Reading: McCarthy; Obita, Gorkss, Pearce, Gunter, McAnuff, Williams, Akpan, McCleary (Blackman); Le Fondre, Pogrebnyak
After demolishing Bolton 7-1 the previous week, Nigel Adkins kept the same squad for the trip to Portman Road, aiming to win a third game on the bounce. Straight from kick-off it seemed that Reading would continue from the thrashing given last week, with Garath McCleary attacking the home defence after a long run, unfortunately he could only drag his shot horribly wide, a pattern which would continue throughout the game.
In truth, chances were limited for both sides during the first half but Jobi McAnuff could have easily won his side a penalty when the Jamaican appeared to be tripped by an Ipswich defender. The referee disagreed and pointed for a goal-kick, much to the despair of the Royals bench. After the penalty appeal, Danny Williams brought an excellent save out of Ipswich keeper Dean Gerken from distance after a corner broke down. A later chance fell for Pavel Pogrebynak, but the Russian could not get the ball out of his feet quick enough to shoot and the chance went begging. Down the other end, Alex McCarthy had not been tested, with only a wayward header from Daryl Murphy being the only half chance the home side created during the opening 45.
From the start of the second half, Ipswich held the impetus with a couple of chances being created straight after half-time. The longer the game went on, the more it opened up which allowed Daryl Murphy to fire home the opener after the ex-royal Stephen Hunt had done the hard work. It was particular harsh on Chris Gunter who had managed to keep Hunt quiet for the majority of the match, but one move out of position cost the Welsh International. It was the first real chance the tractor boys created but it was well taken by Murphy who steered it in via the crossbar, giving McCarthy no chance.
This set-back seemed to affect the Royals, with sloppiness coming into our game after a controlled first half. McAnuff and Jordan Obita looked a threat down the left wing and the latter produced a terrific cross which was only out of the reach of striker Adam Le Fondre, who otherwise had a quiet game just a week after his hat-trick. Adkins then introduced Nick Blackman with around 20 minutes to go, replacing McCleary, who seemed to be tiring.
With 15 minutes left, the golden chance to equalise fell to the substitute, but after his first shot was blocked, Blackman rushed the second and shot high into the crowd. It proved to be the last chance Reading created with Ipswich wrapping up the win in the last minute of normal time, with substitute Paul Anderson firing home from an acute angle after running through a tired looking defence.
There will be a full player ratings later this evening so check back for those later.
Despite the defeat, Reading did create chances to get back into the game before Ipswich doubled their lead with Blackman having the most notable. In truth though, Ipswich were the stronger team during the second half and took their chances clinically in comparison. It seemed worrying though that Akpan and Williams went missing during long periods of the second half after mainly controlling the first. They offered little connection between the defence and the forwards, leaving both the wings as the main areas of attacks, limiting the threat posed by Alf and Pog. With Blackpool coming to the Madejski during the week, Adkins will need to pick his troops up quickly if they are to get back on the promotion trail.