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Kings of Anglia Issue 9 Magazine Offer

Stu says: Five observations following Ipswich Town’s 2-2 draw at Reading

PUBLISHED: 17:05 10 November 2018 | UPDATED: 18:50 10 November 2018

Freddie Sears celebrates scoring Ipswich's second goal at Reading Picture Pagepix

Freddie Sears celebrates scoring Ipswich's second goal at Reading Picture Pagepix

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Ipswich Town drew 2-2 at Reading in a Championship clash this afternoon. STUART WATSON gives outlines the key talking points.

Ipswich Town manager Paul Lambert gives the thumbs up on the touchline at Reading. Photo: PagepixIpswich Town manager Paul Lambert gives the thumbs up on the touchline at Reading. Photo: Pagepix

GOALS!

Town came into this match having not scored from open play in more than six hours. They’d failed to find the net in half of their 16 league matches.

The big worry was that, as good as the performance was in Paul Lambert’s first game against Preston, this Town team lacked a goal threat.

Lambert disagreed strongly in his pre-match press conference. He was vindicated as the Blues scored twice inside a dramatic opening 11 minutes.

Gwion Edwards watches his shot hitting the back of the net giving Ipswich the lead at Reading Picture PagepixGwion Edwards watches his shot hitting the back of the net giving Ipswich the lead at Reading Picture Pagepix

The opener came from a long Jonas Knudsen throw from the left. Two Reading players got in each others’ way at the near post, the ball was only half-cleared and Gwion Edwards slammed a shot back through the crowded area and inside the left-hand upright.

Less than two minutes later, the Royals were level when Yakou Meite produced a fine acrobatic finish with his back to goal after Sam Baldock had done superbly to dig a cross out from the byline.

Town shrugged off the setback and soon were in front again. Bartosz Bialkowski’s goalkick skipped off a wet surface, Liam Moore misjudged the bounce and the alert Freddie Sears coolly converted one-on-one.

MISSED CHANCES

Town subsequently dominated the first half. It’s hard to remember the last time they had played quite so well. Reading, meanwhile, looked very brittle.

The only negative, therefore, was that they were not further in front come the half-time whistle.

Jordan Roberts had a glancing header, which Sears may have got a slight touch on, tipped around the post (23), Edwards was inches away from connecting with a dangerous low Knudsen delivery (25), Luke Chambers headed just wide from a corner (28) and Anssi Jaakkola did well to palm away an angled Roberts striker (37).

Town fans celebrate Gwion Edwards goal at Reading Picture PagepixTown fans celebrate Gwion Edwards goal at Reading Picture Pagepix

Come the break, Town had produced eight shots on goal – four of them on target – and forced four corners.

As it happened, that failure to kill the game off came back to haunt them.

BART’S BACK

Gwion Edwards celebrates giving Ipswich the lead at Reading Picture PagepixGwion Edwards celebrates giving Ipswich the lead at Reading Picture Pagepix

It was a bit more loose from the Blues after the restart. Reading, as poor as they’d been, suddenly sensed a momentum swing.

Step forwards Bialkowski.

After the Blues had not dealt with a corner delivery particularly well in the 54th minute an almighty goalmouth scramble ensued. It looked for all the world as though Mo Barrow would score...

But Town’s big Pole in the goal produced a breathtaking stop to deny him from point-blank range.

Yakou Meite scores Reading's equaliser with a free header with his marker Jonas Knudsen off to the right of the frame Picture PagepixYakou Meite scores Reading's equaliser with a free header with his marker Jonas Knudsen off to the right of the frame Picture Pagepix

It was a crucial save at a crucial moment. It was a reminder of just why he is the club’s three times Supporters’ Player of the Year, went to the World Cup and was handed a bumper new contract.

After a below-par start to the season which led to him being controversially dropped by Paul Hurst, the hope is that Bart is back.

Him on top-class form could be worth goodness knows how many points.

Reading keeper Anssi Jaakkola reclaims the ball from under Jordan Roberts during the second half Picture PagepixReading keeper Anssi Jaakkola reclaims the ball from under Jordan Roberts during the second half Picture Pagepix

BLUES BLUEPRINT

Paul Hurst had preached a high press, advanced full-backs and playing off a lone striker. It all sounded good, but we never really saw enough evidence of that. As the weeks went by the team appeared to have less and less identity.

Within a fortnight, Lambert has got the team doing all of the above.

The two centre-backs split as soon as Bialkowski got the ball to provide short options, Cole Skuse looked to play positively on the turn rather than short and safe, while Jordan Spence and Knusen constantly took up high starting positions. Everyone just seems to know their role in the team.

Trevoh Chalobah challenges at Reading Picture PagepixTrevoh Chalobah challenges at Reading Picture Pagepix

Yes, Town also got the ball forwards quickly at times, but it was always at the right moments and with purpose.

Individuals have improved too. Flynn Downes is a prime example. His confidence looked shot after a poor display at Hull earlier this season. Lambert has come in, asked him to take all the set-pieces, bigged him up publicly and, as a result, he must be feeling 10 feet tall. He certainly played like it today. The tenacious teenager was here, there and everywhere.

AND YET...

Luke Chambers and Jordan Roberts combine to miss a first half headed chance at Reading Picture PagepixLuke Chambers and Jordan Roberts combine to miss a first half headed chance at Reading Picture Pagepix

For the second weekend running, despite plenty of positives, Town only came away with a single point.

The Blues got deeper and deeper in the second half. Chambers made a last-ditch challenge on Barrow in the 77th minute. It all began to feel very nervy.

It was hardly a surprise when Meite ghosted onto a deep diagonal delivery to head home an equaliser in the 84th minute. Town were subsequently left holding on for a draw.

That leaves them still five points adrift of everyone else at the foot of the Championship table.

And, on paper at least, there are some tougher games on the horizon after next weekend’s international break.

Ipswich Town goalkeeper Bartosz Bialkowski discussed being left out of the team by former boss Paul Hurst, new coach Jimmy Walker and Paul Lambert’s positive impact when he spoke to the media this afternoon.

Paul Lambert sees Janoi Donacien as a central defender.

Paul Lambert has confirmed Jordan Graham is no longer in his plans at Ipswich Town with the winger’s loan set to be cut short in January.

Ipswich Town manager Paul Lambert has told owner Marcus Evans that he believes defender Jonas Knudsen is worthy of a new contract.

Ipswich Town manager Paul Lambert spoke to the media this afternoon ahead of the Friday night clash with West Bromwich Albion, and discussed the importance of the club’s fans creating a rocking Portman Road atmosphere as they try to escape the drop zone.

Mick McCarthy is the early favourite for vacant Republic of Ireland job following the departure of both Martin O’Neill and assistant Roy Keane.

In our daily feature, we take a look at what happened on this day in Ipswich Town’s history. Today we look back to David Gregory scoring a hat-trick as Town progressed to the next round of the League Cup.

Ipswich Town boss Paul Lambert is impressed with what he’s seen of the Blues’ academy during his early weeks of his reign.

Titus Bramble says Ipswich Town duo Andre Dozzell and Flynn Downes were stand-out performers at the recent England Under-20 camp.

Mark Heath, Andy Warren and Stuart Watson are back with another episode of the Kings of Anglia podcast.

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