Second-half strikes from Murphy and Anderson earn Town a massive win against the Royals
Daryl Murphy’s eighth goal of the season and Paul Anderson’s late strike was enough to take Blues back within two points of the Play-Offs.
Republic of Ireland international Murphy powered a right foot effort high into the Reading net just past the hour to edge Blues in front and then Anderson wrapped up the points with a terrific finish on 90 minutes to end Town’s three match losing run in impressive style.
Stephen Hunt came in for the injured Luke Hyam in Town’s only change from the defeat at Millwall, the midfielder lining up against his former club.
Reading started like a team full of confidence after their 7-1 win against Bolton last week, Garath McCleary slicing an early chance wide, then Pavel Pogrebnyak heading over at the far post.
Hunt was prominent in Town’s early attacks, seeing a cross hacked clear, the Republic of Ireland international then failing to connect with Murphy’s header across goal six yards out.
Town had an anxious look at the referee when Ryan Tunnicliffe slid in on Jobi McAnuff inside the area, then a direct run from the Reading skipper released McCleary down the right flank and his cross was headed away by Christophe Berra but against Pogrebnyak and finished narrowly wide of Dean Gerken’s goal.
Kaspars Gorkss had a shot blocked inside the Town area sparking a scramble, with Tommy Smith eventually clearing the danger, while at the other end former Blues’ loanee Alex McCarthy beat out Hunt’s cross.
Smith headed wide from Tunnicliffe’s cross after a neat move, McGoldrick then tested McCarthy from distance, with Gerken then doing well to push Danny Williams effort around the post just before the break.
Blues made a change at the break, Anderson replacing Edwards down the right flank.
Tunnicliffe posed the first threat of the second-half, his run getting behind the Reading defence but the cross drifted harmlessly behind.
Alex Pearce picked up the first booking of the game for a foul on McGoldrick, Smith heading Aaron Cresswell’s free-kick wide as Blues started the second-half on the front foot.
Hunt followed into referee Andrew Madley’s book soon after as he challenged McCarthy for the loose ball on the Reading goalline after McGoldrick had flicked on.
The game began to open up, Cresswell failing to get any power with a left foot effort before Murphy gave Town the lead just past the hour, the striker firing high into the roof of the net after Hunt has driven deep into the Royals’ half.
Hunt was given a great reception as he left the field midway through the half, the former Royal making way for another former Royal in Jay Tabb.
McGoldrick had a great chance to put Town completely in the driving seat on 70 minutes, Anderson sending him through on goal with a slide rule pass but McCarthy was equal to the challenge, his left foot denying Blues’ top scorer.
Nick Blackman replaced McCleary in Reading’s first change, Nigel Adkins’ side then inches away from an equaliser when Jordan Obita’s cross evaded Adam Le Fondre and Pogrebnyak four yards out.
Blackman could have made an instant impact but he blazed over the bar from Chris Gunter’s cross following Williams’ excellent pass.
Gerken did well to claw away a corner as Reading searched for an equaliser in the last 10 minutes, Blues responded with Murphy’s dangerous cross put behind for a corner, then Anderson close to forcing the ball in at the near post.
The summer arrival from Bristol City wrapped up the points soon after though, firing in from the angle after cutting inside from the right to give Town three massive points and take Mick McCarthy’s side to within a win of the top six.
Town: Gerken, Chambers, Berra, Smith, Cresswell, Edwards (Anderson 46), Skuse, Tunnicliffe, Hunt (Tabb 66), McGoldrick (Mings 90), Murphy. Subs not used: Loach, Wordsworth, Nouble, Taylor. Booked: Hunt.
Reading: McCarthy, Gunter, Pearce, Gorkss, Williams, McCleary (Blackman 70), Akpan, McAnuff, Obita, Le Fondre, Pogrebynak. Subs not used: Federici, Kelly, Drenthe, Cummings, Taylor, Hector. Booked: Pearce.