McCarthy impressed with Town

Mick McCarthy praised his Ipswich team after they finally got their first win in 2014 with a 2-0 victory over play-off rivals Reading.

Daryl Murphy and Paul Anderson scored the second half goals as Ipswich moved up to seventh - just two points away from today's opponents.

After a lacklustre start to the year, including three straight defeats, McCarthy was delighted with the way his side bounced back.

The Town boss said: "We weren't particularly great in the first half but we were a lot better in the second half and we deserved the win against a good Reading side.

"It was an excellent defensive performance in the second half and keeping a clean sheet was great for them.

"The players were hurt by their performance at Millwall (a 1-0 defeat last week) so it was nice to come back with a win."

McCarthy praised the impact of Stephen Hunt, a catalyst in Murphy's opening goal, and Anderson's excellent cameo performance.

"We have been asking Ando to be more positive and hopefully today will show him what he can do," McCarthy added.

Murphy broke the deadlock on 62 minutes, lashing a shot off the underside of the crossbar following a bustling run forward by the impressive Hunt.

Prior to that, there was little between the two sides although Reading were denied what looked a great shout for a penalty when Ryan Tunnicliffe dived in on Jobi McAnuff in the first half.

After watching Anderson made the game safe in injury time, Reading boss Nigel Adkins described the penalty appeal as the "turning point".

He explained: "It should have been a penalty - everyone knows it. You need a break when you are on top and we didn't get it.

"McAnuff was trying to stay on his feet and it was a clear penalty.

"But I thought it was a good Championship game. We did really well in the first half, we were on the front-foot and competitive, but Ipswich were better in the second half.

"We kept going after Murphy's goal and had a few oohs and aahs but the second goal put the game to bed."

With his side remaining in the final play-off spot, two points ahead of Ipswich, Adkins predicted an exciting last few months of the season - but no new faces before the transfer window closes on Friday.

Adkins said: "I am looking forward to the second half of the season. The top two looks beyond us but we have players coming back and it will be an exciting end."

Meanwhile, Ipswich were watched by new loan signing Frazier Richardson with the 31-year-old right-back completing a move from Middlesbrough until the end of the season.