FEELS A LITTLE BIT MORE AT HOME
Guthrie winner rescues Reading
FINALLY. Reading finally won a home game under Nigel Adkins, they finally won a home game for the first time in six months and they finally scored a goal of their own on their patch.
But there the plot thickens, with debate raging over who actually got the final touch on the equaliser.
What isn’t in doubt is that the Royals finally won on the season’s opening day for the first time since 2006.
And there is no uncertainty over the fact Jay Tabb hammered in Ipswich’s opener and that Danny Guthrie’s deflected long-ranger banked the three points for Reading.
Yet, while TV replays appear to suggest Tyrone Mings got the touch that brought Reading back into the game on the stroke of halftime, boss Nigel Adkins is giving it to his little centre forward Adam Le Fondre.
“I’ve seen the video – it’s his goal,” Adkins said.
“When you’ve got Garath McCleary putting the ball into such a dangerous area and you’ve got your centre-forward right between the two centre-halves and he’s made first contact on the ball, for me it’s a great goal by the centre forward.
“If there is mass confusion, for me it’s the centre forward’s goal.
“If Le Fondre doesn’t get first contact it doesn’t go in the back of the net.
“Of course you’ll say that because you’re his manager, but I genuinely believe it was his goal. “It was a good victory for us.” Ipswich boss Mick McCarthy’s view is it was an unfortunate own goal from defender Mings.
“I think it’s come off Ty,” he said.“I think he got turned around and it hit him on the back and went in.
“It was a great delivery. Sometimes you’ve got to give credit, but I felt we should have dealt with it better.”
If it was Le Fondre’s, it was the first home goal scored by a Reading player since February 2 against Sunderland.
The only other league goal to fly in at the Mad Stad since then was an own goal by Aston Villa’s Nathan Baker on March 9 – ex-boss Brian McDermott’s last game in charge.
But the Premier League has gone and the pressure is on to get back to the Promised Land as quickly as possible after last year’s relegation.
McCarthy knows what it takes to get out of this division – he’s done it with Sunderland and Wolves – and he’s had a busy summer overhauling the squad.
Optimism is high in East Anglia with ten new summer signings.
It was one of those who opened the scoring when Tabb, who was on loan at Portman Road last season, fired in a rebound from his own volley.
Ironically, despite playing for Reading for four years, it was the midfielder’s first goal at the Madejski Stadium.
And they looked good for it, with Scott Loach largely untroubled before the equaliser.
Garath McCleary delivered a cross into the danger area and Le Fondre went up between Cole Skuse and Mings.
Whoever got the final touch, the ball ended up in the back of the net.
Tabb almost got a second early in the second-half after a twisting run, but neither side was creating an abundance of chances.
While a draw looked likely, Guthrie had other ideas.
Taking aim from long range, his shot took a deflection off Luke Hyam and flew straight over Loach into the middle of the goal.
“I don’t think he’s going to beat him from there,” McCarthy said. “We’ll never really know will we? But the deflection has taken it over Loachy and given him no chance.
“I thought we played really well the whole game. I asked for a benchmark performance.
“If that’s the benchmark, that is a pretty high standard for us.
“If we play like that every week, compete and create the chances we did, we’ll be fine.”
OUT OF MY WAY: Reading's Royston Drenthe brushes aside David McGoldrick