Royals thwarted in goalless draw
- Nelson sent off on stroke of half-time
- Pog, Williams and Obita force saves
- Feds saves well from debutant Hooiveld
- Cox denied by Forde late on
Reading were the better side in a first half of few clear cut chances but the nature of the game changed when Sid Nelson lashed out dangerously at Michael Hector and saw red on the stroke of half-time.
The Royals spent the whole of the second half trying to break down a resolute Lions side, but David Forde and his defence somehow kept them out and it took a smart save at the other end from Adam Federici to deny Jos Hooiveld a debut winner.
Countless crosses into the box, shots from distance and possession across the pitch, but Reading couldn't break the deadlock and find a winner. Instead they were forced to settle for a point.
Millwall: Forde; Cummings, Nelson, Hooiveld, Harding; Gueye (Dunne HT), Abdou, Williams, Fabbrini (Martin 78); Gregory, Maierhofer (Cowan-Hall HT).
Subs: King, Beevers, Upson, Fuller.
Reading: Federici, Kelly, Obita, Hector, Pearce (c), Chalobah (McCleary 58), Norwood, Williams, Robson-Kanu (Mackie 76), Blackman (Cox 58), Pogrebnyak.
Subs: Andersen, Travner, Cooper, Karacan.
Att: 8,317 (539 away)
The game began evenly, Diego Fabbrini winning a free kick but curling it harmlessly into the arms of Adam Federici, while at the other end Alex Pearce looped a header over from distance.
Pavel Pogbrebnyak got his head to a sublime cross from Blackman on the left but couldn't direct it on target, ten minutes in. And the Royals were playing the better stuff, without creating a clear cut opportunity to capitalise on.
Blackman beat two down the right and delivered a great cross which Robson-Kanu won in the air. The ball bobbled down to the feet of Pogrebnyak but Jos Hooiveld hot a toe to it before the Russian to pull the trigger.
Then with 20 minutes played, Norwood's near post corner from the right was met by the head of Robson-Kanu who directed it down into the ground and into Forde's grasp on the bounce.
Norwood was next to test Forde's handling with a 25-yard effort after Blackman's throughball to an overlapping Obita was just cut out by Cummings, when Obita would have been in on goal.
Adam Federici had little to do until near the half hour mark when he leapt to his left to cling onto a cross from Fabbrini who had weaved his way to the byline down the left.
Norwood flashed wide from range and moments later his cross into the box was flicked goalwards by Robson-Kanu, but Millwall scrapped it clear before the offside flag was raised against the Royals forward.
Despite Reading's dominance, Millwall arguably came closest to scoring with ten minutes left on the first half clock. A ball was cut across the box and Lee Gregory lined a shot up, dragging a left-footed effort inches wide of the bottom right corner.
Obita supplied a fantastic volleyed cross from the left flank which Pogrebnyak headed gowalwards, forcing Forde into a save at his far post. Then Pogrebnyak did brilliantly to scamper away from two men down the right, edge into the box and then go to ground as a Millwall man brought his run to a halt.
Reading were coming closer to finding a breakthrough, Robson-Kanu heading wide at the near post after a good sustained spell of pressure from the visitors.
And in the final minute of the first half, Millwall were reduced to ten men. Michael Hector barged his way forward into midfield and as the referee awarded the centre-half a free kick, Sid Nelson lashed out a rash kick at the defender prompting referee Andrew Madley to produce a straight red card.
Ian Holloway made two changes at the break but Jordan Obita came close to breaking the deadlock in the opening minutes, a deep cross falling into Obita's path on the left side of the box but Forde parrying his powerful drive.
Williams rifled an effort into Forde's body soon after and Blackman almost got on the end of an Obita cut back as Steve Clarke's side upped the tempo looking to make the extra man count.
But the home fans were making some noise and getting behind their side, who almost stole a goal when a near post cross was nodded just wide by Gregory.
Reading made a double change of their own, Garath McCleary and Simon Cox coming on for Blackman and Chalobah, and McCleary almost unlocked the defence with his first run at Harding, reaching the byline but his low cross was hacked clear with Norwood lurking.
Millwall continued to pose a threat though and it took a top save from Federici to deny debutant Jos Hooiveld a headed goal from a free kick floated towards him at the far post.
At the other end, Robson-Kanu drilled a low effort across the face of goal and only a toe from Dunne was needed to take it away from Pogrebnyak looking to tap home from close range.
Time was beginning to run low and the Royals were being frustrated by a Millwall side galvanised by the red card, and the Lions were heading away everything Reading crossed into the area.
McCleary threaded a ball through to Mackie but the offside flag broke that move up and the home side were gaining confidence with every minute that passed.
Simon Cox drilled a dangerous low effort from 22 yards out that Forde did well to keep out, turning it around his left upright to keep the game goalless. And as the game entered the final few minutes Pogrebnyak couldn't keep a header down from Obita's corner.
Three minutes of injury time were signalled and a Norwood effort skidded into the body of Forde. And that was the last chance of a game that ended goalless.