Reading grabbed a late, but deserved, point against table-toppers Ipswich Town this afternoon as both sides scored in second half stoppage time. With the score at 0-0 with ninety minutes on the clock the visitors looked to have secured a late win with a strike in the first of the three minutes of injury time. Reading had worked hard and looked set to take nothing from a posititve showing until Ingimarsson came to the rescue immediately after Town had gone ahead. Ingimarsson's goal sent a near-full house home crowd crazy as he volleyed home from a tight angle from a Glen Little cross. Ipswich may feel they shaded the game slightly with perhaps the better chances across the game but a draw was a fair result after both sides could have been ahead well before the two late goals.
The visitors got off to the better start putting Reading under early pressure and hit the crossbar with Hahnemann beaten with a long range effort. Reading soon got into their stride and were playing some good passing football in a lively encounter. Ricky Newman came into midfield in place of the suspended Steve Sidwell and slotted in like he'd been there all season with a sensible passing game. Reading hit the post themselves during the opening period after a free-kick drifted wide after several players failed to make contact. The Royals had a good spell before half time and could have gone in ahead but a series of crosses narrowly failed to get the right contact on them in front of goal. The second half saw another strong Ipswich showing with Hahnemann doing well with a fine reaction save to push a powerful goal bound attempt clear. Marcus followed that up with a excellent save to get down to his right at full stretch to keep the game goalless.
Just when it looked like Ipswich were going to finish Reading off we won a series of corners and threatened to grab the three points ourselves. After two corners caused plenty of problems in the Town area the ball was eventually hacked clear from a short Reading effort. Glen Little kept the Ipswich keeper busy with a decent effort from the edge of the box and both Little and Morgan nearly broke through with runs on goal as Reading increased the pressure. However, it looked like we were going to miss out on any goals until the dramatic finish with both sides getting on the scoresheet. Ipswich remain top of the table, with Reading still in fourth, nine points behind the leaders.
Following report by John Wells:
This highly entertaining game as brought to a fitting climax when Ivar Ingimarsson smashed the ball into the roof of the net seconds before the end of added time to give Reading a point their performance richly deserved. A minute earlier Graham Murty had appeared to have gifted the league leaders all three points with the sort of defending which belonged on a park on Sunday morning. Ironically with his passion for the team, the error would have hurt Murty more than anyone. Given the number of scoring opportunities, both sides could reasonably argue they might have won, but for sheer effort and commitment the Royals deserved at least a draw.
Ipswich started brightly. In the opening seven minutes they had two shots saved by Hahnemann, and rattled the bar when Kuqi spotted the Reading 'keeper off his line and let fly from well outside the area. Reading went about their task with relish and were winning the ball and closing down their opponents quickly all over the field. Little, currently enjoying a good run of form, was a real threat down the left, taking on players and crossing the ball well. Even a neutral would have agree Reading had the edge in the first half. Unfortunately several promising situations came to nothing because some basic errors. On one occasion three Reading players made runs to the near post for a cross which eventually ended up at the back post. I suspect either a lack of communication or an anxiety growing out of the recent goal drought was the cause.
The second half saw Ipswich try to impose themselves on the game to a greater extent and Hahnemann brought off a couple of very good saves to deny them the lead. It has to be said however that at no stage did Reading loose their composure and were always probing and looking to go forward. Forster may not have rediscovered his scoring touch yet, but it was good to see him using his pace to get behind the Ipswich defence. With time running out Murty tried to flick the ball over an onrushing forward and lost possession, and although several covering defenders were making desperate attempts to compensate, the ball rolled to Bent who confidently slid the ball into the net. Harper grabbed the ball and ran back to the centre circle, which at the time looked nothing more that a defiant gesture, but ultimately might have proved to be the spark of motivation which inspired Ingimarsson's last gasp equaliser from yet another fine Little cross.
Even without key players Kitson and Sidwell Reading proved again they can match or beat any team in this division. Ricky Newman put in another thoroughly professional performance. He won the ball, closed players down quickly, was strong on the ball, and laid off good simple passes. He even managed to get forward for a couple of decent attempts on goal. He did nothing spectacular was certainly one the most effective players on the field. Such was the quality of his game, I think it was fair to say Sidwell was not greatly missed. The same can not be said of Kitson, who it seems at the moment to be irreplaceable - unless of course we can afford to play Ivar up front!