Royle: We're right back in it

BEAMING Ipswich Town boss Joe Royle declared: “We are right back in it,” after the race for play-off places took another twist last night.

BEAMING Ipswich Town boss Joe Royle declared: “We are right back in it,” after the race for play-off places took another twist last night, writes Nick Garnham.

Ipswich close the gap on the top six to just two points after defeating Reading 3-1 in an incident-packed encounter at Portman Road.

Wolves, held 0-0 at home last night by relegation-threatened Stoke City, climbed above Nottingham Forest, while Sheffield United's victory over Burnley took them above Reading, who dropped to fourth.

Royle said: “It was a game we had to win - it just gives us a chance again.


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“Everybody wrote us off three weeks ago when we were eight or nine points behind.”

Thomas Gaardsoe had given Ipswich the perfect start when he headed home from eight yards in the first minute following Martijn Reuser's pinpoint free-kick.

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Nicky Forster then levelled after 16 minutes but Matt Holland restored Town's lead on the half-hour when his swerving 30-yard drive left Marcus Hahnemann rooted to the spot.

After Adrian Viveash received a straight red card in the 59th minute for flattening Gaardsoe after the whistle had already been blown, Ipswich made the points safe with a third goal 11 minutes from time from Jim Magilton following a surging run by Fabian Wilnis.

Royle continued: “We defended well after the first 10 minutes and in the second half our goalkeeper had not a save to make.”

The Town manager said Richard Naylor had another sound match at the back and Reuser had turned in his best performance since Royle had arrived at the club.

Reading manager Alan Pardew said the sending off had altered the course of the game.

“Obviously we conceded in the first minute which was not ideal and then we gave them real trouble and after we equalised we perhaps should have taken the lead but didn't.

“Then we fell behind to another goal from a set play but we were looking forward to the second half as with 11 v 11 we had looked the better team.

“From where I was standing I could see it out of the corner of my eye and it didn't look very clever, but it was just his momentum that carried him through.

“I think the player made a little bit of a meal of it.”

Town, who left Darren Bent on the bench and replaced him with Pablo Counago up front, now face Brighton at home on Saturday.

* Ipswich Reserves are in Barclaycard Reserve action tonight away to West Ham at Dagenham & Redbridge's ground.

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