Reading 3 (Mackie 30, Cox 56, 64) Rotherham 0
- Mackie scores his first Royals goal
- Norwood's free kick hits crossbar
- Cox drives home a second on the hour
- Cox hooks home his 7th of the season for 3-0
Livewire Jamie Mackie opened his Royals account to break the deadlock, swivelling on a half-intercepted Stephen Kelly cross to arc inside the left post with a nice left-footed finish on the half hour.
After Oliver Norwood had struck the crossbar with a free kick on the stroke of half-time, Simon Cox doubled the Royals' lead early after the restart following more good work from Mackie to set him up for a low driven finish.
And Cox added another when he controlled Norwood's pass and then brilliantly hooked past Collin to make it 3-0. Mackie and Hector came close to increasing the lead but Reading were in cruise control and made sure of their clean sheet ahead of this weekend's meeting with Charlton.
Reading: Federici, Kelly, Gunter (C), Pearce, Ferdinand (Hector HT), Williams (Akpan 67), Norwood, Obita, Mackie, Cox (Taylor 90), Murray
Subs: Andersen, Cooper, Blackman, Robson-Kanu
Yellow: Akpan, Gunter
Rotherham: Collin, Skarz (Broadfoot 67), Richardson, Morgan (c), Smallwood, Arnason (Milsom 76), Frecklington (Bowery 67), Green, Pringle, Derbyshire, Revell.
Subs: Loach, Swift, Taylor, Clarke-Harris.
Referee: Mr A Woolmer
Attendance: 13,775 (342 away)
A tepid start saw little goalmouth action in the opening ten minutes, corners wasted at either end before Jordan Obita swung a nice cross in that was just too far in front of Glenn Murray scuttling into the Rotherham box.
Paul Green managed to provide a good ball from the right that Alex Revell got his head to at the near post but it floated harmlessly down for Federici to smother.
Moments later, Federici had to save a long range effort from midfield after he had spilled a cross from Paul Green in colliding with one of his back line when he came to gather the ball.
And the visitors were looking the more dangerous, Lee Frecklington bursting into the box to race onto a flick on from Revell but his cushioned header was easy for Federici to gather as Frecklington was muscled off his stride.
Adam Collin had to act fast to palm a Glenn Murray cross over his bar but the opening half an hour had been a somewhat uneventful affair...until the Royals broke the deadlock.
Stephen Kelly found himself in space down the right and delivered a low cross that was only half intercepted. Jamie Mackie retrieved it quickly and turned and shot in one fluid motion to bend a left-footed effort inside the left post for 1-0.
It was almost 2-0 minutes later, Glenn Murray doing enough with a header to an outswinging cross from the right side to allow the ball to drop loose to Cox, who arrowed a good first time half volley goalwards only for Colin to parry it behind.
Mackie was back defending a short corner with a vital clearing header at the far post, after hesitation between Gunter and Ferdinand had handed Steve Evans' men the set piece.
Accustomed to seeing Gunter fly forward down the right, the Royals skipper got away down the left and glided into the box, teeing up Murray in a difficult position when the shot looked on for Gunter himself. Murray tried to feed Gunter once more but Arnason got back to bully him off the ball and scrap the ball away.
Reading were growing as a force though and the lively Mackie beat two and unleashed a low effort angled across Collin's body that the United keeper did very well to palm to safety and behind for a corner.
Murray then got the better of Moore and was powering towards the box only for captain Craig Morgan to cynically pull him back. Morgan went into the book and Norwood came within a whisker of doubling the Royals' advantage, superbly sweeping the set piece past Collin and against the underside of the crossbar.
Anton Ferdinand's Royals debut only lasted 45 minutes, Michael Hector replacing him at the back for the second half.
Chris Gunter floated an early ball into the box which was headed only as far as Danny Williams. The ball broke for Simon Cox who tried to turn back onto his right boot to shoot but lost out only for Collin to spill the loose ball before Rotherham could hurriedly hack clear.
Federici at the other end had to waft a Matt Derbyshire cross away from his goalmouth. And from a corner that followed, the Royals stopper did well to keep a Kari Arnason near post header out as Rotherham looked to respond.
But Reading had the cushion of a second goal as the hour mark approached. Mackie did well to chest down a long kick from Federici and bundled his way to the edge of the area before placing a well-weighted pass between two defenders and into the feet of Simon Cox who smashed low past Collin for 2-0.
Minutes later it was so close to three. A lovely move down the left saw Obita swing in a cross to Murray. The striker brought it down on his chest but couldn't get the space to shoot to toed the ball forward and Mackie beat Collin to the ball, backheeled the ball into Cox whose drilled effort deflected off a Rotherham body and wide.
The Royals were on the hunt for more now and they had a third when Norwood hooked a pass into Cox near the penalty spot. The striker took a touch and then hooked home a lovely finish with his right foot for 3-0.
Federici had to be alert to keep out a Revell effort from range that was skidding towards the bottom left corner until our Aussie got down well to save.
The impressive Mackie came close to adding a fourth when he bent a ball inches around the right post, with Collin beaten in the Rotherham goal. And Hector drove just wide from the edge of the area with less than ten minutes left on the clock.