Reading 1 Millwall 0

By Footymad Previewer
Last updated : 15 November 2003

John Salako rolled back the years to send Reading back into the first division's top-six as the Royals saw off Millwall at the Madejski Stadium.

The veteran winger scored the only goal of the game - with the aid of a substantial deflection - to secure Steve Coppell a sixth win in eight games as Reading manager.

The latest win in the impressive sequence was fully deserved as the experienced Coppell comfortably won the tactical battle with Millwall's rookie boss Dennis Wise, in his first game since being confirmed as Lions player-manager.

But it took a major slice of good fortune for Reading's dominance to pay dividends.

There was no faulting the build-up which led to Reading's 24th-minute opener, as incisive passes from Shaun Goater and Steve Sidwell carved Millwall open and left Salako with a clear sight of goal from the edge of the penalty area.

Salako's side-foot shot was crisp and on target, but would probably have been easily covered by Millwall keeper Tony Warner, but for a wicked bounce off his captain, Kevin Muscat.

That proved enough to clinch all three points for Reading - and spared the blushes of midfielder Andy Hughes.

Hughes had wasted the chance to settle any early home nerves when he blasted a penalty against the legs of Warner, after Robbie Ryan had crudely ended Nicky Shorey's progress into the penalty area.

Reading had several chances to make sure of victory, especially in the early stages of the second half when Salako, Shorey and Goater all saw efforts fly wide.

But Millwall had their moments, notably a stunning left-foot volley from the dangerous Paul Ifill that flew just off target after only 12 minutes.

And when Wise's side pushed forward late on in a bid to capitalise on Reading's failure to make the points safe, they were nearly rewarded with a bizarre equaliser as substitute Andy Roberts saw a cross flirt with the goalline before creeping wide of the far post.

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