Reading collected only their second Championship home win of the season with a nervy 3-1 victory over fellow strugglers Millwall.
Yakou Meite nodded Reading in front in the 28th minute but Millwall equalised just six minutes later through Murray Wallace.
Sam Baldock hammered home a penalty on the stroke of half-time, with Reading securing the win through Meite’s late header.
Reading had lost five of their six previous league home games this season and won only twice in 12 Championship outings.
Millwall had also won only two of their 12 league fixtures this term but had gained 10 points – one more than their hosts – and showed improved form with a 2-2 draw at Nottingham Forest and a 2-1 home victory over Aston Villa before the international break.
Reading’s third-string goalkeeper Anssi Jaakkola made a surprise start, with Vito Mannone and Sam Walker both injured.
The Finn had little to do in the opening stages as both sides made only tentative progress forwards.
However, he had to be alert with a smart save from Jed Wallace after the Millwall midfielder had been released by Shane Ferguson.
The visitors continued to gain momentum, with Lee Gregory nodding over wastefully and then turning sharply before shooting wide.
Jaakkola was called into action again soon after, making a fine stop to keep out a firm header from ex-Reading centre back Jake Cooper.
Nothing had been seen of the home attack until they almost went ahead – totally against the run of play – in the 22nd minute.
Andy Yiadom’s cross caused havoc in the Millwall area, with Liam Kelly striking a post from close range. Meite forced the ball goalwards on the rebound but James Meredith cleared it off the line.
Six minutes later, Reading did go ahead. Tyler Blackett crossed from the left and the unmarked Meite glanced a near-post header past keeper Ben Amos.
But Millwall were back level in the 34th minute when Reading failed to clear a corner.
Central defender Murray Wallace was the first to pounce, easily beating Jaakkola from close in.
But Reading were quick to regain their advantage, when Mahlon Romeo was harshly adjudged by referee David Webb to have brought down Blackett in the area and Baldock blasted the 45th-minute spot-kick past Amos.
Five minutes into the second half, Millwall almost levelled again. Ferguson slung over a free-kick to the far post but Tom Elliott nodded against the crossbar.
Elliott then headed over soon after before Meite forced a good save from Amos as he raced clear of the stretched Millwall defence.
Jaakkola saved well from a powerful Ferguson volley but Reading made it safe when Meite nodded in an 86th-minute Leandro Bacuna corner.
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