Stalemate at Millmoor

Last updated : 07 September 2002 By Rob Cooper
Butler had an effort cleared off the line
Butler had an effort cleared off the line
The Royals kept up their unbeaten record but will look back on missed chances that could have bagged them all three points at Millmoor in the early 1pm Saturday afternoon kick-off.

Reading have now taken seven points from their last three games.

New loan signing Matthew Upson came off the bench to make his debut, he was unable to displace Adie Williams or John Mackie in the starting line-up.

The only change from last Saturday's 2-0 win at Walsall saw Ricky Newman come into the team after almost 18 months out through injury, he replaced Graeme Murty who was involved in a car crash earlier in the week.

The Millers had the better of the first half and probably should have capitalised on some dodgy goalkeeping from Marcus Hahnemann, in the first half he seemed incapable of claiming a cross.

Excluding Kevin Watson's shot from twenty-five yards which was blocked the best chance for the Royals fell to Nicky Forster.

The burley striker, who has played on the right-wing in recent matches, burst forward fifty yards with the ball at his feet. After his run appeared to be blocked the former England Under 21 international managed to get a fizzing shot away that pinged against the cross bar.

Darren Byfield, scorer of the 2001 Play-Off Final winner against Reading, dances round Mackie
Darren Byfield, scorer of the 2001 Play-Off Final winner against Reading, dances round Mackie
Jamie Cureton had Reading's only other effort of the first half. A twenty-yard free kick on the stroke of half-time was comfortably saved by Millers goalkeeper Mike Pollitt.

At the other end Marcus Hahnemann did well to block close range headers from Alan Lee and Chris Sedgewick.

The home side went closest to opening the scoring in the first period, John Mackie had to clear off the line when Hahnemann flapped at a cross.

Early in the second half a low-cross from Jamie Cureton reaked havoc in the Millers area, Pollitt failed to gather it and Butler was inches away from steering it in. The ball was played back into the box for Watson who somehow managed to blast wide of an open goal from six yards.

The Royals piled on the pressure, Martin Butler burst through, took it round the 'keeper but from a narrow angle had his effort cleared off the line by Paul Hurst.

Rougier came on and put in a good performance. He almost managed to break the deadlock but Pollitt managed to keep Rouge's effort out with his foot. John Salako had a shot cleared off the line minutes later, it just proved to be one of those days.

Mark Robins and Alan Lee had chances for the home side but it remained a 0-0 stalemate.