Royals hold Tractor Boys to stay top of the league

Last updated : 29 September 2004 By Rob Cooper

Report by FootyMAD

The 1,000th game of Joe Royle's managerial career saw his Ipswich side surrender their first points of the season at Portman Road to an industrious Reading outfit.

The visitors had the better of the opening period, but Ipswich were in control for most of the second half, but were unable to turn their pressure into a second goal.

After a quiet opening Ipswich went ahead on ten minutes when a long ball forward was misjudged by Ivar Ingimarsson, Shefki Kuqi went around over-committed keeper Marcus Hahnemann and curled the ball into the open net.

Andy Hughes volleyed over after Town failed to clear a corner before Kuqi volleyed well over after a Darren Bent header had fallen kindly into his path via a deflection.

Reading levelled controversially on 26 minutes when Nicky Forster put strike partner Dave Kitson away with more than a hint of offside, but the flag stayed down and he raced clear to score.

Ipswich forced the pace for most of the rest of the half, with Hahnemann producing a fine diving save to turn away a Kuqi header from a Kevin Horlock corner and he also did well to block a close-range Tommy Miller drive with his knees.

Town had to replace keeper Kelvin Davis with Wales Under-21 youngster Lewis Price at the interval, but he was rarely tested as the home side did most of the pressing.

Kuqi had a close-range shot held by Hahnemann before Town calls for a penalty were rejected after sub Ibrahima Sonko appealed to fell Kuqi, although few home players appealed.

Town's best chance in the second period was probably when Drissa Diallo's great throughball split the Reading defence, but Kuqi's first touch was heavy and Hahnemann was able to claim at his feet.

Sonko sliced a low Bent cross over his own bar, Bent sent a diving header off target and Ian Westlake smashed a right-footed drive not far over.

Reading had a couple of half-chances as Sonko headed a Hughes free-kick straight at Price and then Forster failed to get a clean connection on a Hughes cross, again the ball going directly to the Town 'keeper.

Horlock and Matt Richards fired wide from distance, Jim Magilton had a 20-yard free-kick deflected over the bar by the defensive wall and Town threatened from two stoppage time corners, but Reading held on to halt Ipswich's run of home wins at the start of the season.