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📝 Match Report | Brave Royals take maximum points from Rotherham battle

A Michael Morrison goal separated the sides at the New York Stadium and Reading defended that lead resolutely to take all three points back to Berkshire

27 February 2021

Michael Morrison scored the only goal of the game to earn us victory at Rotherham this afternoon but had to defend like men to see off a physical Millers side at the New York Stadium today.

Rotherham had the first chance in front of goal. Richards conceded a foul 25 yards out and Lewis Wing delivered it towards the back post where the towering Michael Smith rose high and nodded the ball over the crossbar.

But a better chance game Reading's way 7 minutes in. A corner was only cleared as far as Richards who hooked a sweet strike goalwards from the edge of the area. Viktor Johansson did well to push the strike over the crossbar however.

The home side were forced to make an early chance, bringing Ben Wiles on for Clark Robertson following a challenge from Olise, and from the resultant set piece the Millers came close to breaking the deadlock - Smith hooked the ball back across the Reading goal and Ladapo glanced a header inches over.

The Royals looked a threat on the counter attack and a lovely ball was threaded into the path of Ejaria who had space to run into down the left side. He looked to pick out Rinomhota in the middle with a low cross but it was cut out by a defensive leg and Reading had to settle for a corner.

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Johansson had to race out of his area to clear the danger when an early ball over the top was chased by an onside Joao. But he couldn't keep out Michael Morrison a moment later.

Richards recycled a cleared corner and swept in a cross to Morrison at the back post. He powered a downward header towards the bottom corner but Johansson parried it with his legs. The ball bounced loose and Morrison was quick to react, getting a toe to it before anyone else to turn it over the line before Crooks could hack it clear.

It was nearly 2-0 minutes later when Liam Moore sprung the offside trap to collect a direct ball down the left side of the Millers box. He turned it inside for Joao at the near post but he in turn stabbed it wide of the left post from close range, under pressure from his marker.

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Johansson was out of his area again to boot clear a quickly taken free kick from Ejaria that was aimed at the run of Rinomhota. But the home side posed a  real threat and Matt Olosunde collected a one-two but dragged his deflected shot wide of the bottom left corner.

Every opportunity Rotherham had to launch the ball aerially into the box, they took. And a flick on landed to Ladapo this time who skied a bouncing ball over the crossbar to the Royals' relief.

Reading looked dangerous with the ball on the ground and Olise broke at pace, sliding in Rinomhota before he was fouled. The referee opted to let play go on but Rinomhota was crowded out.

On the stroke of half-time, it so easily could have been 2-0. Ejaria arced a set piece into the area from the right side and it skidded past Joao, two defenders virtually on the goalline and Semedo stabbed it against the outside of the post from a very narrow angle.

Half-time: Rotherham United 0-1 Reading

Rotherham had the ball in the back of the net only a minute into the second period, when Smith lashed home a wonderful hooked effort - but the offside flag had been raised against the Rotherham striker.

Joao at the other end had a good chance to add a second - darting onto a well-weighted ball through the Millers defence but then in two minds what to do with his shot with the keeper advancing and scuffing the ball harmlessly into the arms of Johansson.

Yiadom looked to rifle a shot through a busy Rotherham box when he chested down a cross from Rinomhota, but the offside flag was raised against the Royals full back as he lined it up and pulled the trigger. 

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Smith crossed for Lapado, who couldn't keep his header down on the stretch - then Joao got in behind the Rotherham defence and despite being tugged back by MacDonald he stayed on his feet to set up Ejaria for a shot - the midfielder arrowing high over the bar.

The lead looked slender and Rotherham were battling for a goal that would throw the game wide open once more. Morrison did well to block a Ladap shot and then with a quarter of an hour remaining Wing lashed an effort over from outside the box.

Yiadom did well to block the ball when Ladapo looked to turn it goalwards from a cross from the left. Smith then smashed a right-footed effort harmlessly over from range as Rotherham continued to push.

Trevor Clarke tested Rafael with a low drilled effort that the Brazilian keeper gobbled up safely in the centre of his goalmouth.

And in five minutes of injury time, Rotherham threw everything at their visitors. A deflected shot from the edge of the box, deflected off a Reading body and whistled past a wrongfooted Rafael but thankfully wide of the bottom right corner. And Reading withstood the pressure to claim all three points.

Full-time: Rotherham United 0-1 Reading

Rotherham United: Johansson, S MacDonald (Clarke 66), Wing (Hirst 80), Ladapo (Jozefzoon 81), Robertson (Wiles 15), Harding, A MacDonald, Olosunde, Smith, Crooks (c), Giles (Sadler 66).
Unused subs: Blackman, Barlaser.
Yellow: MacDonald, Wiles, Olosunde.

Reading: Rafael, Yiadom, Richards, Morrison, Moore (c), Laurent, Rinomhota (Esteves 87), Olise (Holmes 90), Semedo, Ejaria (McIntyre 76), Joao.
Unused subs: Southwood,  Tetek, Camara, Aluko, Baldock, Puscas.
Goals: Morrison 25

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