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08:18 1st February 2014

Three-sy does it!

Millwall 0 
Reading 3 (Pogrebnyak 39, Pearce 72, Williams 75) 

The Royals' were in red hot goalscoring form once more as they fired three goals past Millwall's Stephen Bywater to comprehensively win a scrappy affair at a windy New Den this afternoon. 

It was Bywater at fault for the first, failing to cleanly gather a Chris Gunter up and under and Pavel Pogrebnyak was first to react, rounding the last man and smashing home to give Reading a half time lead they were well worthy of. 

At the back, Reading never looked like relinquishing that lead, and although Bywater made amends with a stunning save to claw a Pogrebnyak header off his line, he could do nothing to stop Alex Pearce hammering home the loose ball to double the visitors' advantage. 

More than 1,000 away fans were enjoying a great afternoon, which only got better when three minutes later Danny Williams scored his first for the club, passing a half-volley into the bottom corner to put the game to bed. 

It could have been more, McAnuff, Williams and Blackman all coming close to adding to the tally, but a 3-0 victory handed Reading three valuable away points to the visitors - the fourth win in five for Adkins' side. 

Millwall: Bywater, Fredericks, Shittu (c), Wright (Easter 58), Beevers (Marquis 70), Williams, Malone, Feeney (Martin 58), Woolford, Morison, Campbell.
Subs: Gerrar, Dunne, Robinson, Abdou. 
Yellow: Campbell, Williams

Reading: McCarthy, Gunter, Obita, Gorkss, Pearce, Akpan (J Taylor 33), Williams, McCleary, McAnuff (c), Le Fondre (Robson-Kanu 78), Pogrebnyak (Blackman 82).  
Subs: Federici, Kelly, Hector, Drenthe. 
Yellow: Pearce, Pogrebnyak

Referee: Mr D Sheldrake

A quite exceptional save from Alex McCarthy prevented the Royals from falling behind in the opening five minutes, DJ Campbell powerfully hooking an effort on target from 12 yards out and McCarthy reacting instinctively to parry it, having only second earlier punched the ball clear of his penalty box. 

At the other end, Jobi scuffed a low effort across the Millwall goal and inches wide before Williams struck an effort from distance that never packed enough punch to trouble Stephen Bywater. 

The opening throes were high tempo to say the least and Steve Morison came close to hooking home a half-cleared corner, sweeping the dropping ball just over the crossbar to Reading's relief. 

A quarter of an hour played and there was no let up in the pace of the game. Pavel Pogrebnyak was found in space by Williams and he tumbled over a couple of Lions defenders inside the Millwall box, but no penalty was awarded. 

Moments later, McAnuff won a free kick which Bywater had to push wide, Jordan Obita placing the set piece past the Millwall wall and towards the bottom right corner of the goal only for the home captain to turn it behind for a corner. 

McCleary and Le Fondre have linked up beautifully in recent weeks and the two almost combined to break the deadlock on the half hour mark. McCleary's jinking run ending in a ball into Alfie, who scuttled towards goal and lashed an effort wide of the right post. 

And five minutes before the interval, the Royals took the lead. A hopeful up and under from Gunter was spilled by Bywater under pressure from Le Fondre and the ball fell to the feet of Pogrebnyak, who coolly stepped inside the last defender and smashed it into the gaping net with his left foot. 

Before the break, the Royals could have had a second, breaking at pace down the middle and in numbers, but Jobi McAnuff was cynically scythed down before the visitors could take advantage and Shaun Williams was cautioned as a result. 

And Le Fondre came within a whisker of doubling the advantage when the overlapping Obita crossed dangerously into the near post and Alfie was inches away from connecting and heading it home.


Early in the second half, Williams almost threaded a ball through the Millwall back line looking for Le Fondre, but Shittu lunged in to intercept it before the ball found its way to Alfie's feet. 

At the other end, Liam Feeney wriggled free of Jordan Obita and Alex McCarthy had to save low from the Lions midfielder as he pulled the trigger from 15 yards out. 

Jobi McAnuff had the ball in the back of the net ten minutes into the second half, but as he scurried onto a Le Fondre knock down, the referee awarded a free kick to Millwall for an aerial foul by Alfie and Jobi's backheel home was ruled out.

Ian Holloway made three substitutions, the last of which saw him replace a centre half with a forward, but Reading doubled their advantage at the perfect time. 

McAnuff's deep corner found the head of McCleary, who nodded it back into the six yard box. Pogrebnyak rose and glanced it towards goal only for Bywater to make a stunning reaction point blank save. But the ball fell loose and Alex Pearce smashed a right-footed swipe over the line to celebrate with the 1,000 strong away fans behind the goal. 

Three minutes later, it was 3-0. McAnuff scurried away down the left flank, centred it to Williams on the edge of the box and the US international took a touch onto his right boot and shot. The ball ricocheted up off a Millwall defender's leg and into the air, but Williams was alert to it and scampered onto the dropping ball to half-volley it wide of Bywater and inside the right post to score his first goal in English football. 

Jobi McAnuff almost made it four, latching onto the ball after good work inside the box from Pogrebnyak and Robson-Kanu but finding Bywater's body with his right-footed effort at goal. 

And still the Royals wanted more. A clearance cannonned off Jake Taylor and into the feet of Williams, who pivoted on the spot and passed the ball goalwards, but Bywater was again equal to it. 

McCarthy had to save a late Shaun Williams free kick but Blackman came within inches of making it four in injury time and, in truth, Reading were fully deserving of their 3-0 lead and all three points.