Date: 4th February 2018 at 9:23am
Written by:

PurleyLion on Reading 0-2 Millwall

Like London buses, Millwalll have waited all season for an away win, then 2 have come in succession as the rampant Lions coasted home to a 2-0 victory against an abysmal Reading team who’s performance will probably lead to manager Jaap Stam ‘being sacked in the morning’.

Back of the away trail after an enforced absence and moderately optimistic our away fortunes have turned the corner and we can return to The Den with 3 points.

The awful weather encountered on the M4 had relented and, with the pitch in decent nick, hopefully a good game in prospect.

The line-up is the 11 that started on Tuesday except with Steve and Fred replacing Tom and Fergie respectively. Shackell and Marshall on the bench but no Toffollo.

Shooting practice is the best I’ve seen this season with the majority hitting the net. Every shot Marshall takes swerves awkwardly before hitting the target, hopefully a good omen for the rest of the season and have we found somebody who can score from free-kicks?

Game underway with Reading playing 3-5-2 and more direct than they did at The Den.

Quiet start with us pressing higher up the pitch than normal and Reading look poor. We mount pressure without looking dangerous until Morison intercepts in their half and puts Gregory away. His first touch, as he enters the box, is a little heavy and an outstretched leg clears.

The Referee seems out of his depth giving a free-kick to Reading, when Saville was taken out, and 20 secs later a free-kick to us after Wallace committed a foul!

Fred is on fire revelling in the space left by the Reading right wing back. He goes on several tricky runs with the ball glued to his laces only to be halted by a foul. But the Fred highlight for me was when he was shepherding the ball out of play for a goal kick to us and used an old-fashion shoulder charge to dump their player on his backside and win us the goal-kick

We were some way into the half before Gregory, under pressure, puts our 1st decent chance over the bar after an intricate move involving Fred, Morison and Wallace’s lay-back.

They are creating nothing until Hutch presents Archer with an awkward bouncing back pass that Jordan, instead of clearing 1st time, tries to control and is closed down causing his clearance to be blocked before ricocheting safely into touch.

We create several half chances but fail to find the net until Cooper’s head back is buried by Gregory only to be cancelled out by the lino’s offside flag.

Fred sets off on an electric run leaving several Reading players floundering in his wake before they scramble the ball clear. Ten seconds later Barrow has gone round McLaughlin and Hutch into our box, fortunately his cross flashes through our 6-yard box without anybody getting a touch.

We continue to have the best of the game without creating that gilt-edged chance that can be tucked away.

H-T 0-0. I don’t think they have had a single effort at goal and Archer hasn’t had a save to make. If we can continue to play as we have in the 1st half but with more composure, we will win this. My only concern is Reading can’t play as badly again in the 2nd half, can they? Also, Barrow looks really dangerous and if we don’t get to grips with him we could come unstuck.

Second half underway and my worst fear is coming to fruition. Reading are giving more of the ball to Barrow who is unplayable and giving our players a nightmare, especially McLaughlin who has to tread carefully because he was booked in the first half.

Gregory catches Blackett in possession, breaks, squares to Morison whose effort is blocked. Close but no cigar!

Wallace is booked after getting caught in possession. Not his best game.

Fifty-six minutes and Archer makes his 1st save from a tame Kermorgant header.

Barrow waltzes pass four of our players and his shot/cross is deflected for a corner. We really have to get to grips with this guy!

Fred embarks on another mazy run only to be scythed down. Free-kick but no card, this ref is poor. Nothing new there! Saville’s free-kick is headed off the line as we enter a productive 5 minutes where a Wallace header and Morison shot is saved without threatening Mannone.

McLaughlin is replaced by Romeo (correct decision) and who, almost immediately, scores with a deflected shot after Morison, Gregory and Wallace had freed him to fire home from the left side of their box. No more than we deserve.

Two minutes later and the game is put out of Reading’s reach when Morison, not for the first time, dispossesses one of their CDs, advances and crosses. Gregory gets to the ball first taking out the other CD and Mannone before slotting home from an acute angle. Looked a very good goal to me but it must have had an element of luck because the final pass to Lee wasn’t made by Wallace

We played out time and emerged comfortable winners and I believe have sealed Jaap Stam fate.

F-T 0-2. A comprehensive victory against a team that had gone backwards since they played us at The Den early this season. 3 points away from home, 2 goals and another shut-out but must be put into context, Reading were abysmal!