Reading FC Match Report: 2016/2017 Season - Championship
READING 2 IPSWICH 1
Reading: G McCleary (pen 45), D Williams (pen 90)
Ipswich: B Pitman (pen 50)
A stoppage time penalty from Danny Williams pushed the Royals temporarily into third spot in the Championship. It was a fitting climax to game full of controversy in which referee Simpson awarded three penalties. Ipswich had worked hard to stifle Reading’s attempts to pass their way through midfield from the back but McCleary gave Reading the lead from the spot on the stroke of half time. Four minutes in to second half Ipswich were level through Pitman also from the penalty spot. Until the award of the third penalty the game hung in the balance as Ipswich came back strongly in the second half. It must have been devastating for Ipswich who must have thought they had done enough to take point.
There can be no doubt Reading had the better of the first half in which Beerens tormented the Ipswich defence down the left flank with his pace a ball control. It took a correct but harsh decision from Simpson to give Reading the opportunity to take a half time lead from the penalty spot. Blackett’s cross hit Ward’s raised arm from close range and the referee pointed to the spot without hesitation. McCleary stroked the spot kick calmly into the net in spite of the antics of Bailkowski on the line. Uncertainty in the Reading back four almost presented Ipswich with an early lead when Sears pounced on an error to draw a fine one-handed save from Al Habsi. A clearance from Chambers struck Beerens and ran kindly for the Reading winger who found himself with only Bialkowski to beat. Unselfishly he tried to slip the ball square to Kermorgant for a simple tap in but the Ipswich ‘keeper was smartly out to make a crucial save. Evans had a good chance after nine minutes when Beerens got behind the visitors defence to deliver a gem of a cross. Evans timed his leap badly and unchallenged nodded the ball over from close range. Bailkowski was in great form and made another good save from Beerens who cut inside and hit a ferocious shoot which was probably a little too close to the ‘keeper. Ipswich pressed hard when Reading tried to play out from the back and the home fans became restless as Al Habsi, under instructions not to hit long balls, was unable to find a Reading player anywhere in his own half who was not tightly marked. Evans could easily have been sent off when he broke out of defence and having lost control of the ball on the half way line tried to retrieve it with an ugly late lunge and was lucky only to receive a yellow card.
Once again Reading conceded straight after half time when Blackett was penalised for nudge on Pitman at the far post. It was not clear how much contact there had been or whether Pitman might have reached the ball, but there was no doubt about the way Pitman gleefully hammered in the penalty to level the score. Ipswich were now enjoying more possession and Al Habsi pulled off a good save after Ward spun past two Reading defenders and hit a good shot all in one movement. The introduction of Quinn and Swift in place of Evans and McCleary gave Reading more of a cutting edge. Quinn’s energy and drive had Ipswich back-pedalling and Swift hit crisp passes and almost caught out Bailkoski with a snap shot from just outside the box. Pitman broke clear but his shot was tame and never looked likely to beat Al Habsi. A draw seemed imminent as stoppage time ticked away until Reading mounted one final attack and won a corner. After two warnings and two attempts at taking the corner Knudsen naively grabbed Van den Berg’s shirt and Reading were awarded another penalty. Nobody seemed to want take responsibility for the kick until Danny Williams showed character and stepped up to finish the job. It was as good a penalty as you could wish for and sent the away fans towards the exit as the home fans celebrated wildly a victory that had seemed unlikely.
Beerens played well and picked up the Sky Man of the Match award but Van den Berg was equally impressive playing from of the back four. On more than one occasion he read the situation well and snuffed out the danger with a timely challenge. It was not a great performance but the results hare coming and there are flashes of promising play. It was pity another striker could not be signed before the window closed. There were plenty of good balls played into the box this evening but nobody there to take advantage of them.
This Championship game took place 440 days ago in the 2016/2017 season.