Royals Rack Up Another Win

By Rob Cooper
Last updated : 02 November 2002

Another good Reading performance saw them strengthen their ever-improving league position and move up closer to the play-off places in their noon kick off at the Madejski Stadium.

Forster, who has been in fine form in recent weeks, opened the scoring in the sixth minute, heading home James Harper's cross after Millwall shotstopper Tony Warner flapped.

Despite pressure from Lions it looked as if Fozzy's strike would be enough to give the Royals all three points. However, Andy Hughes added a second in stoppage time to wrap up the points.

After the match one passer by commented "Millwall aren't the team they were two years ago," but then neither are the Royals.

At the back Matthew Upson was immense and had arguably his finest game in a Royals shirt.

John Madejski must do his utmost to keep the Arsenal star at the club when his loan deal comes to an end next month but with a whole host of Premiership clubs watching him our chances of retaining his services appear slim.

Forster was the first to wake up for the early kick-off, the former Gillingham man used his electric pace to twice race through Millwall's defence in the opening five minutes only to be stopped in his tracks by the alert Tony Warner.

Unfortunately for the visitors Warner wasn't as alert at the third time of asking. The former Liverpool man rushed out to catch Harper's cross only to be beaten to the ball by Forster who nodded his fifth goal of the season.

Reading continued to come forward and threatened to add to their lead on a number of occasions.

James Harper had a snapshot from the edge of the box saved whilst the bald-headed Warner did fantastically well to tip Fozzy's venomous header onto the crossbar.

As the half went on the Lions got themselves into the game a little with some threatening play that lacked a killer pass to open up the resolute Royals defence.

Thirty-six-year-old Steve Claridge was the visitors main attacking threat, twice heading wide of Marcus Hahnemann's goal.

Forster went close again at the other end of the pitch. Pinging a shot narrowly wide from forty-yards with Warner out of his goal and stranded.

Millwall boss Mark McGhee had some strong words to say to his side at half-time, perhaps not as strong as the language used by Reading fans to describe the hero that has fallen so dramatically from grace but nethertheless his words appeared to have the desired affect.

An improved Millwall side could have fallen further behind but for the inaccuracy of efforts from Nicky Forster and James Harper. Twinkle-toed former Arsenal trainee Harper again caught the eye with some good attacking play.

As the game entered its last twenty minutes the visitors made a late push for an equaliser, McGhee throwing Christophe Kinet and former Blackburn striker Kevin Davies into the fray.

Ricky Newman was on hand to head a seventy-third minute flick header off the line a minute before Dennis Wise forced Hahnemann into a great save, turning away the ex-Chelsea star's eight yard drive.

Andy Hughes condemned McGhee's side to another defeat with his stoppage time strike. John Salako squared the ball for the 24-year-old who whipped in a low rasping shot from twenty yards.

The fans were delighted with the result and will hope for another three points at Gillingham next weekend.

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