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Reading 2 v 2 Ipswich Town
SkyBet Championship
Saturday, 10th November 2018 Kick-off 15:00
Reading 2-2 Ipswich Town - Match Report
Saturday, 10th Nov 2018 17:19

Yakou Meite’s header six minutes from time prevented the Blues from claiming the first win of the Paul Lambert era as Town and Reading drew 2-2 at the Madejski Stadium. Gwion Edwards volleyed the Blues in front on five as the game got off to a frenetic start, Meite levelled with his first of the afternoon for the home side two minutes later before Sears restored Town’s lead on 11. Reading improved after the break with Meite sealing a share of the spoils on 84 with his second of the game.

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.

In the aftermath of the corner Edwards shot wide, then in the 24th minute the Welshman was just unable to reach Knudsen’s low cross from the left at the far 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 1,887 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 might well have been enough to end the hopes of a Royals side looking frustrated and low on confidence.

Reading manager Paul Clement swapped Andy Rinomhota for Garath McCleary ahead of the second half and after an evenly balanced early spell Reading came close to an equaliser.

Town were unable to clear a corner and the ball eventually fell to Barrow at the back of the six-yard box but Bialkowski reacted superbly to thwart the former Swansea man at close range.

At the other end, Roberts seized on some hesitancy between John O’Shea and Jaakkola and for a brief moment looked to have won the ball until the keeper pounced on it.

But Reading had been in control since the break with the Blues only occasionally able to get forward. Presumably with that in mind, Roberts was switched for Kayden Jackson in the 60th minute, the ex-Crawley man given a warm ovation by his supporters as he left the field.

Town began to make more of an impact going forward, Sears hitting a shot which was deflected behind before the ex-West Ham man sent Jackson away on the left. However, the summer signing from Accrington chose to cut back and was unable to find a team-mate when a shot was probably a better option.

As the game moved towards its final quarter of an hour the Blues began get back on top, showing more control in their play than earlier in the half and with Jackson causing a few early problems to the Royals’ defence, which had hardly looked a well-drilled outfit throughout.

On 75 Spence did well to bring the ball into the area from the right before hitting a shot which Jaakkola blocked.

After Chambers had made an important challenge on Barrow on the right of the Blues’ box, Reading replaced O’Shea with one-time Town trialist John Swift.

With Reading increasingly pushing men forward, Edwards sent Jackson away into space running in on goal in the 78th minute but Tyler Blackett did well to get across to take the ball away from the pacy frontman.

Sears, back to being a key man under Lambert, was replaced by Danny Rowe with eight minutes remaining and was warmly applauded off by the Town support. Soon after Reading swapped Liam Kelly for Marc McNulty.

With six minutes remaining the Royals equalised for the second time. Leandro Bacuna sent over a deep cross from the left and Meite, who hadn’t been tracked, headed past Bialkowski at the far post.

Spence was booked for a foul on Barrow with the home side now having momentum and their fans behind them.

The Blues were were forced to defend resolutely to see out four minutes of injury time, although the Royals might have won it when the ball was cut back to Baldock but his shot from the edge of the box arced deep into the stand behind the goal.

Moments later, referee Bond’s whistle ended an entertaining contest which Town will feel should have been the first victory of the Lambert era.

They were made to rue failing to take their chances in the first half with the Royals unlikely to have come back had it been 3-1 at the break. As it was, Reading were the better team in the second half even if they didn’t create too many chances.

Manager Lambert will be unhappy with the Reading equaliser with Knudsen appearing to have lost his man leaving Matthew Pennington, who may also feel he should have dealt with the cross, with two players at the far post, the second of whom was able to nod home.

While the result was ultimately disappointing, Town played as well as they have for a while in the first half and the two displays and draws under Lambert have shown an improvement and will have given fans some hope that their side can climb out of the relegation zone despite their current parlous position.

The Blues, who remain bottom still five points behind the four sides above them, are next in action against West Brom in a live Sky game on Friday 23rd November.

Reading: Jaakkola, Yiadom, O’Shea (Swift 77), Moore (c), Blackett, Rinomhota (McCleary 46), Bacuna, Kelly (McNulty 83), Barrow, Meite, Baldock. Unused: Gunter, Aluko, Ilori, Walker.

Town: Bialkowski, Spence, Chambers (c), Pennington, Knudsen, Skuse, Downes, Chalobah, Edwards, Sears (Rowe 82), Roberts (Jackson 60). Unused: Gerken, Donacien, Dozzell, Edun, Lankester. Referee: Darren Bond (Lancashire). Att: 14,952 (Town: 1,887).

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jas0999 added 17:24 - Nov 10
Another very small step in the right direction. Vastly improved performance in the first half, perhaps not quite so good in the second. What Lambert has achieved with these players in two weeks is remarkable ...

... but yet, this is a very frustrating result. If we’d have held on last week and this, we’d have been a point from safety. As it is, we remain five points away with a very tough list of fixtures after the International break. One win in seventeen this season tells its own story.

This situation remains a real concern, but at least we are playing better, despite the results remaining somewhat average. Put simply, we need to win games.

Yet, Lambert is making a real difference.

agravenor added 17:24 - Nov 10
Well done PL and the lads. Very frustrating to come away with just a point, we need to start winning these ones!

COYB, we can do this!

martin587 added 17:25 - Nov 10
Absolutely gutted.First half was the best so far this season.Pushed forward and chased every ball.well deserved the 2-1 lead at HT.
Second half I felt we took our foot of the peddle and inevitably conceded once again.
Overall I was pleased although three points were there for the taking.Promising signs ahead.shame PL was not here at the start of the season.

WhoisJimmyJuan added 17:26 - Nov 10
Slowly getting better folks. Even if we go down I think we might, just might, have the right manager. Well done to you fans who braved the rain today. I salute you. Not that I'm allowed to comment according to Diss Boy if I didn't go.

blueboy1981 added 17:27 - Nov 10
Sorry folks - BUT the brutal reality is, with or without Paul Lambert, we are the worse team in the Championship, the table doesn't lie.

PL will sort it - but anything above relegation will be a monumental miracle. Certain players are lacking in what it requires in the Championship, and disappeared second half.

TimmyH added 17:29 - Nov 10
Didn't go today but well done all who travelled again a great credit to the club. Positives and negatives by the sound of it today, positives sounded like we played really well first half with a few stand out performances particularly from Flynn Downes, negatives being again can't control a match or be the better team for most of the game and end up nearly losing it at the death. We've forgotten how to win games, 1 in 17 is diabolical (as we not not down to Mr Lambert who inherited this squad).

Sadly just drawing games won't get us anywhere...certainly Improvement in the last 2 performances under Lambert but we must remember we've only played Reading and Preston. 2 weeks nearer the January transfer window when we get back to playing...

Bluearmy_81 added 17:30 - Nov 10
Good that we're playing better but it has to translate to points on the board. #Evansout

blueboy1981 added 17:31 - Nov 10
Games continue to come and go - but WINS don't - a key requisite to any chance of survival, and NOW.

blueboy1981 added 17:32 - Nov 10
........ before anyone disagrees - One win in 17 ....... ???

Dissboyitfc added 17:34 - Nov 10
Really good first half, could have lead by more at half time! Reading were poor first 45 Second half we ran out of steam, over the 90 probably a fair result. Roberts will only get better as well. Sears is like a new player.

Eeyore added 17:34 - Nov 10
Jordan Rhodes is a good player. Came on in 88th minute and scored 2 goals. If only he was an Ipswich player! .......what? He once was? We sold him? You’re joking!?

jonny100970 added 17:34 - Nov 10
Just come away from the game today and although frustrated by the end result, another late 2 points dropped, I can't fault the effort and commitment in any way. The 1st half was the best we've played for a long, long time, confident, slick passing, pressing the ball when we lost possession, creating chances and keeping the ball largely on the deck. The only fault was not converting more of the chances we created, though largely down to their keepers excellent saves.
2nd half we tired and didn't have a holding midfielder to bring on which may have changed things, gaps opened and it did look like the equalizer was coming.
Paul Lambert has obviously transformed confidence and attitudes 100% in a short space of time, and with a signing or two in January we can definitely compete with this squad.
In summary, well played boys, most fans I think won't fault the team when they give 110% and play proper football as they did today.
Noone less than 7/10 but Knudsen, Roberts, Sears and Downes all excellent.

MVBlue added 17:44 - Nov 10
Possible correction needed, a third goal might well have been enough..

"From there they had chances to make it 3-1 and a second Blues goal might well have been enough to end the hopes of a Royals side looking frustrated and low on confidence."

Nobbysnuts added 17:58 - Nov 10
Shame. We really needed this win. It's what they call in the trade a six pointer and if we can't beat teams around us who are also struggling then we are well and truly up sh#t creek without a paddle. Relegation is 100% im afraid.This season can't be saved it's to late.
It will be a case of bouncing straight back next season. Hopefully Paul Lambert will stay with us and not get his head turned by a better offer.

Steve_ITFC_Sweden added 18:01 - Nov 10
If only we'd got that third goal in the first half, we'd have walked it. As it was, a draw was a fair result in the end. I like the fact we didn't play hoofball first half but looked like quite a composed, ball-playing team. Reading were always going to come back in the second, and it's a pity we just couldn't hang on. But we're not down yet. Kudos to the excellent away fans. Keep up the support. We're going to need it.

ShropshireBluenago09 added 18:02 - Nov 10
Improvement- good pass and move periods and often direct simple passes. Spence is a good footballer but lacks concentration at key moments. He was at fault for the 1st. Still need Huws creativity and a striker to step up,as Jackson is not up to it.

Dissboyitfc added 18:04 - Nov 10
When we were up 2-1 it was great mocking the home fans, been a while since we really took the game to the opposition.

blue86 added 18:06 - Nov 10
was not at the game, but from what i heard on radio suffolk, it sounded like we played well. its just annoying we didnt take all three points, after doing so well. one thing is for sure though, we are defo better under lambert! just hope in jan we bring in some quality we are crying out for. still a big ask to avoid the drop though, but we live in hope. coyb

Henrietta_R_Hippo added 18:07 - Nov 10
Yes kudos to PL's positivity supplanting itself with the lads and much improvement to spot as a team (over Hurst) once again.
But although up until their 84 min equalizer we had look largely "reasonable" comfortable... hmmmm... yes I know it's ever so hard to remove 'em epoxy-glued-on bluentinted specs, but if you do please (as I have) well then you also simply must admit to the FACT that we really winded up being unmistakably lucky to get just the 1 point in the end , ALL things considered that is.

As not only was Sears's 2-1 goal an incredible early Christmas gift courtesy of the shaky Reading defense, but of course much much more fortuitous the case that Reading could & should easily have been awarded 2 penalties!
I.E. in the opening half ExSkuseMe CLEARLY stick out his outstretched leg right on the chalk-line of our penalty area ane thus obstruct & fouls Moe Barrow ...couldn't bloody believe our luck as to how both the ref and the linesman missed that one, and furthermore instead resolved to book the Reading player???!!! And secondly Knudsy FLAILING arm clearly handles the ball inside the 6 yard box in the 2nd half where you once again couldn't really "objectively" objected had the ref pointed to the spot.
And ohhh last but not least after the 2-2 goal Reading seriously woke up in the end and had a flurry of late chances good chances, among which Baldock especially really should have scored at least once imho.

We take the point THOUGH, and look primarily at the positives --- which lo and behold includes a fabulous added-time comeback & 96 minutes winning goal from arch foe Norwich which enable us to gain 1 point on Millwall!!! LOL --- although in the process I strongly advice that we should not forget the inherent & visible weakness / dysfunctioning of today's opponent, same as with fellow strugglers Preston's somewhat even below par performance & 10 men for 15+ minutes last week... and as such I fear we might very well come to regret at some later stage of the season not having taking more than a puny combined 2 points from these 2 crucial "6 pointer" bottom team contests! Cause obviously, on paper at least, big boys WBA next will be much much tougher cookie to "shine" against than either of these latest 2 struggling opponents.

1psw1ch added 18:11 - Nov 10
things just not going our way at all but we will get out of this rut,, pity we did,nt nab paul lambert at the start of the season cause we would,nt be bottom of the table ,,,come on you blues

runaround added 18:27 - Nov 10
2 points dropped. First 30 minutes we were excellent and should have had the game down up & second half although under pressure we were dealing with it quite well until we fell asleep with a long ball and let the guy have a free header at goal.
Things are definitely getting better under Lambert but we need to turn these performances into wins or it will be too little too late. The lack of creating & taking chances is the problem now solve that & we stay up but it’s easier said than done. Players & manager doing their best but damage was done earlier

marco007 added 18:33 - Nov 10
Knudson is a bloody liability 😥

Elizabeth added 18:36 - Nov 10
Feyore , yes Jordan Rhodes was our player but Roy Keane had a huge disagreement with his father and he left taking Jordan with him ! The beginning of a slippery slope for our football team !
I’m confident that PL will turn this round when new faces arrive in January!
We really need to work on set pieces , this seems to be our weakness!
International break now so more hard work in training !


Felstow1978 added 18:46 - Nov 10
Quarter to seven and only 23 posts so far. You can tell how disappointed the moaners are that the Town didn't lose today ... lost for words

Dissboyitfc added 18:51 - Nov 10
All this talk of us being 100% relegated is utter Rubbish! I am sure glad the team will keep going until it’s mathematically impossible to avoid the drop. No team ever got relegated in November. And no team has ever won promotion in November! It’s gonna be tough no doubt about it, but with 29 games to go, the assumption we are definitely relegated is naive in the extreme. 87 points still up for grabs. From what I have seen of Lamberts first 2 games I do think we will grab some of those 87, will we get enough, who knows I plan to support the team 100%. And remain positively behind our team.

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