Ivić was not prepared to see how the second half unfolded early on before making a tactical tweak. He immediately moved Ken Sema forward to play as part of a front three and the Swede was terrific, popping up in little pockets, probing and prompting. He played a lovely slide-rule pass to the overlapping Femenía and his cross was crying out for the intervention of a No.9.
You hoped the Hornets might kick on after that extremely promising start to the half, get an equaliser and then push for a winner, but that never happened and, if anything, Reading got stronger as the half wore on. The Royals looked particularly threatening from set-pieces to the far post and it needed a smart save from Foster to prevent Tom Holmes from putting the game to bed on 69 minutes.
Ivić opted for a last throw of the dice on with eight minutes remaining, bringing on Glenn Murray for Ismaïla Sarr in his third and final change. Murray scored eight goals in 18 games on a loan spell here in the first half of the 2014/15 season, but he didn't get a sniff here on his old stomping ground. It kind of summed up the day that the best chances arrived long before the arch poacher was on the pitch.