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Match Reports

Lions and Royals draw at The Den

Our report from SE16...

25 November 2020

Millwall played out a fourth consecutive draw in the Sky Bet Championship on Wednesday night as The Lions drew 1-1 with Reading.

Jed Wallace gave Millwall the lead in first-half stoppage-time through a sublime free-kick, but Lucas Joao equalised seven minutes into the second-half to ensure a share of the spoils.

Gary Rowett made two changes to the side which drew 1-1 with Cardiff City on Saturday afternoon, as Scott Malone and Troy Parrott - for his first Championship start - came in to the starting XI at the expense of the injured Mason Bennett and Matt Smith, who dropped to the bench; a place which Shane Ferguson returned to after missing the weekend's game through a back complaint.

The first effort of the evening went the way of Millwall, but Murray Wallace's right-footed effort was weak and easily gathered by Rafael Cabral. From there, The Lions dominated the ball in the early stages, but were unable to find a route through to goal - Ben Thompson's shot, which was blocked on the edge of the penalty area, the closest they came.

With 11 minutes on the clock, indecision between Murray Wallace and Jake Cooper led to a Reading free-kick, but that ended with Tom Holmes heading over at the back post. Millwall had a free-kick of their own two minutes later, but after Jed Wallace crossed, Cooper's header was saved.

Thompson's cross was blocked and a long-range Shaun Williams effort was stopped by Cabral as The Lions continued to push for the opening goal, but the next opportunity went the way of The Royals - Bartosz Bialkowski, however, was comfortable in saving Yakou Meite's effort.

Millwall's high press was causing the Reading defence problems, and The Royals had to scramble a couple of attempts away from goal as the game reached its half-hour point - with eight minutes to play until the break, a two-on-two situation presented itself as Jed Wallace broke away with the ball, but a lack of movement and decision-making in the final third ensured that the attack fizzled out.

On the stroke of half-time, The Lions were awarded a free-kick after Parrott was fouled - and that proved to be a pivotal moment, as Jed Wallace stepped up to strike home a delightful strike from around 20-25 yards out and open the scoring.

Seven minutes into the second-half, however, Reading were level after Joao snuck in behind his marker at the back post to fire under the legs of Bialkowski and into the net.

The Lions looked to respond instantly and nearly found a way to goal through Cooper, but the defender's powerful header from a Jed Wallace corner was saved by Cabral. The introduction of Jon Dadi Bodvarsson gave Millwall extra attacking impetus just after the hour-mark, and it was his shot that tested Cabral shortly after, with the goalkeeper tipping the ball over the bar.

At the other end, Ovie Ejaria sent a free-kick over Bialkowski's crossbar, before a golden chance went begging as substitute Matt Smith nodded across goal - Ryan Leonard heading over from close range.

Shaun Hutchinson's free-kick was headed towards goal by Cooper with two minutes remaining but Cabral claimed, before seconds into stoppage-time, good work from Bodvarsson down Millwall's right saw him cross for a sliding Jed Wallace, but his effort was stopped by the goalkeeper.

Reading could have won the game with the last kick, but Joao's shot went agonisingly past the far post.

Millwall: Bialkowski, M. Wallace, Hutchinson, Cooper, Williams, J. Wallace, Thompson (Smith 75'), Malone (Ferguson 75'), Leonard, Woods, Parrott (Bodvarsson 63'). Subs not used: Fielding, Pearce, Brown, Skalak, Burey, Muller.

Scorer: J. Wallace 45+1'

Booking: Cooper, Williams, Hutchinson, Leonard

Reading: Cabral, Richards, Morrison, Moore, Rinomhota, Meite (Baldock 90'), Ejaria, Joao, Laurent, Holmes, Semedo (Olise 46'). Subs not used: Walker, Esteves, Gibson, Aluko, Tetek, Watson, Onen.

Scorer: Joao 53'

Booking: Semedo, Morrison, Ejaria

Referee: Leigh Doughty


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