Penalties either side of half time looked like they would decide a closely-fought encounter and both Ipswich and the Royals would share the spoils in front of the Sky Sports cameras on Friday night...until Danny Williams hammered home from the spot for a third time to hand Jaap Stam's men a last gasp victory!
Ali Al Habsi had saved well from Freddie Sears at one end, while Bartosz Bialkowski had cleverly read a Roy Beerens ball looking for Kermorgant, when the winger had found himself in a good position inside the Ipswich box – but the deadlock was broken when Grant Ward was adjudged to have handled Tyler Blackett’s cross and Garath McCleary stroked home from the spot.
But Mick McCarthy's side were level only five minutes into the second half when Pitman won and converted a penalty, Blackett adjudged to have nudged the Ipswich striker at the back post. And although there were chances to steal it for both teams, it took a third penalty kick to separate the sides - Joey Van den Berg was hauled down in the area in injury time and Williams slammed past Bialkowski for the win!
Jaap Stam stuck with the same side that won in Cardiff before the international break, naming the same 18 who had earned all three points a fortnight before. Tyler Blackett was to make his Madejski Stadium debut.
The game began at a lively pace, with chances at both ends of the pitch. First, Freddie Sears took a touch to control a high ball and then pulled the trigger from the edge of the box. It took an acrobatic save from Ali Al Habsi to push the striker’s effort away from its intended target.
Then, at the other end, a chance fell for Roy Beerens who found himself one on one with goalkeeper Bartosz Bialkowski. He tried to square the ball with his first touch, looking for Yann Kermorgant, but the Ipswich keeper read it and intercepted well.
Midway though the half, Reading carved out another chance. Beerens cut inside from the left and opened up a shooting chance, drilling the ball with a powerful right-footed effort that Bialkowski did well to save low to his left.
McCleary’s floated corner sailed to the back post with ten minutes of the half remaining, but Moore couldn’t get a head to it and Van den Berg wound up to volley but couldn’t time it right to connect.
In injury time in the first half, Reading broke the deadlock. Tyler Blackett looked to deliver a first time cross from the left and it struck the arm of Grant Ward just inside the area. Referee Jeremy Simpson pointed to the spot immediately and Garath McCleary sent Bialkowski the wrong way to make it 1-0 on the stroke of half-time.
Half-time: Reading 1-0 Ipswich Town
The referee evened things up just four minutes into the second half. An up and under cross from the left dropped at the far post where Pitman tumbled to the turf. Mr Simpson pointed to the spot, ruling that Blackett had nudged the Town striker and Pitman got up to stroke home the penalty to equalise.
Soon after, Reading had a sniff of a second. Beerens swept a good cross into the middle where McCleary rose and headed goalwards, but Bialkowski saved relatively comfortably in the end.
And Tommy Smith had an even better chance to add to the scoring, when the ball bobbled free from an Ipswich corner and the defender lashed a first time effort over the bar from 10 yards out.
Bialkowski came off his line to smother the ball at the feet of McCleary following good work from Kermorgant in the final third, the substitute John Swift forced a fine save from the Town stopper as a swerving 25 yard effort whistled towards the visitors' goal.
Ipswich posed a threat on the break and Sears made the wrong choice when going it alone instead of playing in Pitman. But penalty box pinball at the other end almost saw McShane divert a fizzed Quinn cross into a crowded area towards goal.
Quinn headed over with seven minutes remaining, Skuse tested Al Habsi's handling from 30 yards but the game was heading for a draw. As four minutes of injury time were being announced, Kermorgant's knock down almost fell for Van den Berg yards out, only for Bialkowski to gather it into his body on the line.
Although both teams pressed hard for a winner, it seemed the game would end in a stalemate - keeping the Royals unbeaten at home in 2016-17. But when a corner floated into the Ipswich area in injury time, Knudsen pulled down Joey Van den Berg and the referee pointed to the spot for a third and final time! Danny Williams stepped up and gave Bialkowski no chance from the spot!
Full-time: Reading 2-1 Ipswich Town
Reading: Al Habsi, Gunter, Blackett (Obita 82), McShane (c), Moore, Van den Berg, Evans (Quinn 59), Williams, McCleary (Swift 66), Beerens, Kermorgant.
Unused subs: Jaakkola, Watson, Harriott, Mendes.
Yellow: Gunter, Moore, Evans, Blackett, Van den Berg.
Goals: McCleary (pen 45), Williams (pen 90)
Ipswich: Bialkowski, Knudsen, Chambers (c), Smith, Berra, Skuse, Bru (Bishop 67), Ward (Varney 86), Douglas, Sears, Pitman.
Unused subs: Gerken, Webster, Lawrence, Grant, Best.
Yellow: Chambers, Knudsen, Berra, Skuse..
Goals: Pitman (pen 50)
Att: 15, 146 (1,070 away)