Ipswich Town 0 Reading 3

Doyle crowns Reading's stroll to the summit
Click to follow
The Independent Football

The news that his side had just taken over the Championship lead produced very little by way of reaction from Reading's habitually impassive manager, Steve Coppell. "I didn't know that," he said. "If you think I'm trying to put a damper on it, I'm not. But it means nothing to me at this stage of the season."

There was, however, the ghost of a smile on the former Manchester United winger's face - as well there might have been. His team had just routed an Ipswich side in the process of painful transition and their three-goal margin might easily have been twice as great as they equalled their own League record of going 19 games undefeated.

If they carry on like this, then surely, after so many years of near misses...

But Coppell is having none of that kind of talk. "I've said it often enough," he added. "I don't want the highlights of our season to be October-November. All we are trying to do at the moment is win games."

Ipswich had begun the night eager to demonstrate that the 20-point gap between themselves and their visitors was not unbridgeable. After the way in which they occupied the Championship's automatic qualifying places for much of last season, before dropping away so dramatically, they knew that as well as anyone.

But Reading had also suffered a summer of frustration having dropped out of the play-offs through defeat in their final League match at the hands of Wigan. (Whatever happened to them?)

That disappointment has clearly given them impetus in this campaign. Ipswich were overrun from the start, and after 28 minutes Steve Sidwell gave Reading the lead from six yards out after efforts from Bobby Convey and then Kevin Doyle had been blocked.

Within eight minutes of the second half, Reading underlined their dominance as Doyle cut in from the left and his shot, half-blocked by Jason De Vos, was drilled home by Leroy Lita.

Home fans in the 22,621 crowd had something to cheer in the 67th minute - Ipswich's first shot on goal, courtesy of substitute Ian Westlake. It was easily saved.

When Reading made it 3-0, after Lita flicked the ball to Doyle in the 76th minute, the prevailing mood became funereal. The Ipswich manager, Joe Royle, said: "We couldn't get near them. They are as good a side as I've seen in this division since I came here." But as Coppell would doubtless add - there's still a way to go.

Ipswich Town (4-4-2): Price; Sito, Naylor, De Vos, McEveley; Williams, Horlock (Wilnis, 35), Juan (Westlake, 59), Richards; Currie, Parkin (Forster, 18). Substitutes not used: Supple (gk), Magilton.

Reading (4-4-2): Hahnemann; Murty, Sonko, Ingimarsson, Shorey; Little, Harper, Sidwell, Convey; Doyle (Hunt, 77), Lita. Substitutes not used: Stack (gk), Oster, Makin, Obinna.

Referee: P Melin (Surrey).