JOSE Gomes suffered a debut to forget as Reading FC boss after a rude awakening at the New Den.

Royals finished with nine men as Tyler Blackett was sent off moments after Jed Wallace’s superb opener before Leandro Bacuna also received a straight red late in the game.

The victory saw Millwall climb above Royals in the table and leave Gomes’ side one place off the bottom of the Championship table.

Reading have now failed to win in eight matches, have lost four of the last six and are going through a mammoth, mid-season shake-up following the departure of Paul Clement and some key figures behind the scenes.

If Gomes was in any doubt about the size of the task ahead, he can have few questions now.

The 48-year-old Portuguese must have felt helpless as his side fell apart in the opening period, managed to recover but failed to find the net for the second game running.

The repercussions of the result – Millwall’s first win in nine – will also continue with Bacuna likely to receive a three-match ban for violent conduct and Blackett set to miss Saturday’s trip to in-form QPR (3pm ko).

Nevertheless, Gomes felt Royals could have snatched a point on the day after seeing John Swift smack a free-kick against the Lions bar.

"It was a very difficult match,” he admitted. “Even if it has been 11 versus 11, it would have been a difficult match.

"Playing for 85 minutes with or so with ten men - and part of those 85 minutes with nine - it was a very difficult mission.

“They fought until the very last second so I’m proud of their attitude.

"They kept the ball and for long periods we controlled the game. We have to control ourselves better though, because these red cards cannot help us.

“"But we controlled the game with the ball, with a player less, and we created some chances, so I am confident for the future.

“On one hand we didn’t like the result, we didn’t like the red cards. On the other we are proud of our attitude and the blood that my players showed they have inside them, they were brave.

"Our fans supported us and helped the players from the very beginning to the last second. So they deserved at least a point, in my opinion."

Gomes made three changes from the side that lost 1-0 at home to Middlesbrough under caretaker boss Scott Marshall a week earlier.

Fit-again skipper Liam Moore, Yakou Miete and Swift all came back in while David Meyler returned to the bench.

But a disastrous opening 10 minutes from the visitors would end up having a telling influence on the result.

Millwall started brightly and Anssi Jaakkola made a vital save from point-blank range to deny Tom Elliott in the sixth minute.

But the hosts scored the decisive goal two minutes later in spectacular fashion.

Omar Richards gave a free-kick away and Wallace gobbled up the chance, firing past Jaakkola from at least 25 yards for the lead.

If that wasn’t bad enough, Royals were reduced to 10 men less than a minute later when Blackett received a straight red for a nasty-looking challenge on the Lions’ goalscorer.

Gomes’ plans were immediately thrown into disarray as Andy Yiadom filled in for Blackett in central defence with Andy Rinomhota dropping back from midfield.

Millwall threatened a second when Jaakkola saved Shaun Hutchinson’s header, Elliott missed the target from 15 yards and Hutchinson nodded over from another Ryan Leonard delivery.

A rare reply from Reading saw a Swift effort from outside the box dealt with by Jordan Archer.

Millwall defender Jake Cooper went close to scoring against his old club with a header from Shane Ferguson’s cross that flew narrowly wide.

But Reading went close after the interval when Danny Loader fired straight at Archer from a good position.

Despite their tiring legs, they continued to carve out opportunities as Meite’s header was blocked before Bacuna whistled one inches wide from distance.

Lee Gregory responded with the hosts’ next chance, but Reading were denied an equaliser by the width of the woodwork 18 minutes from time.

Meite was fouled and Swift’s free-kick from at least 25 yards had Archer beaten but cannoned off the crossbar to the visitors’ disbelief.

Even the Royals continued to push, but Meite’s shot was blocked before substitute Garath MCleary missed the target.

But their day got even worse two minutes time when referee Andy Davies showed Bacuna a straight red for an apparent stamp on Ferguson.

So a relegation six-pointer Reading could ill afford to lose ends in defeat and with two red cards for new boss Gomes.

The ex-Rio Ave manager had only two training sessions before today in which to get across his ideas, and clearly needs more time.

But he knows there is little chance of that ahead of Saturday’s hoops derby at QPR (3pm ko), who beat Ipswich 3-0 today to move up to eighth.

"We don’t have time to cry,” he stressed. “We must put our focus on the next match, see how I can prepare the team for QPR.

"I have had only two training sessions with the players, who had to recover from Saturday at the same time.

“It is a difficult challenge, but I am very happy with my players, they really showed that we can count on them.”        

He concluded: “At the moment we cannot think in the long-term.

“Right now, we must think of the short-term goals and about preparing and recovering for the next match.

“It’s a difficult task, but with this spirit, we will get there."

Millwall: Archer, Romeo, Hutchinson, Cooper, Meredith, Wallace (O'Brien 76), Tunnicliffe, Leonard Ferguson (Skalak 89), Elliott (Morison 57), Gregory. Booked: Elliott 38, Gregory 53, Ferguson 77. Subs not used: Amos, Karacan, Wallace, Brown.

Reading: Jaakkola, Yiadom, Moore, Blackett, Richards, Rinomhota, Bacuna, Barrow, Swift (Osho 82), Meite (McCleary 73), Loader (Baldock 63). Subs not used: Mannone, Myler, O’Shea, Aluko. Booked: Moore 67. Red card: Blackett 9, Bacuna 88.

Referee: Andy Davies.

Attendance: 12,202.