MATCH REPORT: Ipswich Town 2 Reading 0

Paul Anderson (centre) is congratulated by Christophe Berra (left) and Daryl Murphy (right) after se

Paul Anderson (centre) is congratulated by Christophe Berra (left) and Daryl Murphy (right) after sealing Ipswich Town's 2-0 win over Reading with a stoppage-time goal. PHOTO: Lucy Taylor. - Credit: Lucy taylor

Ipswich v Reading: Ipswich Town produced a superb second half performance to secure a fully deserved 2-0 home win over Reading.

Daryl Murphy broke the deadlock in the 62nd minute when slamming the ball in off the underside of the bar, with substitute Paul Anderson lashing home a fine angled effort in stoppage-time to seal a morale-boosting victory.

The Blues had gone into the game off the back of three successive defeats and winless in six, but – after an even first half short on goalscoring chances – Mick McCarthy’s men really stepped it up a gear.

There were numerous contenders for man-of the-match as Ipswich got back to their organised and spirited best.

Murphy was excellent at both ends of the pitch throughout, while strike partner David McGoldrick was once again heads and shoulders above everyone in terms of his technical ability.

Christophe Berra – bandaged and requiring stitches to head wound afterwards – defended magnificently in the pouring rain, Ryan Tunnicliffe snapped at opposition heels in the middle, half-time substitute Anderson produced his most positive performance in a Blues shirt, while Stephen Hunt was a bungle of energy down the left side.

It’s a result which lifts Town back up to seventh in the table, closing the gap on sixth-place Reading to two points ahead of Tuesday night’s game at a Leeds side winless in seven.

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Neither keeper had much to do in an even first half, each side mustering just one shot on target, with the footballing fare absorbing if not all-action.

Having looked completely devoid of attacking ideas in the limp 1-0 defeat at Millwall the previous weekend, Ipswich did try and get the ball down and play.

One excellent piece of patient, one-touch build-up play led to a golden chance to break the deadlock in the ninth minute. Luke Chambers’ deep cross was nodded back across goal by Murphy at the far post, but the ball bobbled up at just the wrong moment and Hunt was unable to get a proper connection on his shot from 10 yards out and Kasper Gorkss scrambled clear.

It was Ipswich who were breathing a sigh of relief in the 16th minute when Tunnicliffe launched into an unnecessary sliding challenge – from the wrong side – on Jobi McAnuff inside the box. He got none of the ball and, thankfully little of the man, with the referee happy to give a goalkick.

McAnuff’s strong appeals, plus the murmurs around Portman Road, suggested it was a big let-off.

Shortly afterwards, Berra’s clearing header hit the on-rushing Pavel Pogrebnyak and rebounded wide. It could have gone anywhere.

Ipswich continued to try and build lengthy spells of possession and another excellent move, including a fine raking pass from Cole Skuse, ended with Tommy Smith putting a towering far post header just wide.

The game’s first shot on target finally arrived in the 40th minute when David McGoldrick’s 35-yard effort bounced tamely into keeper Alex McCarthy’s hands. It drew ironic cheers from the crowd.

Reading responded with one of their own, Danny Williams’ curling effort from the edge of the box tipped around the post by Dean Gerken.

The half-time introduction of Anderson for Carlos Edwards added some dynamism to the hosts, who came flying out of the traps after the restart.

Hunt never stopped running and was booked when sliding in on keeper McCarthy, the former Town loanee left back-pedalling to prevent McGoldrick’s glancing header from creeping over the line. The challenge was a little late, but the ball was there to be won and the reaction of the Reading players certainly excessive.

It was a moment which lifted the Town players and crowd. And it was no surprise who was at the heart of the move which led to Town breaking the deadlock in the 62nd minute.

Hunt – who had looked dead on his feet moments earlier – drove forwards after seizing on a loose ball, toe-poked a pass on to McGoldrick, he helped nick it into the path of Murphy and the striker slammed an angled shot in off the underside of the bar in front of a delighted Sir Bobby Robson Stand. It was his eighth goal of the season.

Hunt was subbed shortly afterwards to a standing ovation. That’s two league starts for Town now and arguably two man-of-the-match displays.

The increasingly dominant Ipswich had a golden chance to double their lead in the 70th minute when Anderson’s exquisite reverse pass put McGoldrick clear one-on-one. His side-footed effort was well-saved by the legs of former Blues loanee McCarthy.

It could have proved costly as Reading came storming back, only for Aaron Cresswell to produce a magnificent sliding goalline clearance as Jobi McAnuff’s low cross fizzed towards the bottom corner and the lurking Nick Blackman.

Minutes later, Blackman blazed over from 10 yards after his initial shot was superbly blocked by Berra.

Ipswich rode that brief storm and, instead of dropping deep and trying to see out the win as they have done in previous games, they got back on the front foot.

And that tactic was rewarded as the match entered a potentially nervy six minutes of stoppage-time, Anderson receiving a pass from McGoldrick, beating Jonathan Obita with a drop of the shoulder and lashing an angled shot across McCarthy.

– Click here for photo gallery by Archant photographer Lucy Taylor.

IPSWICH TOWN (4-4-2): Gerken; Chambers, Berra, Smith, Cresswell; Edwards (cpt) (Anderson 46), Skuse, Tunnicliffe, Hunt (Tabb 66); Murphy, McGoldrick (Mings 90+).

Subs: Loach, Wordsworth, Nouble, Taylor.

Booked: Hunt (54), Anderson (90+)

READING (4-4-2): McCarthy; Gunter, Pearce, Gorkss, Obita; McCleary (Blackman 71), Akpan, Williams, McAnuff; Le Fondre, Pogrebnyak.

Subs: Federici, Cummings, Kelly, Hector, J Taylor, Drenthe.

Booked: Pearce (50)

Attendance: 15,323 (568 away)

Referee: Andrew Madley

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