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16:59 3th March 2012

Royals bounce back to beat Lions

Millwall 1 (Keogh 16)
Reading 2 (Robson-Kanu 45, Le Fondre 76)

The Royals came from behind to earn their sixth successive league win and close the gap on the top two this afternoon - thanks to goals from Hal Robson-Kanu and Adam Le Fondre.

The hosts took the lead in the 16th minute, Andy Keogh springing the offside trap to run onto Harry Kane's throughball and coolly slot past Federici for the opener - the first goal Brian McDermott's men had conceded in 490 minutes of football.

But Brian McDermott's men were level on the stroke of half time. Ian Harte's inswinging corner was aimed at Gorkss but half headed clear by a Millwall defender, only to see Hal Robson-Kanu hook a simply sublime left-footed volley through a crowded box and past Lions keeper David Forde before he could catch a glimpse.

And McDermott worked his magic with yet another goalscoring substitution that changed the game. Jason Roberts chased after a ball down the right and Adam Le Fondre sped into the box to sidefoot home his strike partner's low centre with aplomb.

Millwall (4-4-2): Forde; Lowry, Craig, Dunne, Robinson (c); Abdou, Wright, Bouazza (Feeney 73), Henry (Mason 84); Kane (N'Guessan 80), Keogh.
Subs: Allsop, Ward.
Yellow: Henry

Reading (4-4-2): Federici; Connolly (Tabb HT), Harte, Gorkss, Pearce; Karacan, Leigertwood, Robson-Kanu, McAnuff; Hunt (Le Fondre 65), Roberts.
Subs: Andersen, Cywka, Church.
Yellow: Pearce

Referee: Mr C Sarginson
Attendance: 11,271 (1,489 away)

Starting XI team news:
Brian McDermott was forced to make one change to the side that beat Middlesbrough the previous weekend, Hal Robson-Kanu replacing the injured Jimmy Kebe on the wing. No place for ex-Royals Academy graduate Darius Henderson this afternoon, he missed out for Millwall.

First half:
With a deafening away support full behind them, it was Reading who carved out the first chance of the game after six minutes. The ball was threaded through to Roberts, who shot first time from the edge of the box, but a Millwall foot deflected the striker's low drive wide.

But the first goal was scored by the hosts. Andy Keogh beat the offside trap to latch onto a Harry Kane ball threaded through the Royals' back line and calmly pass the ball wide of the onrushing Adam Federici and low into the bottom corner.

Minutes later, Hameur Bouazza forced Federici in a sharp save at his near post. A heavy touch took the lively winger a little wide but instead of crossing he whipped in a fierce shot that Federici had to be alive to.

As Reading pressed for an equaliser, the game got fiery with some meaty challenges flying in from both sides, and Kaspars Gorkss had to receive some treatment for a blood injury on the half hour mark.

Five minutes before the break, Noel Hunt was bundled over 22 yards out and Ian Harte's left foot curled a free kick over the Lions wall and inches over the crossbar.

But before the break, Reading had their equaliser. Ian Harte's deep inswinging free kick fell to Hal Robson-Kanu, who caught the ball sweetly on the volley to hook a superb effort high into the Lions net.

Second half
Matthew Connolly was replaced by Jay Tabb at half time, with Jem Karacan moving to the right back position. And Millwall came out of the blocks fast, Henry running at the back line to earn Alex Pearce a booking before Hameur Bouazza arced a free kick over the bar from 25 yards.

Kane came close to connecting with a Henry inswinging free kick but missed his header in front of goal just after the hour, and Josh Wright drove just wide from distance soon after.

McDermott introduced Adam Le Fondre for Hunt up front and the substitute made his impact with 14 minutes left on the clock. Roberts scampered after a Leigertwood ball down the right and Millwall defenders hesitated expecting Le Fondre to be flagged for offside in the middle.

But, with Alfie not directly interfering, Roberts was allowed to race down the wing and find his fellow striker with a low cross. Alfie made no mistake from six yards and the Royals had the lead.

Some resolute defending from Gorkss and Pearce held at bay Millwall's efforts to get back into the fixture, Andy Keogh coming closest with a right-footed drive from 22 yards that fizzed just wide.

In the first of four minutes of injury time Federici had to quite comfortably save a Tony Craig header from close range, but Reading held on to close the gap on the top two.
    Data provided by Press Association