In January 2001, former Royals boss Mark McGhee brought his Millwall side to the Madejski with both sides looking to push for promotion to the second tier.

Alan Pardew’s men would go on to enjoy an unbeaten run of 11 games after the game with Millwall at the Madejski – but, in the 50th minute, many Reading fans there that day would have scarcely imagined that such a good run of form was around the corner.

Reading were in lukewarm form coming into the game at the Madejski, having drawn the last two games away at Bristol Rovers and at home to Northampton Town.

The game started in scrappy manner with the visitors picking up two yellow cards early on as they attempted to make their mark on Pardew’s men.

In the 17th minute, it was the visitors who opened the scoring through Neil Harris, who converted from close range to score beyond Philip Whitehead in the Reading goal.

Harris then doubled his tally and Millwall’s lead five minutes later after some lackadaisical defending from Reading, gifting the Millwall striker the chance to score from close range at the far post from a corner.

Reading’s dismal start to the game was made even worse when former Lion Ricky Newman could do little as a ball struck him and went beyond Whitehead to give Millwall a three goal advantage.

With Pardew fearing further embarrassment, he took drastic measures – making a double change to try and turn the game around.

In the second half however things got even worse for Reading, when Harris completed his hattrick from the penalty spot. Reading were 4-0 down in the 50th minute.

Sammy Igoe finally gave the home support something to cheer about, converting a cross in the 65th minute to take the gloss off the scoreline for Millwall.

Reading continued to push with Millwall comfortable with their three-goal lead and Reading looked to have at least made the game a contest in the 75th minute, when Darren Caskey stepped up to convert a second penalty of the game.

Unfortunately, Reading had simply given themselves too much of a mountain to climb and despite Jamie Cureton’s late deflected effort, the visiting side held on for all three points – dramatically denting Pardew’s promotion push.