Church leaves it late!
28th September 2010
A late goal from Simon Church gave the Royals all three points against Ipswich, in a game that saw both sides finish with ten men after Matt Mills and Luke Hyam were sent off for second bookable offences.
Brian McDermott was given a scare before the game when man of the moment Jimmy Kebe required a late fitness test but was passed fit to take his place on the right. Hal Robson Kanu replaced Simon Church though, and Alex Pearce deputised for the suspended Zurab Kizhanishvili as expected.
The game started extremely slowly with neither side threatening the opposing goal until nearly the 20th minute when Robson Kanu beat three players and dinked a cross towards Shane Long in the area but goalkeeper Martin Fulop just denied the Irishman a chance on goal.
Jason Scotland had the best chance of the first half when he turned Matt Mills with ease before firing wide, whilst Kebe did the same at the other end following good work from Robson Kanu again. The half came to a rather dull end though, just as it had started.
The second period did not start much better but Robson Kanu continued to look lively and he got a decent shot away that Fulop was equal to. Adam Federici was then called into action saving well from Anton Townsend, who unleashed a low drive from range.
The game was then turned on its head when Luke Hyam was dismissed for a second yellow card for Ipswich when he kicked the ball away. He had been booked in the first half for a shocking challenge on Long, so justice was done.
We quickly tried to make the most of our numerical advantage and Matt Mills headed a great Ian Harte free kick straight into the hands of Fulop, and then lost his discipline and the ref evened up the numbers once more. Mills had also picked up a first half booking, and saw red for a needless challenge.
Shaun Cummings was looking lively on the right and he set up a great chance for Long but his weak header was easily saved, and then McDermott was forced to bring on Michail Antonio for Jimmy Kebe who had lasted as long as he could.
Just as the game looked to be heading for a dull goalless draw, Simon Church popped up with a goal just 30 seconds after coming on. A corner was half cleared to Jem Karacan, who fired an effort back into the mix and Church claimed the goal!
Despite a couple of late corners and Ipswich throwing everything at us, we held firm and secured our second home win in four days. It was certainly not the most convincing of performances but Ipswich rarely threatened us and you can`t argue at the result.
Let`s hope we can continue this home form on the road, starting at Preston on Saturday.
Part of a defence that kept another clean sheet, a fourth in six games, and was also very effective going forward including setting up Long for a chance in the second half that he really should have scored from.
Great to see someone who was written off by most, proving a point to those that doubted him.