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15:39 21st February 2015

Royals raid Portman Road fortress

  • Mackie thunders Royals into 14th min lead
  • Chalobah sees good free kick saved
  • Federici saves injury time strike from Murphy
  • Royals win against best home team in division
Reading deservedly took all three points from the team with the best home record in the division thanks to Jamie Mackie's first half strike at Portman Road and a resolute defensive display from back to front.

The Royals took the lead when Mackie pulled the trigger from 25 yards out and he drilled a low effort past the surprised Bartosz Bialkowski and into the bottom left corner of the Ipswich goal.

Federici had to cleanly save strikes from the division's top scorer Daryl Murphy, Freddie Sears, Kevin Bru and substitute Paul Anderson, while Chalobah nearly doubled the lead from a free kick that Bialkowski did well to turn wide.

But the Reading defence largely restricted Mick McCarthy's men to shots from distance and defended superbly from start to finish, fully deserving their clean sheet and a victory that moved us further away from trouble.

Ipswich: Bialkowski, Mings, Chambers (c), Smith, Berra, Skuse, Tabb (Anderson 65), Bru, Bishop (Parr 65), Sears (Varney 79), Murphy.
Subs: Gerken, Stewart, Chaplow, Clarke.
Yellow: Bru

Reading: Federici, Kelly, Obita, Pearce (c), Hector, Chalobah, Williams, Mackie (Cooper 90), Robson-Kanu (McCleary 76), Cox (Akpan 76), Pogrebnyak.
Subs: Andersen, Cooper, Norwood, Blackman, Yakubu.
Yellow: Obita
Att: 21,298 (433 away)

First Half

Cox was allowed to turn in midfield in the opening minutes and he scampered towards the edge of the Ipswich box, but his threaded ball through to Pogrebnyak was cut out before the big Russian to race onto it.

But Daryl Murphy almost added to his sizeable tally for the season when he scuttled forward and, benefitting from a rebound that fell back into his path, he arrowed a low effort on target only for Federici to save comfortably.

10 minutes in and Federici got down well to gather in a Kevin Bru effort from distance, then Murphy made some progress down the left and crossed to the head of Sears at the near post but his glancing header skimmed well wide of the target.

Then, out of nowhere, Reading took the lead. Jamie Mackie unleashed a right-footed strike from 25 yards out and the ball skidded past Bartosz Bialkowski and into the bottom left corner. Mackie ran back to celebrate with the away fans and Steve Clarke's side had an early lead.

Mackie then almost turned provider as Reading broke well down the right. He found Robson-Kanu inside him and the forward's first touch lined him up to shoot left-footed, but HRK slipped and the effort whistled over the bar.

Former Royal Jay Tabb had a good opportunity to level midway through the half when he connected unmarked with a far post header, but he couldn't direct Sears' cross anywhere other than the wrong side of the woodwork.

At the other end though, Robson-Kanu launched a long ball towards Cox and Williams who were scampering in on goal unwatched. But Cox's touch, on the stretch, couldn't bring the ball under enough control to prevent Bialkowski coming off his line to collect and snuff out the danger.

It took a good Pearce block to deny Sears a headed equaliser when he aimed Murphy's header back across goal towards Federici's goal from close range, but the Royals were holding firm against the side with the best home record in the division.

Second half

Town came out for the second half full of intent and Sears sliced wide early on. But it was Reading who came close to a second soon after.

Danny Williams' quick feet won a free kick on the edge of the box and Chalobah arced it round the wall only to be denied by a very good low save from Bialkowski, who turned it round his left post.

Bru stung the palms of Federici as Ipswich broke at pace and in numbers from a Royals corner, then Tabb scurried onto a ball over the top but his low cross flashed across the Royals box untouched.

Teddy Bishop's deflected shot whistled just wide of the bottom left corner as the home crowd got behind their side, who were coming closer to finding a leveller through a sustained spell of pressure.

Mick McCarthy brought on Paul Anderson and Jonathan Parr and it was Anderson who next troubled Federici, racing onto a good flick from Murphy but firing straight at Federici after Kelly had narrowed the angle.

Federici then had to cleanly collect a Sears flick at the near post that thankfully ended up in the Aussie's arms after Anderson had cut the ball back from the byline.

With eight minutes left on the clock, Hector tripped substitute Luke Varney on the edge of the Royals' area and conceded a free kick in a dangerous position. But Anderson fired over and Reading's lead remained in tact.

And moments later, a break away led by Williams almost handed Reading the cushion of a second; McCleary's shot deflected into the path of Mackie who beat his man but scuffed his shot wide.

Jake Cooper came off the bench at the start of four added minutes of injury time as Steve Clarke's side looked to see the game out, but Federici had to parry a late Murphy strike and then the Royals scrambled the ball away from the resultant corner.

The final whistle sounded and Reading had picked up another very impressive away result to move clearer of trouble at the foot of the Championship table.