Reading 1-2 Ipswich Town - Half-Time
Saturday, 10th Nov 2018 16:08
Goals from Gwion Edwards and Freddie Sears in a frenetic start have given Town a 2-1 half-time lead over Reading at the Madejski Stadium. Edwards volleyed the Blues in front on five, Yakou Meite levelled for the home side two minutes later before Sears netted Town’s second on 11.
Paul Lambert named an unchanged XI and bench with the Blues lining up in the 4-3-3 system they employed in the 1-1 draw with Preston last week.
Reading made one change with Sam Walker dropping to the bench, Anssi Jaakkola, back after injury, having been preferred in goal to the one-time Town season ticket holder.
Following the Last Post and a minute’s silence, with the game the Royals’ Remembrance Day fixture, the Blues, wearing their all orange away strip, started on the front foot as heavy rain poured down.
And in the fifth minute they went in front. Jonas Knudsen’s long throw from the left was half-cleared to the edge of the box from where Edwards volleyed home his fourth goal of the season.
But the lead lasted only two minutes. With the rain by now falling even more heavily, Sam Baldock chased a ball down the left, just reaching it at the touchline. The ex-MK Dons man did well to get it back into the box where Meite hooked from behind him past Bartosz Bialkowski at the near post.
However, parity was similarly short-lived with the Blues restoring their lead in the 11th minute.
From a goalkick Bialkowski punted the ball down the middle and Sears profited from some woeful defending before taking it into the area and confidently beating Jaakkola for his second goal of the season and of the two-game Lambert era.
Two minutes later Mo Barrow was shown the game’s first yellow card for a dive as Cole Skuse pulled out of a challenge on the edge of the Town box with the game continuing at its early frantic pace, although with the rain having subsided slightly.
Town remained in control as the game passed the 20-minute mark, confidently keeping possession of the ball while on occasion also looking to get it forward quickly for central striker Jordan Roberts or Sears to chase.
They started to carve out further chances as the home crowd started to make their frustrations known, particularly with keeper Jaakkola for regularly finding touch with his kicks.
Skuse twice had efforts blocked following a corner, then in the 22nd minute Roberts came very close to his first Town goal after flicking Flynn Downes’s cross from the right across goal towards the corner of the net but Jaakkola somehow got down to it to paw it past the post.
On 28 Downes sent over a corner from the left which skipper Luke Chambers headed wide with the similarly unmarked Roberts behind him in a better position to nod home.
Meite headed straight at Bialkowski on the half-hour mark while claiming rather hopefully he had been fouled, much to the annoyance of Chambers who hauled him up off the floor.
But Town were still on top, controlling the game in a manner they rarely have this season. On 38 a Roberts shot was blocked by Jaakkola after Skuse had played him into the right of the area.
As the half entered its final few minutes Barrow was in danger of picking up his second yellow card for fouls on Jordan Spence and general stroppiness towards referee Darren Bond.
But it was Blues skipper Chambers next to be shown a card as the half entered three minutes of injury time for a foul on Meite on halfway with the Reading man fortunate to avoid a card himself for his reaction.
Neither side threatened again before the break with the whistle met by boos from the home fans and cheers from the 2,000-plus Town following delighted by their team’s first-half display.
The Blues were well worth their lead after putting in what’s probably their best 45 minutes of the season. Having got on top early on they got their noses in front following a very positive start, they then seemed seemed unruffled by Reading’s quick equaliser before swiftly grabbing their second of the game.
From there they had chances to make it 3-1 and a second Blues goal ought to be enough to seal a win against a Royals side looking frustrated and low on confidence.
Reading: Jaakkola, Yiadom, O’Shea, Moore (c), Blackett, Rinomhota, Bacuna, Kelly, Barrow, Meite, Baldock. Subs: Gunter, Swift, McCleary, Aluko, Ilori, Walker, McNulty.
Town: Bialkowski, Spence, Chambers (c), Pennington, Knudsen, Skuse, Downes, Chalobah, Edwards, Sears, Roberts. Subs: Gerken, Donacien, Jackson, Rowe, Dozzell, Edun, Lankester. Referee: Darren Bond (Lancashire).
Photo: Action Images
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