Captain Luke Chambers was guilty of poor defending when McCleary glided past him before laying the ball on to former Norwich striker Oliveira, who found the corner of the net with ease. This was another goal than manager Paul Lambert would not have been impressed with. Poor defending and a lack of fire-power up front are the main reasons for our current demise.
The Blues started brightly with Collin Quaner upfront, largely on his own; supported to some extent by Teddy Bishop, who was back in the starting line-up and Alan Judge. Missing for Town through injury and suspension where Jonas Knudsen who got a straight red against Wigan and Will Keane through a hamstring injury that might keep him out for some time.
James Collins was back for Town and looked impressive in the early stages until that hamstring problem revisited and he was removed after thirty plus minutes.
Collin Quaner was finding himself persistently offside but when he did show his deft skills, he took on four Reading players in the area before the ball fell to Jon Nolan in oceans of space but his shot was easily saved by the Reading keeper Martinez when really he should have scored. Manager Paul Lambert was in the director’s box for his second game in the stands, after disciplinary action taken by the F.A. after the Norwich fracas.
Once Reading scored their mood changed and they started to dominate proceedings and this was especially apparent in midfield where they were dictating play. Town huffed and puffed in their vain attempts to create something, and although James Bree and Alan Judge were putting in some good deliveries, the Tractor Boys lacked height up front and this was exacerbated further with the withdrawal of Collins through injury. As the half time whistle blew it was The Royals who looked the more likely to score again.
The second half began with Ipswich very much on top but there incisiveness going forward was their main problem but Alan Judge got clear thanks to magnificent work from substitute Aristotle Nsiala but Judge could only place his shot at the keeper and then there were great appeals from the home crowd for a penalty, after Judge tried and failed to get ball back as it spun out of the keeper’s hands.
Town had also introduced Edwards at the break and changed their system which was now the same as the visitors. Chaloboah was the player who found himself removed but it did not appear to be an injury issue and Edwards looked lively pushing forward again.
The big Portman Road crowd remained positive throughout and almost willed the ball into the net every time Ipswich attacked and their efforts were rewarded after 82 minutes when another Town attack lead to Gwion Edwards scoring from close range to the delight of the home fans.
Now The Blues were on the front foot as the clock ticked down. Then Quanner was tripped on the edge of the box, but Alan Judge curved the ball way over the bar and the chance was gone. And then we witnessed a disastrous bit of defending when Nsiala could not stop a breakaway and Barrow cleverly beat the Town defence and nonchalantly placed the ball in the corner of the net, giving Bartosz Bialkowski no chance. A screamer from Edwards led to a fine save late on from the Reading keeper before a free header from Luke Chambers was guided beyond the goal when he really should have done better.
There were six minutes of added time but the last chance at the death was when Edwards crossed for Quaner to put his header wide of the target. Town are going down and have been for most of the season and this confirmed it. Simply not good enough and even the home crowd could not stir them into victory sadly.
Ipswich Town: Bialkowski, Pennington, Collins, Chambers (captain), Bree, Chalobah, Kenlock, Nolan, Judge, Bishop, Quaner.
Substitutes: Gerken, Edwards, Skuse, Jackson, Downes, Nsiala, Dozzell.
Reading: Martinez, Yiadom, Miazga, Moore, Blackett, Ejaria, Baker, Meite, Swift, McCleary, Oliveira.
Substitutes: Walker, Gunter, O’Shea, McShane, Harriott, Barrow, Loader.
The referee was Referee: Geoff Eltringham from County Durham.
F.W. – editor of Vial Ipswich