Reading 1-1 Rotherham: Semi Ajayi earns point for Millers
Ovie Ejaria puts Reading in front but Rotherham peg them back via Semi Ajayi's strike
Last Updated: 23/02/19 6:46pm
Championship relegation battlers Reading and Rotherham played out a nervy 1-1 draw at Madejski Stadium.
In a disjointed first period, Reading went ahead just after the half-hour mark through an instinctive effort from loanee midfielder Ovie Ejaria. However, Rotherham levelled with 11 minutes left, when defender Semi Ajayi bundled home from close range.
The sides had been locked together on 29 points before kick-off, with Reading out of the relegation zone due to a superior goal difference. Reading's four-match unbeaten run ended when they lost 4-0 at Sheffield United last Saturday.
Rotherham were undefeated in four games - all draws - but had only one victory in 17 outings and extended their dire winless run away from home in the Championship to 42 matches.
It was Rotherham who made the brighter opening, with Jon Taylor having a well-struck 20-yard shot deflected over the crossbar.
Reading responded quickly through Yakou Meite but, after he had cut in from the right, he sent an ambitious attempt high and wide.
Rotherham continued to press and Anthony Forde should have done better when presented with a good chance in the home area but with the Reading defence in disarray, he missed the ball completely and the opportunity went begging.
In a scrappy affair, Reading were next to threaten when a quick break released John Swift but the midfielder drove wildly and selfishly over the bar, with his team-mates better placed.
Swift curled over a dangerous free-kick shortly after but the Rotherham rearguard managed to bundle it away to safety at the far post.
Reading eventually settled and went ahead in the 31st minute. Garath McCleary escaped down the left flank and crossed cleverly from close to the byline.
Ejaria, on loan from Liverpool, arrived at the perfect moment and guided the ball first-time past Rotherham goalkeeper Marek Rodak for his first goal since moving from Anfield last month.
Reading had further chances to increase their lead before the break but Ejaria, Nelson Oliveira and Swift were all off target.
Rotherham made a positive start to the second half, with Richie Towell seeing his fierce shot blocked. Michael Smith also made a good run into the home area only to be crowded out at the vital moment.
Reading were more than content to hold on to their slender advantage and ventured forward only rarely.
A home counter-attack found Swift in space on the edge of the Rotherham area but when he tried to curl an effort past Rodak, the ball flew well wide.
Ejaria then almost grabbed a second goal but, after a mazy run from deep, he sent a low drive narrowly wide.
And the hosts were made to pay for their profligacy as Rotherham grabbed the equaliser in the 79th minute when Ajayi latched on to Clark Robertson's knock-down from a Will Vaulks cross.
Jose Gomes: "It was a tough and difficult game against opponents who play direct football.
"A lot of time the ball was in the air and that made it difficult to put the ball on the ground and play. When we did it, we created some good actions and goal situations."
Paul Warne: "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."