Taylor earns Royals first win
Ipswich Town 0
The Royals picked up their first win of the season with a resolute display in front of their home fans this afternoon.
Jake Taylor's first half finish, his first for the Royals, proved the difference, the midfielder sneaking in to turn a weak header back past Ipswich stopper Dean Gerken from a tight angle.
Shaun Cummings rescued the Royals in injury time, heading Tyrone Mings' header off the line and against the underside of his own crossbar, but the Royals were certainly worthy of their win and continue their unbeaten start to 2014-15.
Nigel Adkins fielded 12 Academy products in his 18-man squad, including an all-Academy substitutes' bench, and he handed two their professional debut en route to victory - Jake Cooper and Jack Stacey entering the fray in the final stages, while Michael Hector won all the plaudits with a superb display at the back.
- Taylor opens the scoring with his first Royals goal
- Cooper & Stacey comes on for professional debuts
- Cummings heads Mings effort off the line in injury time
- Hector wins MOTM with masterful defensive display
Reading: Federici, Gunter (c), Cummings, Pearce, Hector; Obita, Akpan, Taylor (Stacey 90), Blackman (Cooper 86), Cox (Edwards 67), Pogrebnyak.
Subs not used: McCarthy, Tshibola, Kuhl, Tanner.
Yellow: Cox, Hector
Ipswich Town: Gerken, Mings, Chambers (c), Smith, Berra, Skuse, Tabb (Bajner 82), Hyam, Hewitt (Anderson HT), Murphy, McGoldrick (Sammon 70).
Subs not used: Bialkowski, Parr, Bru, Wordsworth.
Yellow: Berra, Mings, Smith
Referee: Mr S Hooper
Attendance: 17, 198 (1,581 away)
An early opening presented itself to Simon Cox, who stole possession down the right side of the penalty area and scuttled in towards goal, but his effort from a tight angle was blocked before Dean Gerken could be troubled.
Nick Blackman then tried his luck from range, but the ball skidded wide and it took a goalline clearance at the other end from Jordan Obita to prevent David McGoldrick from scrambling home Jay Tabb's floated corner.
20 minutes gone and Pavel Pogrebnyak got some space to run into down the left. Edging into the area, he twisted past his man and pulled the ball back for Cox, but the ball was intercepted before it could reach the Royals' full league debutant.
And the Royals came close again soon after when a the ball was won back on the left, it span to the feet of Pogrebnyak, who nudged the ball into the path of Cox. He held the ball up and teed up Taylor, whose placed effort deflected wide and behind for a corner.
Taylor was to get his maiden goal though moments later. A long ball down the left was chased after by the Royals midfielder and his pressure forced Christophe Berra into a mistake. His backward header didn't have enough on it to take it through to Gerken and the persistent Taylor nipped in and quite brilliantly toed a half-volley past the Town stopper from a tight angle, the ball dribbling home to the Royals fans' sheer delight.
Nigel Adkins' men looked dangerous once in the final third and Nick Blackman was dragged back before he could release Jordan Obita down the left. Berra went into the referee's book, but the Royals were rewarded with only a free kick that Pogrebnyak hammered into the wall.
Two minutes if injury time were signalled and Chris Gunter robbed Tabb of the ball before delivering a tasty cross that earned the hosts a corner in the dying stages of the half, but Reading couldn't get another before the break.
Five minutes into the second half and a superb sequence of passes in and around the Ipswich box led to another tantalising cross from Gunter, which was headed behind by Luke Chambers.
David McGoldrick was causing the main threat at the other end and his quick feet almost opened up an opportunity for Murphy, only for his shot to be charged down by two Reading men on the edge of the area.
Cox and Mings tussled and both were booked, then on the hour mark Tabb's deep free kick was headed on and the ball dropped to Murphy who the stretch toed the ball wide of Adam Federici on the half volley but also wide of the bottom left corner.
Moments later a superb ball from midfield set McGoldrick away down the middle, but Hector tenaciously stayed with the striker and did enough to force him wide and concede only a corner.
Jordan Obita created a half chance with 20 minutes remaining. Beating his man down the left, he floated a lovely deep cross towards Blackman who fizzed the ball back into the six yard box towards Pogrebnyak. But Tommy Smith beat the Russian to it to hack clear.
Tommy Smith was cautioned for dragging Pogrebnyak to the ground as the striker scuttled deep into Ipswich territory, but Ipswich were still posing a threat and Mick McCarthy brought on new acquisition Conor Sammon for the final stages.
Sammon it was who won a free kick with nine minutes left, the substitute blocked off by Hector 22 yards out. But the wall did its job and the masterful Hector made amends by seeing the ball out for a goal kick to the tune of his name being sung by the East Stand.
Nigel Adkins brought on 19-year-old Jake Cooper for the final four minutes, looking to add more height to his back line with the Academy centre-half making his professional debut. Then Jack Stacey was handed his professional debut too, coming on for Taylor in the final minute of normal time.
In the first of four minutes of injury time, Ipswich came inches away from an equaliser. Mings rose to get a powerful header to an inswinging corner but Cummings nodded it onto the underside of the crossbar from on the goalline to the Royals' relief.
A Hector headed clearance deep into added time gave Pogrebnyak the chance to break and the Russian cut inside onto his left boot but couldn't get a shot away that might have sealed the victory.
No matter, because a Jake Cooper headed clearance proved to be the last touch of the game and a young, inexperienced Royals side had earned their first win of this new season in fine style.