Losing start for Kenny Jackett as Paul McShane earns Reading victory
Rotherham's new era under Kenny Jackett began in a familiar losing fashion as they were beaten 1-0 by Reading.
Jackett was taking charge of the Millers barely 24 hours after replacing Alan Stubbs, who was sacked on Wednesday following a shocking run of form.
Despite an improved performance, they slipped to a seventh loss on the bounce to equal a club record for the most consecutive defeats in a single season.
Paul McShane was Reading's hero as he poked home in the 85th minute after it had looked like they were going to squander the three points when Garath McCleary saw his earlier penalty saved by Lee Camp.
In truth, the Royals, who registered a first win in five, were grateful to goalkeeper Ali Al-Habsi for keeping them in the game with a number of vital saves.
Jackett will be buoyed by what he saw, but his task of keeping Rotherham in the Championship looks a tough one as they remain six points adrift of safety.
Buoyed by the enthusiasm of a fresh start, the Millers started well and fashioned three good chances in the opening 15 minutes.
Joe Newell's curling effort brought a flying save out of Al-Habsi, who then palmed a Jon Taylor effort around the post with Greg Halford's header from the resulting corner blocked.
The Royals were able to see off Rotherham's early bluster and took almost exclusive possession of the ball, operating at 79 per cent possession in the first half, but had nothing to show for it.
John Swift sent a long-range effort harmlessly wide from distance but that was the best they could muster.
The second half began in similar fashion with a red-hot home team all over their visitors, but again unable to make the breakthrough.
Al-Habsi made another stunning save to deny the Millers the lead when he somehow clawed out Richard Wood's powerful header and the keeper again kept out Danny Ward, who should have done better after being put through on goal.
But amid Rotherham's dominant spell Reading had a golden chance to take the lead when whistle-happy referee Scott Duncan awarded a penalty when Dael Fry was adjudged to have tripped Joey Van Den Berg.
Contact appeared minimal, if there was any at all, but it did not matter as McCleary fired his spot-kick straight into Camp's legs.
However, it changed the momentum of the game completely and Jaap Stam's side took the ascendency, with Yann Kermogant firing just wide shortly afterwards.
The Royals piled the pressure on and the decisive moment came in the 86th minute as McShane was on hand to poke home at the far post after Camp could only claw a cross-shot away.
Source : PA