IPSWICH Town crashed to a seismic 2-1 defeat at home to Reading – a result that effectively ended their chances of staying in the Championship.

Anything less than three points was unthinkable with the Blues anchored to the foot of the table, nine points behind the Royals.

A victory would have given them a sniff of a chance but instead they succumbed to a painful defeat after yet another late goal, this time from Royals substitute Modou Barrow.

Reading’s winner came in the 90th minute, just after Town looked to have rescued a point via substitute Gwion Edwards.

The wide man smashed home at the far post to cancel out a first-half effort from Nelson Oliveira.

However, Town were left heartbroken at the death and now face an almost impossible task to avoid dropping through the trapdoor into League One.

They are 12 points from safety, with an inferior goal difference, with just 11 matches left – with their next two at promotion-chasing West Bromwich Albion and Bristol City.

Boss Paul Lambert made two changes to his starting line-up, recalling the fit-again James Collins and Teddy Bishop for Jonas Knudsen (suspended) and Will Keane (injured).

Town started with three centre-halves, Luke Chambers, Collins and Matthew Pennington, wing-backs James Bree and Myles Kenlock and two deeper-lying midfielders, Trevoh Chalobah and Jon Nolan.

Alan Judge played in his regular number ten role, with Bishop up front alongside Collin Quaner.

Town produced a stuttering first-half performance and could have been more than one behind.

Yakou Meite and Garath McCleary dragged shots narrowly wide from the right and left respectively.

Lewis Baker curled another effort agonisingly wide.

Town’s best moments came shortly before the break when keeper Emiliano Martinez smothered shots from Judge, played in by Quaner, and Nolan, after the ball was worked into his path by Quaner and Bishop.

However, it was Reading who led at the break thanks to Oliveira’s 19th-minute goal, slamming home after a clever cut-back by McCleary.

The wide man had muscled behind Chambers and connected with a through ball from Tyler Blackett.

The ex-Norwich City man relished his goal and infuriated home fans with his provocative celebrations – a dangerous game to play having been booked four minutes previously for a foul.

Lambert boldly made a double change at the break, bringing on Cole Skuse and Edwards for Chalobah and Bree.

Town huffed and puffed again but, in truth, genuine scoring chances were few and far between.

Judge stung Martinez’s hands with a powerful effort and Skuse sent a volley just over the bar from the edge of the D.

Andy Yiadom nearly nodded into his own net – only to be rescued by the alert Martinez.

Town threw themselves a lifeline when Edwards smashed home at the far post, after a half-cleared ball in from the left was helped on by Skuse and then Quaner.

But they were dealt a crushing blow when Barrow added Reading’s second, driving his shot past Bartosz Bialkowski.

Edwards had an effort tipped over but the game slipped away and, for the second week in a row, the hosts were left licking their wounds after conceding late goals.