Rotherham United 0 Reading 1: Kenny Jackett encouraged despite late heartache in opening game at Millers

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No goals, no points but plenty of positives as Kenny Jackett started out as Rotherham United manager with a cruel 1-0 home defeat to Reading in the Championship.

For the Millers had numerous chances to score, but found Reading goalkeeper Ali Ab-Habsi in top form.

It meant substitute Paul McShane’s late volley was decisive as Jaap Stam’s side took all three points back to Berkshire.

“I felt the work-rate, effort and commitment of the players was very good,” said Jackett.

“We went toe-to-toe with Reading. We had a good number of chances and were a threat from set-pieces. We couldn’t convert them.

“We are disappointed to lose the game, but the players have to keep up that effort, work-rate and attitude, and not get too disappointed.

“There is a lot today we did well as a group. There is enough of the season to get things going.

“Yes, I definitely feel I can keep them up. Taking six points out of 39 takes its toll on players. But they can’t be disappointed.”

Rotherham United v Reading: Match stats
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The new boss made wholesale changes to his starting line-up, with a new-look back four in Joe Mattock, Richard Wood, Dael Fry and Darnell Fisher.

The Millers came close to an early goal on two minutes, Joe Newell curling an effort which had Ali Al-Habsi at full stretch to tip wide.

With Jackett patrolling the touchline, Rotherham were looking to impress the new man in charge.

Jon Taylor cut inside, only for Al-Habsi to turn the ball away for a corner.

And from the resulting cross, Greg Halford - playing in the centre of midfield alongside Lee Frecklington - saw his header scrambled away.

The long throw of Halford was causing Reading problems, and from one such missile, Richard Wood saw his header palmed away by Al-Habsi, a stunning save.

And the visiting goalkeeper also rescued his side, one-on-one with Danny Ward, when he rushed out and blocked the shot.

It was then the turn for Millers goalkeeper Lee Camp to rescue his side, after Joey Van den Berg was brought down in the box.

Garath McCleary stepped up to take the penalty, but Camp guessed right and produced a huge cheer at the NYS.

John Swift thundered an effort against the crossbar, while at the other end substitute Izzy Brown had his penalty appeal waved away after tumbling in the box.

Rotherham had defended so well, but their resistance was finally broken in the last five minutes,

Camp did well to save the initial effort, but the rebound fell to substitute Paul McShane who volleyed home.

Even then, Rotherham came close to scoring as they raced to the other end whenre Anthony Forde was thwarted by a one-handed dave from Al-Habsi.

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