Blame it on me, says Mick, af­ter bruis­ing de­feat

The Football League Paper - - CHAMPIONSHIP - By Liam Berry

IT WASN’T Mick McCarthy go­ing miss­ing de­fen­sively as Or­lando Sa bagged a hat-trick and it wasn’t the big York­shire­man fail­ing to clear as Nick Blackman pow­ered home from a tight an­gle.

But the em­bar­rassed Ip­swich boss took re­spon­si­bil­ity for his side’s ab­ject per­for­mance at Read­ing on Fri­day that handed them a sec­ond con­sec­u­tive league loss.

The Trac­tor Boys were largely the ar­chi­tects of their own down­fall but in Sa, Blackman and debu­tant Matej Vy­dra the Roy­als have a trio ca­pa­ble of caus­ing ev­ery Cham­pi­onship de­fence prob­lems.

In a fran­tic open­ing quar­ter of an hour, Por­tuguese striker Sa scored with a header and a low shot ei­ther side of Fred­die Sears’ equaliser.

Blackman then took ad­van­tage as Ip­swich, and Cole Skuse in par­tic­u­lar, failed to deal with a ball in the box be­fore Sa tapped in for his tre­ble and Oliver Nor­wood’s lon­grange ef­fort wrapped things up.

And McCarthy shoul­dered the brunt of the blame.

“That was un­be­liev­ably dis­ap­point­ing and I didn’t see that com­ing at all,” he said. “It was em­bar­rass­ing.

“I have to take a fair chunk of re­spon­si­bil­ity. I played a very at­tack­ing team and go­ing for­ward we did cre­ate chances. The play­ers have to take some re­spon­si­bil­ity as well though.

“The third goal was car-crash de­fend­ing. No one dealt with it and though the lad took it well, it shouldn’t have got to that.”

Sa headed in Blackman’s rightwing cross on seven min­utes for Read­ing’s first goal at the Made­jski Sta­dium since April 4 and although Sears bun­dled in a close-range re­bound four min­utes later, Sa then drilled a 20-yard shot in off the post.

On 49 min­utes Blackman thun­dered in a left-footed strike be­fore turn­ing provider to set Sa up for a tap-in and his hat-trick.

But the best was saved for last as Nor­wood sent a 30-yard piledriver into the top cor­ner.

And af­ter Read­ing ex­tended their un­beaten run to seven games, an­nounc­ing them­selves as le­git­i­mate pro­mo­tion con­tenders, Steve Clarke is con­vinced the com­bi­na­tion of Sa, Blackman and Vy­dra made the dif­fer­ence.

“The front three were good and com­bined well,” he said. “All three of them have been work­ing with me since the trans­fer dead­line and in seven or eight ses­sions they’ve al­ready picked up a good un­der­stand­ing.

“Or­lando got his goals, he’s been re­ally good for us since he came in. His move­ment is good, he’s a striker who needs sup­port around him, dy­namic play­ers, and he had that in Vy­dra and Blackman.

“Nick has done well since the start of the sea­son and Matej will score goals.”

ROYAL DE­LIGHT: Oliver Nor­wood cel­e­brates scor­ing the fifth goal

STAR MAN OR­LAN

DO SA Readin

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