Paul Warne buoyed after Rotherham United’s rescue act at rivals Reading

Rotherham United's Semi Ajayi.
Rotherham United's Semi Ajayi.
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Rotherham United struck a late equaliser and only goal difference separates them from hosts Reading as the pair battle to avoid relegation.

Liverpool loanee Ovie Ejaria rounded off a flowing Reading move in the 31st minute, looping a fine finish into the far corner following a cutback from Garath McCleary.

Semi Ajayi turned home a vital Rotherham equaliser in the 79th minute after Will Vaulks’s cross was flicked on by Clark Robertson.

Both sides had chances to claim victory – home striker Nelson Oliveira failing to tap home with the goal at his mercy before Millers substitute Joe Newell fizzed a left-footed effort narrowly wide.

Rotherham’s fifth consecutive draw left them one place below Reading, who have won only one of their last seven matches, in the relegation zone.

Millers chief Paul Warne was quick to praise the character of his side.

In the second half, we were a much better threat. We were the better side for large spells. We came against a team who are a really good footballing side.

Paul Warne

“When you look at the league table now, it’s a good point for us,” said Warne. “If we had lost, it would have given Reading a confidence boost. It would have ruined the little run we are on but the lads will take more from the game than them. They’ll be disappointed that they have thrown away the lead.”

“I was really proud of the players. I thought we started really well but at half-time I said to the lads, ‘it doesn’t look like you believe you can score.’

“In the second half, we were a much better threat. We were the better side for large spells. We came against a team who are a really good footballing side. They have a lot of the ball but we had a good proportion of it.”

Warne was unhappy at Reading chief Jose Gomes’s criticism of the Millers “direct” style saying: “I don’t get that. Why is that? That’s a bit harsh, it does my nut in.

“I’m getting tired reading about ‘long ball’ and all that. If we get a chance to throw the ball into the box, we’ll do it. I don’t see what is wrong with that.

“It’s a bit offensive to keep saying that we are long ball.

“If we choose to get into their box in four passes or 24 passes, what’s the difference? We still want the same outcome. If you watch us play week to week, I think that you’d give us more respect than that.”

Reading: Martinez, Yiadom, Miazga, Moore, Blackett, Ejaria (Harriott 86), Baker, Swift, Meite (O’Shea 72), Oliveira, McCleary (Barrow 86). Unused substitutes: Gunter, McShane, Walker, Loader.

Rotherham United: Rodak, Jones, Ihiekwe (Newell 70), Robertson, Mattock, Ajayi, Taylor (Williams 58), Towell (Crooks 89), Vaulks, Forde, Smith. Unused substitutes: Vyner, Wood, Price, Yates.

Referee: J Simpson (Lancashire).