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Match Reports

Jon the Dadi as Lions win Royals rumble

Our take from The Den

18 January 2020

Matt Smith and Jon Dadi Bodvarsson were on target as Millwall continued their fine home form with a 2-0 victory over Reading on Saturday afternoon.

In a battle of a Sky Bet Championship encounter, Smith struck in the 71st minute to open the scoring, before Bodvarsson netted his first League goal of the campaign just minutes after coming on to double the lead.

The Lions have now strung together four successive wins at home in all competitions.

Lions boss Gary Rowett made three changes from the side which drew 0-0 with Stoke City last Saturday; Smith, Shane Ferguson and Ryan Woods - for his debut - came in for Alex Pearce, Connor Mahoney and Shaun Williams, the latter beginning a three-match suspension.

With just four minutes played a sublime piece of skill from Jayson Molumby in the centre-circle began to fashion a chance, but the first cross of the afternoon was cleared by the Reading defence.

The Lions began the game in control of the ball, but the pendulum swung shortly after with The Royals taking hold of things - they were unable to muster a shot on goal, however, with Charlie Adam's attempt being blocked by Mahlon Romeo on nine minutes.

The right-back then found himself at the other end of the pitch just three minutes later, but his left-footed effort sailed over the crossbar, before Tom Bradshaw's grubber rolled into the arms of Reading goalkeeper Rafael Cabral.

Yakou Meite then had a shot blocked by the Millwall defence and Sam Baldock nodded just wide as the visitors upped the ante, with Bradshaw booked for simulation as the half reached the midway point.

A game that was swinging one way and then the other went the way of The Lions just before the half-hour mark, but after a succession of corners and free-kicks, the spell ended with Shaun Hutchinson glancing wide.

A frantic piece of play in the Reading penalty area then saw Cabral drop the ball before Hutchinson was barged to the floor, but the best opportunity of the game was to come - Bradshaw, however, headed straight at the goalkeeper from a few yards out.

The football remained fast and furious but chances were few and far between from there - that was until the 42nd minute when a Jake Cooper pass found Smith; he beat Cabral to the ball, but his header went wide of the post.

Deep into first-half stoppage-time a hopeful punt from Cabral looked to set Sam Baldock clear on goal, but an expert challenge from Murray Wallace kept Bartosz Bialkowski's sheet clean as the half-time whistle blew.

Bradshaw's cushioned header found Smith as the second-half got underway, but the striker's shot on the turn was deflected behind for a corner. Romeo then burst forward and fired towards goal from just outside the penalty area, but his shot ruffled the side-netting.

Murray Wallace's deflected shot then agonisingly trickled wide of the post as The Den's noise levels raised a few notches, with Bradshaw the next go have a go at goal, but his header went wide.

Romeo then found himself in a promising position once more but found his effort blocked, before a teasing cross into the box was poked wide by John Swift at the other end. Smith then had a shot saved by Cabral as the opportunities at both ends kept coming.

With 71 minutes played the deadlock was finally broken, as Smith struck from just inside the penalty area to beat Cabral and open the scoring.

The lead was almost doubled just a couple of minutes later as Molumby unleashed a vicious drive towards goal, but a deflection - unfortunately from a Millwall man in Smith - took the ball behind for a goal-kick.

Another lung-busting run by the impressive Romeo nearly saw Jed Wallace in the clear with 10 minutes remaining, with goalscorer Smith then leaving the pitch to a standing ovation not long after.

With eight minutes to go, the advantage was doubled as the ball was won back in the midfield and fed to Jed Wallace, who in turn fed substitute Bodvarsson to slide home his first League goal of the campaign.

Bradshaw then hit the crossbar and Jed Wallace fizzed an effort just over as The Lions were rampant and Reading were panicking in their attempts to get back into the game, with Mahoney and Reading substitute Garath McCleary seeing efforts hit the top tier in stoppage-time.

Billy Mitchell, meanwhile, made his home Championship debut in the dying embers of the game, replacing the impressive debutant Woods.

Millwall: Bialkowski, M. Wallace, Hutchinson, Cooper, J. Wallace, Bradshaw, Smith (Bodvarsson 79'), Ferguson (Mahoney 68'), Romeo, Molumby, Woods (Mitchell 90+2'). Subs not used: Fielding, Pearce, O'Brien, Skalak.

Scorer: Smith 71', Bodvarsson 82'

Booking: Bradshaw

Reading: Cabral, Gunter, Morrison, Moore, Baldock (Puscas 58'), Swift, Ejaria, Meite, Blackett, Adam (Obita 58'), Gomes (McCleary 75'). Subs not used: Walker, Miazga, Rinomhota, McIntyre.

Booking: Adam, Ejaria, Morrison

Referee: Keith Stroud

Attendance: 14,011 (1,606)

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