who stung the palms of the impressive Jaakkola.

On 72 minutes a clever passing move from Jed Wallace and Romeo teed up Elliott, but he sent his effort into the Lions fans behind the goal. Five minutes later the striker had another chance, this time from a corner, but headed wide.

The last 10 minutes began with Reading unable to get out of their own half, such was the pressure being applied by Millwall, with Ferguson's deflected shot being tipped wide by Jaakkola, before a header hit the crossbar for the second time.

It wasn't to be for The Lions, though, as Meite headed home, completely unmarked, for Reading's third four minutes from time.

Reading: Jaakkola, Yiadom, Moore, Bacuna, Baldock (Rinomhota 79'), Swift, McCLeary (Gunter 74'), Ilori, Meite, Blackett, Kelly (McNulty 84'). Subs not used: Meyler, Aluko, Sims, Legg.

Booking: Rinomhota

Scorer: Meite 28' 86', Baldock 45' pen

Millwall: Amos, Meredith (O'Brien 69'), Cooper, Williams, J. Wallace, Gregory, Ferguson, Romeo, Elliott (Morison 77'), M. Wallace, Leonard (Bradshaw 84'). Subs not used: Archer, Hutchinson, Tunnicliffe, Skalak.

Booking: Romeo, Cooper

Scorer: M. Wallace 34'

Referee: Mr D. Webb

Attendance: 14,532 (1,831)

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