BY RICHARD CAWLEY
Reading manager Mark Bowen was left incredulous that Millwall’s first goal stood in the South London club’s 2-0 win yesterday.
Matt Smith fired the Lions ahead at The Den in the second half.
But Bowen was critical of how referee Keith Stroud failed to spot a handball by Connor Mahoney in the build up.
There was no controversy with Jon Dadi Bodavrsson’s goal as he finished off a counter attack.
Bowen said: “You’re thinking one goal might decide it and change things.
“The disappointing thing is I knew the first goal – which was going to be massively important – staggers me the referee hasn’t seen a handball. He’s literally a yard away from it. Looking straight at it.
“Four of my guys stopped and put their hands up, because they thought it was handball.
“The fella goes bang with his hand and knocks it into his path. Our guys shouldn’t have stopped – you play to the whistle – the ball went wide and into the box, we didn’t defend that right anyhow.
“We went to a 4-4-2 and left ourselves a bit skinny. But again the second goal comes from things that surprise me. We’re better than that, we didn’t retain it good in forward areas – so we got punished.
“We forgot to play really.
“I know Gary went with a 4-4-2 and we knew what was coming in terms of he was going to utilise his strengths with Smith up front.
“We dealt with balls into our box and defended it in the first half. We let too many crosses in.
“But we forgot to get the ball down and play. We’ve got talented players in our midfield and I expected to come here and control more of the midfield.
“The pitch wasn’t great and didn’t lend itself to that. But you’ve got to come to places like this and live with it – be brave and get on the ball and play. Even when we did we were quite sloppy with our passing and never really got into a rhythm.”
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