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Reading FC 1-0 Ipswich Town: Taylor Powers First League Win

Jake Taylor's first goal for the club wrapped up all three points for an inexperienced Reading side against a dogged Ipswich at the Madejski Stadium. While the quality was sometimes missing, there was no lack of effort from a determined Royals side who maintained their unbeaten start to the campaign.

Reading: Federici; Cummings, Pearce, Hector, Gunter; Akpan, Obita; Taylor (Stacey), Cox (Edwards), Blackman (Cooper); Pogrebnyak

Team wise, Nigel Adkins made two chances to the side that had started the 2-2 draw up at Wigan, with Hope Akpan in for the departed Sean Morrison and Ryan Edwards dropped to the bench in favour of Simon Cox. While with injuries still ravaging the Reading squad Adkins was forced to name a bench that aside from goalkeeper Alex McCarthy had  a combined total of 1 Championship appearance between them, with that game being Edwards' up at the DW Stadium a week earlier.

Despite their inexperience, Reading started well with Cox in his first league start at the Madejski carving out a good chance down the right that saw his cross-shot blocked at the near post. Cox certainly showed some classy touches on his league return to his home ground but didn't see much of the ball as Reading often resorted to long balls forward from Adam Federici to Nick Blackman or Pavel Pogrebnyak to start their attacking moves.

Like Reading, Ipswich had also been in the play-off hunt for most of last season and they showed their experience by gradually earning more and more of the ball in attacking positions, with only a goal line scramble after a corner denying Mick McCarthy's side the opening goal after a quarter of an hour.

Ipswich continued to probe Reading with crosses and set pieces but the Royals fought back with Jake Taylor twice getting a sight of goal and while the first was deflected narrowly wide, the second beautifully nestled in the bottom corner. The goal came from a fantastic cross-field ball from captain Chris Gunter, who found Taylor inside the left hand side of the box, with the Reading Academy graduate deftly poking the ball past Ipswich keeper Dean Gerken for his first goal for the club.

Into the second period and Reading were forced onto the back foot with a Jay Tabb free-kick finding Daryl Murphy who couldn't steer his shot into the net despite Federici being well beaten, while seconds later David McGoldrick was sent rushing through on goal only for some good pressure from Michael Hector and a fine save from Federici to keep the scoreline at 1-0.

Chances were hard to come by for Reading and it became an increasingly back to wall effort as Ipswich searched for an equaliser. As the half wore on the energetic Edwards came on to replace Cox, while there were debuts in the closing stages for defender Jake Cooper and winger Jack Stacey as Nigel Adkins sought to shut up shop.

However more than an hour of good work from the home side came within inches of being undone in the dying moments as a corner from Paul Anderson found Tyrone Mings, only for the full-back's goal-bound header to be nodded onto his own cross-bar by Shaun Cummings as Reading held on to secure a first league win of the season.

Performance wise this wasn't exactly a masterpiece but when you're talking about a team ravaged by injuries and entering a game with what was described by many as a 'creche' rather than a subs bench, you'll take three points however you get them. Reading showed plenty of heart and guts in this one and while the midweek headlines revolved around the departure of Sean Morrison to Cardiff, it's Michael Hector that was the name on the lips of the home fans after he put in a fantastic performance in the heart of the defence alongside Alex Pearce.

Chris Gunter too deserves plenty of praise, as Reading's captain on the day led by example with a fine performance down the right hand side, and while I'll go on to give more detailed thoughts on individual performances in the player ratings, to be honest it's hard to pick out a Reading player that had anything worse than an average day.

Being totally objective, this certainly isn't a team you'd back long-term to hang around the top six but fortunately it's a team that's set to be continually reinforced over the next few weeks and days like this will only go to both motivate those returning and more importantly to give these younger players the belief that they can play at this level.

The fact a team fielding some 12 Academy graduates was able to earn a win in the Championship is a fantastic achievment and once again goes to show what a fantastic job the likes of Eamon Dolan and Martin Kuhl have done with the younger sides.

A week ago if you'd offered me four points and progression in the League Cup I'd have bitten your hand off and regardless of how strong or weak you consider the performances, you can't argue with the results earned so far.

As one texter perfectly put it on BBC Radio Berkshire, now is the time for cautious optimism, with a pontless Huddersfield our next challenge on Tuesday night at the Madejski.