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Match Reports

Royals' unbeaten streak ended in Ipswich

Two first half goals enough to earn Mick McCarthy's

16 December 2017

A well-organised Ipswich outfit capitalised on two early goals to secure all three points at Portman Road this afternoon, as the Royals fell to their first defeat in four we

  • Connolly hands the hosts a third minute lead with a low scuffed finish
  • Against the run of play, Garner heads home a second for the hosts from close range
  • Aluko, Barrow and Edwards go close, but the Royals can't find a reply.

Royals boss Jaap Stam made one change to the starting line-up, bringing in Tyler Blackett for Liam Kelly who dropped to the bench. Omar Richards was also named as a substitute as Adrian Popa missed out. 

It took a diving header from Bartosz Bialkowski to cut out a ball from the back that looked to find the run of Kermorgant or Barrow in the openingf stages. But moments later, the hosts took the lead. Callum Connolly scuttled onto a one two and scuffed an early shot wide of the dive of Mannone and inside the bottom right corner.

Moments later, Martyn Waghorn muscled Aluko off theb ball swept a shot wide of the right post as Ipswich looked to capitalise further on their early advantage.

Two early bookings went against the Royals too - both Barrow and Bacuna being booked seemingly for showing their frustration at decisions by referee Peter Bankes. Aluko got the chance to deliver a meaningful inswining ball into the box from a set piece and duly did so, but no-one could get a touch as it bounced just wide of the left upright.

The visitors began to characteristcally dominate possession and a floated cross from the right found Kermorgant who teed up Aluko for a shot from the edge of the box - but the effort fizzed just wide of the bottom right corner.

Reading were playing some tidy football and worked a great opportunity when Moore swept the ball out to Gunter who beat his man and raced in behind the back line. He cut the ball back to Edwards who shot at goal and beat Bialkowski but Spence blocked it on the line to deflect it behind for a corner. That dead ball was delivered low into the feet f Kermorgant who hooked a first time shot at goal - which was charged down by a Town defence under pressure.

It was so close to 1-1 soon after, Barrow breaking the offside trap and playing an early ball across to Kermorgant to tap home - only for Webster to get a toe to the ball to turn it behind before it could arrive at the Frenchman's feet.



But completely against the run of play, Mick McCarthy's men had a second. A corner from the right was flicked on by an unmarked Webster at the near post and Joe Garner was in the right place at the right time to head past Mannone from five yards out.

Reding resumed total control off the ball again and Van den Berg wound up a shot that was half charged down, before Liam Moore tried a hooked overhead on the follow up to no avail.

Bacuna arrowed an effort from range harmlessly wide and in injury time in the first half drove over from 25 yards out, but Ipswich ended the half strongly with a left-footed effort flying over Mannone's crossbar.

Half time | Ipswich Town 2-0 Reading

Waghorn connected with a corner that dropped to him inside the Royals box in the opening minute of the second half, but an orange shirt was there to charge it down before Mannone could be forced into action.

Barrow was able to use his pace to beat his man down the left flank soon after, but Bialkowski showed firm hands to palm his low cross away to safety at his near post.

But Town nearly made it 3-0 when, after a lengthy stoppage for a head wound to McShane - who was off the pitch as a free kick was taken - it took a good Liam Moore block to repel a Celina drive from a cleverly worked set piece.

Bialkowski plucked a downward header from Moore out of the sky as it bounced up off the Portman Road pitch and floated towards goal. Then Bacuna played a nice cross to the far post where Barrow volleyed a difficult chance wide.



Mannone had to save well from Spence after he beat Barrow on the touchline and cut inside Moore to pull the trigger - the Italian stayed big to save well. And Connolly brilliantly danced his way into the Reading box before firing high over the crossbar from a good position.

The Royals threw on Liam Kelly and Jon Dadi Bodvarsson in an attempt to find a route back into a game which was heading towards a home win.

But the home side defended their lead resolutely despite the Royals' best efforts to mount a comeback.

Full time | Ipswich Town 2-0 Reading

Ipswich Town: Bialkowski, Spence, Chambers, Webster, Knudsen, Ward, Garner (Sears 90), Skuse (Bru HT), Connolly, Celina (Iorfa 89), Waghorn.
Subs: Crowe, Smith, Bishop, McGoldrick.
Yellow: Waghorn. Knudsen, Webster
Goals: Connolly 3, Garner 26

Reading: Mannone, Gunter, Blackett (Kelly 74), McShane (c), Moore, Van den Berg, Edwards, Bacuna, Aluko (Bodvarsson 77), Barrow, Kermorgant.
Subs: Jaakkola, Richards, Ilori, Clement, Beerens.
Yellow: Barrow, Bacuna, McShane, Edwards

Referee: Mr P Bankes
Att: 13,832 (510 away)


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