READING FC’s five-game unbeaten run came to an end as Royals slipped to a 2-0 defeat at Ipswich Town this afternoon.

First-half goals from Callum Connolly and Joe Garner sealed Royals’ fate after a lacklustre performance saw them fail to capitalise on their recent form.

Reading had chances to claw their way back into the game but their finishing lacked a cutting edge as fans were sent back to Berkshire feeling disappointed.

Boss Jaap Stam changed his line-up for the first time in five games as Tyler Blackett came in to replace Liam Kelly, who was relegated to the bench at Portman Road.

Royals went into the fixture on the back of a five-game unbeaten run but suffered a nightmare start when the hosts took the lead after just three minutes through Connolly.

Martyn Waghorn had the chance to double Ipswich’s lead just minutes later as Royals struggled to organise themselves away from home.

Modou Barrow and Leandro Bacuna found themselves in the referee’s book for arguing with the match officials early on in what looked set to be a dismal afternoon for Stam’s side.

Sone Aluko whipped a dangerous free-kick into the box with 10 minutes on the clock but nobody was there to meet his curled delivery, which drifted out for a goal-kick.

Royals’ first real opportunity came when Yann Kermorgant rose highest to nod Chris Gunter’s cross towards goal. Aluko had a chance from the follow-up but his miscued strike drifted wide of Bartosz Bialkowski’s goal.

Dave Edwards thought he had put Reading level when he got on the end of another wonderful delivery from Gunter. Unfortunately for Royals, Bialkowski was alert and just did enough to get behind the Welsh international’s effort.

Royals turned up the heat and Yann Kermorgant came within inches of poking a whipped cross by Barrow into the back of the net but for a timely interception by Adam Webster.

But their hard work was soon undone when a corner was flicked towards the back post allowing Garner to double the host’s lead with 27 minutes gone.

Royals refused to give up and nearly clawed themselves back into the game after a goal-mouth scramble following a corner. The ball eventually fell to Liam Moore, whose bicycle-kick was mistimed.

The home crowd called for Bacuna to be dismissed as half-time beckoned after his high boot caught Connolly, but referee Peter Bankes gave the Curacao international the benefit of the doubt.

Royals started the second-period with renewed energy pace and Barrow quickly broke beyond the Tractor Boys’ back line before his whipped cross clipped the outside of the post.

Reading skipper Paul McShane received a heavy blow early in the second-half, forcing a break in play while he received treatment on the pitch.

Moore then rescued Royals when Vito Mannone was well beaten by a Martyn Waghorn effort. Thankfully, the reportedly sought-after centre-back was behind the Italian shotstopper to clear the ball off of the line.

Barrow should have clawed one back for Royals when his volley from the left crashed into the advertising hoardings with 63 minutes gone.

Next, Bacuna had a shot from the edge of the box after he was picked out by Edwards, but the strike was well blocked by Town’s defence.

Royals lacked a creative spark and Stam threw on Kelly for Blackett with 17 minutes to go as Royals searched for a way back into the clash. Jon Dadi Bodvarsson also came on for Aluko to play up front with Kermorgant.

However, the changes made little difference and the tempo of the game soon fizzled out as Royals slipped to their first defeat in six league games.

Reading FC: Mannone, Gunter, Blackett (Kelly 73), McShane (c), Moore, Van den Berg, Edwards, Bacuna, Aluko (Bodvarsson 76), Barrow, Kermorgant. Subs not used: Jaakkola, Beerens, Ilori, Clement, Richards. Booked: Barrow 8, Bacuna 9, McShane 52, Edwards 66.

Ipswich Town FC: Bialkowski, Spence, Chambers, Webster, Knudsen, Skuse (Bru 45), Connolly, Ward, Waghorn, Celina, Garner (Sears 90). Subs not used: Iorfa, Smith, McGoldrick, Bishop, Crow. Booked: Waghorn 34, Knudsen 69, Webster 88.

Referee: Peter Bankes.

Attendance: 13,832.