Reading: Federici, Harte, Gorkks, Pearce, Cummings, McAnuff, Leigertwood, Karacan (Robson-Kanu), Kebe, Church (Le Fondre), Hunt
I'm sure I'm not alone in having once again written this Reading team off as the clock ticked over to 90. It had been the type of performance that once again had frustrated you as a fan but left you with an overwhelming meh type of feeling. Still two late goals or 3 in the last 20 minutes ensured that Reading would leave Portman Road with all three points and move us back to within three points of a play-off place.
After the jump I'll be recapping all of the hijinx from another random 90 minutes of Reading Football.
I'd also like to place on record my condolences to the friends and family of Gary Speed after the tragic events of the weekend. To lose anyone at that age is a tragedy but to lose someone as respected and which such a great future ahead of him was doubly sad. RIP Speedo
Team wise Brian made two chances, with Ian Harte coming in for the injured Joe Mills and Simon Church coming in for Adam Le Fondre. It was a harsh decision to drop Alfie but given the number of games we've got coming up it wasn't the worst time to give another partnership a trial, one that had started against Doncaster quite well before Kebe picked up an injury. As for Harte, while the change was enforced I think many fans were happy to see the Irishman back in the side as it gave us a fresh attacking option, though you had to feel sorry for Mills who had really begun to kick on and deserved his place in the starting eleven.
Reading had the better of the opening 45 minutes, where both Hunt and Harte should have done better with good chances while Simon Church came an inch away from connecting with a Jimmy Kebe cross. Even so Ipswich looked capable of going in front and Chopra with the width of a post away from putting the home side into the lead. Once again though Reading failed to make a decisive impact in the first half of a game and stretched the number of games without a first half lead to 18 games.
Ipswich had lost their previous four and the game was certainly there for the taking as Town had shown nothing to overly worry a Reading team who seemed comfortable away from home and confident they'd pick up a win. Unfortunately just ten minutes into thr second half it was the home side who took the lead. Once again Reading failed to deal with a free kick whipped in from the left hand side and Daryl Murphy nodded past Adam Federici who was caught in no mans land 8 yards off his line. It's something that needs looking at on the training ground as at least three times now we've given away goals from a similar position, with yesterday joining Derby and Cardiff in my memory bank of soft goals from LHS set pieces.
Reading tried to fight back and within another 15 minutes had both Robson-Kanu and Le Fondre out on the pitch in place of Karacan and Church but it was centre-back Kaspars Gorkks who would be the hero when he nodded home Ian Harte's free-kick for his first goal in a Reading shirt.
From this point you'd have to have backed Reading to beat a low on confidence Ipswich but it was Paul Jewell's side who hit back immediately. With 11 minutes to go a well worked move saw the ball laid off to Josh Carson in the penalty area, who saw his shot on goal deflect off of Gorkks and over Federici to make it 2-1.
While certainly not dead and buried it looked as if it would be back-to-back defeats for the first time since the start of September until Ian Harte floated a great corner into the box in the first minute of injury time which was met by the head of Alex Pearce to put us level. From that point on you just knew Reading were going to win it, it was Bristol City all over again. Sure enough in the final minute of stoppage time Leigertwood intercepted the ball and played it up to substitute Le Fondre, who sent a delightful pass across the box to Hunt who slotted home from 10 yards out to give us all three points.
It wasn't vintage and it wasn't a great performance but it was a great three points and showed the spirit and determination we have in a young squad that's happy to fight until the final whistle. We've seen late goals win us points against Millwall, Burnley, Bristol City, Birmingham and yesterday and it's something we did so well last season as well, a feature that's a credit to Brian and to the fitness team at the club.
You would be well within your rights to pick at some negatives again, such as the lack of end product from our midfielders, or the continuing goal shy nature of Simon Church, but after a win like that I think it gives everyone the belief that while this team isn't yet firing on all cylinders it is a team that could be capable of big things.
Ian Harte showed just what he's capable of with two assists and both Le Fondre and Hunt showed that they do have the ability to score and create goals at this level. For those three men and the rest of the 20 odd in our squad its all about getting consistency and the belief that we can score goals early on and dominate a game in the first 60 minutes rather than just the final 30. If we can put two and two together, I'd not rule out a play-off run just yet.