Ipswich 2 Royals 0By Adam Lee
September 15, 2008
Liam Rosenior's disappointment following Reading’s defeat was plain for all to see.
The ambitious right-back believes Royals must be taking all three points from places like Portman Road if they are to stand a chance of an instant return to the Premier League next season.
And despite a good personal performance, Rosenior reckons Royals lack confidence when they leave the comfort of Madejski Stadium – something that must be put right, and soon.
“I’m extremely disappointed,” said the former Bristol City and Fulham player.
“We’ve been poor away from home. It’s something that has been happening since the start of last season.
“We’ve had some fantastic performances at home but away we just don’t seem to be doing the same things and it’s something that we really need to sort out.
“It’s not good enough. We’ve had three games now and if we want to fulfil our potential, which is to go up as champions, we need to be winning games away.
“You won’t go up if you don’t do that and that’s something that we need to remedy as soon as possible.
“We need to have a more positive mindset and believe in ourselves a bit more.”
Although Ipswich started brightly, with Pablo Counago firing over the bar in the sixth minute, it was Royals who had the best chance of the opening stages when a beautiful first-time touch from Shane Long released Jimmy Kebe through the centre, but Richard Wright stood tall and deflected the shot wide.
Royals certainly looked more comfortable in possession, but Ipswich’s passing was more clinical and they looked the more dangerous, especially on the break.
Indeed, much of Reading’s attacking play, barring some speedy breaks from Kebe, revolved around long balls to the flanks for Shane Long and Kevin Doyle to chase.
The hosts almost took the lead in the 21st minute as Jon Stead sent in a terrific cross from the right which Counago only had to redirect goalwards.
Although his header beat Marcus Hahnemann, the ball rebounded off the angle of the goal and back into the grateful keeper’s hands.
Five minutes later, Long released Rosenior into the box, but instead of pulling the ball back he went for Wright’s near post, allowing the keeper to make a save – and although James Harper was there to follow up, he blazed his shot high over the bar.
Ipswich, now in the ascendancy, saw Jon Walters have a goal disallowed for offside, Jon Stead place a shot narrowly wide and Counago again denied by the bar with a fine turn and volley.
Royals responded when Rosenior’s teasing cross to the far post was headed behind by Walters with Stephen Hunt waiting to pounce.
Then, with the half-time whistle approaching, Kebe’s back-post cross almost caught out Wright.
But the keeper just managed to claw the ball over, and from the resulting corner, Alex Pearce dragged a shot wide of goal.
Ipswich made a bright start after the break, with Alan Quinn almost breaking free, and they looked much the more likely to break the deadlock.
Royals needed Hahnemann on top form in the 62nd minute when Quinn unleashed a stinging drive from outside the area, but the big keeper dived to his left and got a strong hand on the ball to push it away.
Seconds later, though, Ipswich’s pressure finally told as Stead turned on the right-hand corner of the box and let fly with a powerful shot across goal which bounced off the inside of the far post and in.
Reading almost pulled level on 72 minutes when Stephen Hunt’s corner fell to his younger brother Noel in the middle, but his miscued shot was cleared off the line and away to safety after something of a goalmouth scramble.
Quinn almost finished the game off when he fired a terrific shot onto the left-hand upright, but then supplied the killer pass to the back post for Walters to power a header past Hahnemann for Ipswich’s second.
Reading had their best chance of the half just before the end when Stephen Hunt’s free-kick was flicked on by his brother Noel, only to see the ball loop over Wright and off the bar.
Kebe also went close in stoppage time when he connected with a low cross from sub Bobby Convey, but Ipswich, defending in numbers, cleared the ball to safety.
Royals, though, failed to make their mark on the game, and slumped to their second straight away defeat in the Championship, maintaining their shoddy record on their travels for the past year.
Reading: Hahnemann, Rosenior, Armstrong (Convey, 75mins), Ingimarsson, Pearce, Harper (capt), Karacan (Bikey, 80 mins), S Hunt, Kebe, Doyle, Long (N Hunt, 60 mins). Subs not used: Federici, Kelly. Booked: S Hunt, Karacan.
Ipswich: R Wright, Naylor, D Wright, McAuley (Balkestein, 26mins), Volz, Miller, Quinn, Garvan, Counago (Campo, 87), Walters, Stead (Lisbie, 75). Booked: Garvan.
Referee: Keith Hill (Herts).