It was a gut-wrencher on Tuesday evening at The Den – ahead with ten minutes remaining, but coming away empty-handed at the final whistle as George Saville’s brace overturned Dave Edwards’ goal for Reading.
Edwards, whose goal was his first since joining the club, was understandably disappointed that the goal didn’t count for more… but has no doubts about the strength of character in the squad.
“We’ve got the right character in the dressing room to come out the other side of this with some victories,” Edwards said. “We’ve got a huge game again on Saturday back at the Madejski, which is good for us. Hopefully we put in a performance which merits three points.
“I am really confident when I look around the dressing room in the quality of the players we’ve got, but also the character. When you get to this situation in the season, it’s the mentality that gets you through it.
“No-one at the club wants to be in the position we are at the moment, and none more so than the players.
“It seems to be the way it’s going at the moment. But we’re really confident that it’s going to turn. We know what we’ve got in the dressing room, we know we need to stick together, and I’m really confident that we can start stringing some wins together and climbing that table.”
Edwards’ maiden goal for the Royals was a case of brute power – there was only one man that was going to win the ball as Sone Aluko whipped over the corner.
And he was denied a penalty in the final added minute of the game, as the refereeing team opted against upsetting the partisan home crowd when Edwards was clipped in the area.
“It’s something that we’ve worked on in training with Dave Beasant – it was a great ball in from Sone first and foremost, and once the ball is there and I’ve got a run on my man, I always back myself to score,” Edwards said of his goal.
“Those are the sorts of goals that I do score – arriving in the box, and a lot of headers.
“Hopefully it’s the first of many, but it doesn’t mean a lot when you don’t get three points.
“And it’s a stonewall penalty. Sone played a nice little ball in; I saw the defender come steaming in and I thought that if I get a touch before him, he’s going to have to clatter me – that’s what happened.
“The linesman was looking right at it, and unfortunately he’s right on the side of the Millwall fans. To not mince any words, I think he bottled it a bit.
“He gave a goal-kick and that’s the one decision he cannot give… either he’s won it and it’s a corner, I’ve dived and it’s a booking, or it’s a penalty. There isn’t a scenario where it’s a goal-kick. We shouldn’t be in that scenario in the first place, but it’s a stonewall penalty.”