READING FC boss Paul Clement admitted he didn’t recognise some of his players during a woeful first-half against Ipswich Town.

Clement’s focus has been on shoring up his defence for today’s clash between two of the Championship’s bottom three teams.

But the hard work was unravelled in the first 11 minutes as Gwion Edwards and Freddie Sears both found the net for Paul Lambert’s rock-bottom visitors.

Yakou Miete – who passed a late fitness test ¬¬– punctured Town celebrations with a magical overhead kick from Sam Baldock’s cross.

Royals were second best after that as fit-again Anssi Jaakkola denied Jordan Roberts twice and Chambers sent a free header wide.

Clement admitted he could have changed more than half of his side at the interval.

They were a yard off the pace, weak in the challenge, poor on the ball and often chasing shadows.

He ended up making one substitution by replacing Andy Rinomhota with Garath McCleary.

Mo Barrow – a walking timebomb most of the game after an early yellow for diving – should have equalised on 53 minutes, denied by Bartosz Bialkowski’s brilliant save from close-range.

But, after Jordan Spence had tested Jaakkolla, Meite levelled on 84 minutes with his sixth goal in five games to secure a point.

Clement’s men could even have snatched victory at the death only for Sam Baldock to twice fire over from good positions.

But Royals' boss refused to dress up his side’s casual display in the first half.

“I think a draw was fair based on the performances of the two teams.

“First half we were bad, really really bad, because of the context of the season. We were both in the relegation zone before the start, but it looked like only one team were and that was Ipswich.

“They were fighting, running, their spirit was great – they played some good football. We were like rabbits in headlights, we didn’t know what to do.

“I think we were fortunate to be 2-1 down at half time, it could have been three or four based on how we were playing and the errors we were making and the way our back line started the game.

“It’s very difficult to explain why. The message all week was this was going to be a very tough game. Maybe subconsciously we thought we’re only playing bottom of the table, I don’t know. It doesn’t work like that.

“It was a really poor first half.”

He added: “Second half the players reacted well to what I said and played with the right spirit. It wasn’t perfect, but we had a foundation to push Ipswich back a bit and I think we finished the stronger team.

“At the end we had the better chances.”

The point lifted Reading out of the relegation zone going into a fortnight’s international break, with Ipswich still bottom, but undefeated under Paul Lambert.

Reading, meanwhile, are yet to win back-to-back matches since last December, and Clement conceded: “We did well last week but this week only in the second half.

“What I saw gave me a strange feeling, the rain was coming down, there were errors everywhere and I just didn’t recognise what I was seeing or some of the players out there.

“At half time I was angry with them and they knew it.

“I could have made five or six changes.

“I made one which was harsh on Andy, who hadn’t done anything wrong.

“In the end I was just pleased with the spirit, and that’s how we have to be every game.”