Reading 2-2 Ipswich Town: Blues made to pay for not taking their chances as Reading fight back to draw
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Ipswich Town let a lead slip against a relegation rival for the second week in a row as they were held 2-2 by Reading.
The Blues led 2-1 at the break thanks to goals from Gwion Edwards and Freddie Sears, either side of a Yakou Meite strike, but ultimately couldn’t hold on as the forward scored his second of the game with six minutes to go.
The Ipswich approach was almost unrecognisable from the end of the Paul Hurst-era as they played with tempo, intensity and precision in an impressive first half. But as the teams left the field at the break you were left with the feeling that the visitors could be made to pay for not taking their chances.
As the Blues dropped deeper and intensity levels dimmed, so the hosts tails went up as they sensed there might be something for them in this game. Ipswich defended well, limiting the home chances and still threatened themselves, but the pressure ultimately told as a long diagonal ball was headed home by Meite.
The Blues remain bottom of the table, with the gap to safety remaining five points heading into the international break.
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Lambert kept an unchanged side from the one which played so well in last weekend’s draw with Preston and, in the driving rain at the Madejski, his Blues made a lightning start.
Edwards had already forced pressure down the flank before a Knudsen long throw fell to him on the edge of the Reading box, with the Welshman flashing his shot back through traffic and into the home net as the ball skidded off the greasy turf.
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The away support went wild but were briefly silenced two minutes later when Sam Baldock escaped down the left side and superbly managed to keep the ball in and cross for Yakou Meite who produced an acrobatic piece of play to send the ball into the back of Bartosz Bialkowski’s net.
There was little time to breath as the rain became heavier, with Bialkowski’s quick distribution from the back skidding through the middle of the Reading defence, where Sears was able to deceive the out-of-position Moore to slide the ball neatly into the bottom corner.
From there, the visitors were in full control.
Chances came and went, most notably a header from Jordan Roberts, a well-struck Edwards effort pushed away by Anssi Jaakola and a Luke Chambers header which flew wide, with the Blues taking just a single-goal lead in at the break.
The Ipswich performance merited a bigger lead but, with the advantage at only one, those of a Blue persuasion would very much be forgiven for feeling nervous.
The hosts came out renewed after the break, with Bialkowski called upon to save smartly from Mo Barrow after play had broken down following a corner, as the visitors found themselves on the back foot.
They let their high standards of the first half drop slightly, becoming a little loose in their passing, prior to the introduction of Kayden Jackson in place of Roberts.
It became nervy viewing, with Meite making the worst Ipswich fears reality as he headed home the equaliser.
In truth, it had been coming.
Results elsewhere mean this was an opportunity missed for Lambert’s Blues once again, as the gap to safety remains at five points.
Reading: Jaakola; Yiadom, O’Shea (Swift 77), Moore, Blackett; Bacuna, Rinomhota (McCleary 46), Kelly (McNulty 83); Meite, Barrow, Baldock
Subs: Walker, Gunter, Ilori, Aluko,
Ipswich Town: Bialkowski; Spence, Chambers, Pennington, Knudsen; Chalobah, Downes, Skuse; Sears (Rowe 82), Edwards, Roberts (Jackson 59)
Subs: Gerken, Donacien, Edun, Dozzell, Lankester
Att: 14,951 (1,887) away fans