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Report: Cox snatches late 3-2 win

16 September 2014

Reading 3 (Cox 6, 84, Blackman 15 pen) Millwall 2 (Fuller 38, Beevers 55)

  • Cox 30-yard strike breaks the deadlock
  • Blackman earns and scores from the spot
  • Fuller halves the deficit before the break
  • Beevers levels with far post header
  • Cox nods home late winner!
The Royals secured their fourth straight win thanks to a late headed winner from Simon Cox after Millwall had come from two goals behind to set up a tense finish at Madejski Stadium.

Cox had broken the deadlock with a right-footed strike from more than 25 yards out that skidded past the dive of David Forde and into the bottom left corner only six minutes in.

And when Nick Blackman won and converted from the spot to make it 2-0 ten minutes later, it seemed back-to-back home wins were on the cards.

But Ian Holloway's side fought hard to wrestle their way back into the game through a Ricardo Fuller drive and Mark Beevers' far post header.

Cox had the final say however, heading home Jordan Obita's flicked on cross at the back post from close range to hand Nigel Adkins' side all three points.

Reading: Federici, Gunter (c), Obita, Pearce, Hector, Akpan (Edwards 77), Norwood, Blackman (Cooper 86), Mackie (Taylor 69), Cox, Murray.
Subs: Andersen, Long, Kuhl, Pogrebnyak.

Millwall: Forde, Dunne (c), Beevers, Webster (Woolford 27), Chaplow (Ranegie 86), Abdou, Edwards, Onyedinma (Upson 73), McDonald, Fuller.
Subs: King, Briggs, Gueye, Easter.
Yellow: Upson

Referee: Mr K Hill

Attendance: 15,091 (871 away)

First Half

The first opportunity came Millwall's way when Fred Onyedinma scurried into space vacated by a lung-busting Chris Gunter burst forward and crossed into the middle. Ricardo Fuller rose above Jordan Obita and planted a header on target, and it took a good full stretch save from Adam Federici to tip the ball over the crossbar.

But with less than six minutes on the clock, Reading took the lead with a sublime finish from Simon Cox. The striker brilliantly brought down a quick Federici kick and barged his way past two defenders before taking his shot early. David Forde was out of position and couldn't get across to his near 30-yard strike that skidded inside the bottom left corner for 1-0.

Murray then gained a yard on his man to the left side of the area but drilled a left-footed effort across the face of goal and wide. And Murray came even closer moments later, getting his head to a threatening Obita cross but unable to direct his effort on target, the ball fizzing inches over the bar.

With a quarter of an hour played, it was 2-0. Nick Blackman raced into space and at a back-pedalling Millwall defence, and was tripped as he entered the penalty box. The referee pointed straight to the spot and Blackman got his hands on the ball first to lay claim to the spotkick. Sending Forde the wrong way, he sidefooted it home for 2-0.

Federici produced a superb double save to deny the Lions a route back into the game, blocking Scott Malone's effort with his legs and then getting to his feet quickly to instinctively push Scott McDonald's follow-up wide of his left upright.

Ian Holloway brought Byron Webster off and replaced him with Martyn Woolford, but it didn't prevent the Royals almost adding another when Cox stood a lovely cross up for Blackman at the far post, only for Jimmy Abdou to do enough to head it clear before Blackman could connect.

But Millwall kept attacking and got their reward just before the break. The ball came neatly to the feet of Ricardo Fuller who took a touch and swept it low past the dive of Federici and into the back of the net to halve the deficit with his first Lions goal.

Before the half-time whistle could sound, Federici had to be alert to push another firmly-struck Fuller effort from the edge of the box over his bar. And at the other end, Cox dinked the ball over the top for Murray to hook over, only for the offside flag to rise late against the Royals' new signing.

Second Half

The first chance of the second half came Reading's way. A superb crossfield ball from Norwood set Reading on the attack down the right and Mackie drilled a low cross into the box that Murray was only a toe away from, sliding into the box but unable to get a touch.

Millwall levelled though ten minutes after the restart. Ricardo Fuller went to ground under a challenge from Hector down the right and an inswinging free kick looped over everyone but Mark Beevers at the far post who headed home from close range to make it 2-2.

Reading's best attacking outlet was coming from some precision passes from Norwood out to wide positions and Akpan's cross caused mild panic in the Millwall box before Forde came to claim it amongst a crowd of bodies.

Cox fed Murray with a nice pass from the centre circle, but Murray's effort from distance was easily charged down, and time ticking down Nigel Adkins introduced Jake Taylor and Ryan Edwards to the field.

Federici had to act fast to prevent a mix-up at the back with Hector, and then the Aussie stopper clung on well to a thunderous striker from Upson that was bulleting towards the Royals goal.

With little more than seven minutes remaining, Gunter crossed into the near post and Murray connected but his effort was blocked behind for a corner. From that corner, Simon Cox headed the Royals back into the lead - Obita's delivery was flicked on at the near post and Cox nodded it over the line from close range.

Woolford drove just wide from distance as Ian Holloway's side looked to get themselves back into the game late on, but the Royals saw the game out well in the dying stages and came away with their fourth consecutive win!

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