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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.


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