BBC pundit picks out the two Reading FC players key to securing Ipswich Town draw

BBC pundit Brian Howard picked out two players in particular for their performances in Reading’s weekend draw with Ipswich Town.

Royals had Yakou Meite to thank as his brace helped secure a point against the Championship’s bottom club at Madejski Stadium on Saturday.

But Howard, a former Reading midfielder who represented the club on more than 50 occasions between 2009 and 2012, said winger Garath McCleary and defender Tyler Blackett were instrumental to the end result.

“Meite took the goals well but I thought McCleary changed the game,” said Howard on Radio Berkshire.

“You talk about leaders and captains but then you get others who maybe don’t get the armband but they lead by example with what thy do.

“He almost grabbed the game by the scruff of the neck and said ‘we’re not doing the business, give me the ball and I’ll get into positions and I’ll take my chance.’

“And everyone else got the energy off him and the crowd got behind him and it lifted everyone.

“Blackett did okay too. I was finishing off [my career] at Birmingham and he came on loan as a young player from Manchester United.

“You would think he’s half asleep at times – he knew he had quality but if he ever lost it he’s got the strength and power to get out of it.

“He made a great last ditch tackle in the second half. He showed great athleticism and timed it perfectly because if he didn’t it would have been a red card and then the game’s ogne.

“He is a bit sloppy in possession but he did well in the second half and got forward well.”

Reading had to fight back twice from being 1-0 and 2-1 down in the game at a rain-swept Madejski Stadium.

Meite’s late header helped salvage a point although Paul Clement’s side did have two great chances to win the game.

Both fell to striker Sam Baldock in similar positions but the former Brighton man blazed the ball over the bar on each occasion when he was well placed inside the penalty area.

Howard added: “The first one was on the volley and bouncing up – it’s a slightly more difficult technique. But the second one, you’ve just got pass it into the net.

“There were other players in the box so if he hit the target and the keeper makes a save then there’s always a chance of a rebound.

“You can’t miss it twice in a row and it’s probably reflective of why Reading are where they are in the Championship because at the two ends of the pitch – the mistake for the second goal and then if you don’t finish your chances you can’t go on to win games you’re asked to.

“The quality is lacking in the final third, especially when they’re getting into crossing positions and at set-plays as well.

“They are hitting the front man and never looking a threat at scoring.”

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