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Report | Méïté's late leveller earns point for Royals

Striker scores brace in frantic 2-2 draw against Ipswich

10 November 2018

Yakou Méïté scored a brace as the Royals secured a point with a 2-2 draw against Ipswich Town on Saturday afternoon.

  • Edwards powers Ipswich ahead, before Méïté equalises with bicycle kick
  • Sears strikes soon after to restore Ipswich's lead
  • Barrow shot saved at point-blank range by Bialkowski
  • Méïté heads in Bacuna's cross six minutes from time to equalise for Royals

Anssi Jaakkola was fit enough to play and returned between the posts in the only change for the Royals after last week's victory at home to Bristol City. Yakou Méïté was also passed fit and led the line from the start against Ipswich Town.

Prior to kick-off, The Last Post rang out around Madejski Stadium before a minute's silence was observed in remembrance of those to serve their country in battle.

On an afternoon where the rain was pelting down in RG2, the visitors started the game with the lion's share of possession - with the ball looking difficult to control on a slippery surface.

The opener came with only four minutes elapsed. Jonas Knudsen lobbed a long throw into the area, headed away by Andy Yiadom but only into the path of Gwion Edwards waiting on the edge of the box. The winger lashed a lethal strike past Jaakkola into the bottom corner, leaving the goalkeeper with little chance of reaching it.

Just two minutes later, however, the Royals were level with their first foray forward. Sam Baldock went on a lung-busting run on the left flank, beat his man to it and hung up a cross into the area. 

Yakou Méïté was waiting for it, and improvised with a fantastic overhead kick to beat Bartosz Bialkowski at his near post to score his fifth in as many games.

Before either team could settle into a rhythm, Ipswich found themselves ahead again. A through-ball that skidded towards goal allowed Freddie Sears to slip in on goal, Jaakkola lost his footing while narrowing the angle and the striker slotted in from 12 yards for a third goal in frantic opening 10 minutes in RG2. 

Up the other end, Mo Barrow used his trickery to wriggle his way into the area - getting brought down in the box appealing for a penalty. The referee saw the incident differently, however, giving a free-kick to Ipswich and taking Barrow's name in his notebook.

Sears almost added his second midway through the first period, a deft cross coming in from Flynn Downes which Sears poked towards goal while spinning, with Jaakkola at full stretch to tip around the post.

Town kept up the pressure on the Reading defence, with Knudsen firing a low cross trying to reach Edwards at the back post - with the ball narrowly evading the Wales international as the Royals looked under the cosh.

Reading still looked to attack at every opportunity, though, with Yiadom breaking on the right and feeding Barrow to cross. Méïté got to it first under the challenge of Luke Chambers, but couldn't generate the power to take it past Bialkowski.

As time ticked on, Ipswich advanced again with Edwards playing a ball behind the defence for Jordan Roberts to chase. He cut inside and shot in the box, but Jaakkola was equal to it, diving to his right to parry.

Ipswich skipper Chambers had to wrestle Barrow to the ground in midfield to stop the winger getting away from him in first-half stoppage time, with the defender seeing yellow for clearly stopping what could have been a profitable break for the Royals.

Reading saw more of the ball towards the end of the half, probing for a second equaliser but Ipswich were resolute in their defending, going in a goal to the good at the break.

Half-time | Reading 1-2 Ipswich Town

Paul Clement switched up his formation at the break, adding an extra striker with Baldock coming into the middle. Garath McCleary was introduced for Andy Rinomhota and took his place.

A neat bit of interplay in midfield saw Baldock track back and spot Méïté on the run, he found the ball through with the Ivorian getting behind the defence, but the flag went up for offside.

The Royals so nearly drew level after a cross was floated into the area with Barrow waiting at the far post, he shot on the volley but Bialkowski raced across goal to get a vital block in on the Gambia international.

Reading upped the pressure on the visitors, with Ipswich clinging onto their narrow advantage in RG2. Barrow played low to Méïté in the area, who unfortunately slipped as he controlled, before Bacuna's strike from the D was blocked soon after.

A fourth goal in the game would have been pivotal in defining outcome fo the result on Saturday afternoon, and it was the home side who looked the more likely as they pressed in the second period.

The visitors were searching for the goal that would seal victory themselves, with Jordan Spence finding himself in space in the Reading box. He looked to test Jaakkola but could only arrow a shot straight at the big Finn.

John Swift was brought on for John O'Shea heading into the final 15 minutes, with the Royals throwing everything at earning a point against the Tractor Boys.

Tyler Blackett had to time a tackle perfectly to stop substitute Kayden Jackson having a one-on-one chance at goal, with the defender sprinting 35 yards to put in a superb sliding challenge on the Town man.

The final roll of the dice came with Marc McNulty introduced for the Royals, but it was Méïté who would strike again to level for the home side heading into the closing stages.

Bacuna lofted a superb ball over the top of the Town defence, with Méïté rising highest and directing a header into the bottom corner past the despairing Bialkowski in goal with six minutes left on the clock.

The game opened up in the closing stages, McCleary bursting into the area and pulling back for Baldock in a good position in the final minute of normal time. He struck first-time but only managed to clear the bar in a superb chance for the Royals.

With only 45 seconds left in added time, McCleary provided Baldock with another chance on the edge of the box. The striker fired a curling effort from 18 yards, but once again cleared the woodwork as the points were shared in RG2.

Full-time | Reading 2-2 Ipswich Town

Reading: Jaakkola, Yiadom, Blackett, Moore (c), O'Shea (Swift 77), Rinomhota (McCleary HT), Bacuna, Kelly (McNulty 83), Barrow, Baldock, Méïté.
Subs: Walker, Gunter, Aluko, Ilori.
Goals: Méïté 7, 84

Ipswich Town: Bialkowski, Spence, Chambers, Pennington, Knudsen, Chalobah, Skuse, Downes, Edwards, Roberts (Jackson 60), Sears (Rowe 82).
Subs: Gerken, Donacien, Dozzell, Edun, Lankester.
Goals: Edwards 5, Sears 11

Referee: Mr D Bond
Att: 14,952 (1,887 away fans)

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