Skip to main content

Ipswich 1-2 Reading

Finally. Three away points.

If we're being deadly honest, we didn't deserve anything from the match. After their equaliser it was the first time I've ever really felt completely let down by a side. On paper they have an absolute abundance of talent. There's a handful that have been on the books at the biggest sides in their respective countries but they seem so brittle. It was only the sheer relief, and importance, of the result that stopped the EPR 3 just being 'papers over cracks' again and again.

Things started well enough - McCleary and Oliveira will get the credit for the opening goal but it was almost entirely made by Blackett. A beautiful ball just beyond the full back allowed McCleary to race onto it, draw three men to him, and pull it across for Oliveira. Yet again our loanee forward found the net. His celebration was, presumably, a reaction to some pretty tasteless Ipswich chants, but had I already been on a yellow card I may have been slightly less overt about it. I was extremely worried about going down to ten, though Eltringham was lenient. I did think the ref got the first yellow right for another poor dive.

The rest of the first half saw Reading on the front foot, but they never looked like grabbing a second. Swift had a couple of efforts from outside the area and Meite managed to get a foot higher than I ever will to direct a cross on target. For Meite's 'chance' Oliveira was actually in a much better position just behind him but the ball obviously never reached him.

The home side came back into the game toward the end of the half as we made Collin Quaner, a man who has scored three goals in over fifty games of English football, look like Ronaldo. He consistently dribbled past multiple defenders; He finished with six successful dribbles from seven attempts. Alan Judge and Jon Nolan both had chances to level, and I'm still confused as to how the latter didn't slot it past the goalkeeper, but at half time we still held onto the lead.

The second half effectively mirrored last weekend's game. Reading getting ever deeper, with some absolutely outstanding saves by Martinez. The Argentine is what we've been missing since Al Habsi; someone who can win the club points on his own. Jaakkola, as I have said before, is an excellent goalkeeper but he doesn't instill confidence in the same way. There was a moment of full blown panic when he required treatment, which stopped him from taking a goal kick or two, but he seemed to find his way back into the game.

Back-to-back games have seen Reading succumb to crosses into the box. We seem to have a fear of getting out to the winger and actually stopping the ball coming in. This time a cross from the left was only half cleared, before being poked to the back post and finished well by potentially the most frustrating player on the pitch - Gwion Edwards. He neutered a few Reading attacks by winning soft free-kicks so of course he popped up at the other end too.

Even the winner came courtesy of Ipswich's good nature. Yakou - who was a handful all match - hassled the defence but never should have won the ball. He played it slightly behind Barrow but the winger's touch was perfect, taking it beyond the defender before his trademark slotting it past the keeper. It was almost a carbon copy of his winner away at Leeds last season. I'm not sure he's been hampered by Clement, considering their history, but I'd love him to find his form from last season. I thought he was one of the best wingers in the league, but hasn't managed to show that this year.

I don't think I have ever, or will ever celebrate a goal that much again. Maybe if we score a ninetieth minute winner to stay up in May. This whole thing means nothing if we don't back it up against Wigan, though, and I'm somewhat done with optimism. The only hope I have left is that Rotherham's remaining fixtures are just as tough as ours.

The only significant downside is Oliveira's injury. He's brought a real positivity to the side, and he's popped up with three vital goals so far. I hope that Bodvarsson can step up, if he's available. He's always been reliable over the last couple of seasons - it's only his injury record that's held him back.

I'd very much like it if next week is less stressful.


Popular posts from this blog

Bowen's Brand New Box

The first game of pre-season is done, and wasn't it an interesting one? Mark Bowen previewed a brand new 3-6-1, with more central midfielders than anybody could have dreamt of.  As theorized  we played a back-three and wing-backs. The midfield, however, had that unexpected additional body, meaning that Joao played as a lone striker. The 3-6-1. Swift and Laurent are allowed to go forward but are usually content with being behind the play. Consistency is a much sought after commodity in football, so I suppose it can be classed as a positive that there's only a single new recruit in the squad. Laurent's role as one of the deeper midfielders was slightly surprising, because everything from his stint at Shrewsbury implied that he's a similar, but more offensive player than Rinomhota. Swift takes the majority of the ball, so he's not expected to be the main playmaker, but he was comfortable in possession and picks the right pass when needed. Plus his pressing, and positio

A Potted History of Veljko Paunović

Veljko Paunović is Reading manager. The Serbian is a relative unknown here, but after leading his home nation to the U20 World Cup he put his name on the proverbial map. That lead to taking over at MLS side Chicago Fire in 2015, where he stayed for four years before being fired with one of the worst ever MLS records. For the past year, he's been unemployed. Serbia's victory at the U20 World Cup in New Zealand was a surprise. 2015 remains the only tournament that Serbia has qualified for since the dissolution of Yugoslavia. The tournament opened with a loss to Uruguay, a game in which they played a 3-6-1. For the subsequent group games they switched to a 4-2-3-1 or alternated to a 4-1-4-1; both Mali and Mexico were dispatched 2-0. They kept the same set-up for the knock-out phase, but were never as convincing, needing extra time in every round. An injury-time equaliser against Hungary combined with an own goal in the round of 16, penalties were required to see off The USA in the

Replacing Omar Richards

In the summer team report I wrote: "we  really  don't want to be going into 2021/2022 without any LBs so a new contract for Omar has to be on the agenda early". And yet, that seems to be exactly what's happening with Richards set to depart for pastures new. Whether he goes to Bayern Munich or not, bigger clubs are circling. There's a couple of options internally, and the club are also looking elsewhere. Ethan Bristow The youngster has been the go-to left-back for cup matches and tends to start for the U23s. He's been brought onto the bench since Richards' injury, but has found himself behind Gibson and McIntyre in the pecking order. Bristow's little run inside drags the right-back narrow, and gives Aluko space to attack He has good vision to spot a pass, and often plays them first time to not allow the defence to put him under pressure. That's normally followed by an intelligent run, and not always to get the ball - sometimes he simply pulls a defe