Town's TV horror show

AS good as Reading were, there is no denying that Ipswich were terrible.In what was probably their worst first half showing in quite some time the Blues were fortunate they were just one goal down at half-time, and an unavoidable own goal at that.

By Derek Davis

AS good as Reading were, there is no denying that Ipswich were terrible.

In what was probably their worst first half showing in quite some time the Blues were fortunate they were just one goal down at half-time, and an unavoidable own goal at that.

When young striker Kevin Doyle nodded in a second 90 seconds after the break there was a worry that it could turn into a rout.

That Ipswich somehow weathered the storm is testament to their character but what was so out of character was their dismal showing overall, especially in the first 45 minutes.

Reading twice hit the woodwork and Price made a couple of saves along with last ditch defensive blocks as they were besieged.

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Town did have the ball in the net but Nicky Forster handled before shooting and debut-making Adam Proudlock was one of the few bright spots and had a shot blocked by Ibrahima Sonko.

But overall it was an afternoon Town will want to forget in a hurry and put right against Coventry City tomorrow.

The Blues went for an adventurous and attacking, five-man midfield but were caught out defensively and rarely offered Reading any trouble at the other end.

Town didn't help themselves with some poor early play, cheap balls given away, misplaced passes going for throw-ins and missed tackles galore.

As early as the third minute Doyle wriggled free of De Vos, sprinted towards goal and tumbled under the Canadian's challenge. The referee waved it away initially but the assistant flagged. After some discussions the centre back escaped with just a booking and the free kick was wasted.

Referee Steve Tanner is not afraid to wave his red cards and had dismissed the away keeper on each of his last two visits, and both are ex-Town goalies.

Andy Marshall went earlier this season when Millwall slumped 5-0 while Paul Gerrard was given a red card by Mr Tanner when Nottingham Forest visited in April.

Reading quickly cottoned on to the gap left between Fabian Wilnis and Jay McEveley and caused problems down their right wing.

Little, Doyle and Convey were exploiting the spaces and mistakes made by a sloppy Blues

Ten minutes into the game Forster made a good turn in midfield and burst into the area but his final delivery was neither a shot nor cross for the incoming Sam Parkin.

Forster was returning to the Madejski Stadium after more than 200 Royals' appearances and more than 60 goals and was give a warm reception from both sets of supporters.

But it was his old club who looked by far the better side with terrific movement and clever play, and they were well worth their 18th-minute lead.

Reading were working well down their right wing and Doyle found space to send in a low cross that Naylor turned into his own net before it could reach an unmarked Lita to tap in.

Town fans thought they had equalised 10 minutes later when Forster swivelled and netted but he had handled before shooting

Forster then forced a mistake from Ingimarsson and got into area but Sonko did enough to put him off and the ball rolled out of play before he could get a shot in.

Town changed it at half-time, reverting to a straight back four with De Vos going off and McEveley going to left back, but they were soon in trouble again.

The on-loan Blackburn defender gifted Little the ball and he got in a deep cross for Doyle who rose above Sito to head in, just 90 seconds into the second half.

Adam Proudlock was handed his debut as the Blues went three up front and the former Sheffield Wednesday forward got in a good cross but Parkin headed over from six yards.

Convey was then clearly offside when he put the ball away but Reading were in rampant mood.

Town had a double escape when Lita rapped a post with a shot and Doyle, who set him up, cracked the rebound against the crossbar.

Even full back Nicky Shorey got in on the act, trying his luck from 30 yards with a vicious shot that Price pushed over the bar.

A low shot from Forster was comfortably saved by Marcus Hahnemann, before he was replaced to generous applause from both sets of fans.

The Blues' best chance came when Parkin put the American keeper under pressure and the ball bounced to Proudlock who hit an acrobatic volley but Sonko somehow got across to block with his chest.

Among the guests at the game was former world middleweight champion Terry Downs, uncle of Reading coach Wally Downes. He must have been delighted with the Royal knockout punches but if it had been a fight the contest would have been over long before reaching the final whistle.

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