MATCH REPORT: Yeovil Town 0 Ipswich Town 1
22:42 11 March 2014
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Yeovil v Ipswich: Ipswich Town recorded their first away win of 2014, Christophe Berra’s first half goal sealing a 1-0 win at Yeovil.
Having weathered an early storm, Mick McCarthy’s men got a foothold in the match and broke the deadlock five minutes before the break when Berra fired high into the net after Tommy Smith had flicked on Stephen Hunt’s corner.
The Blues always looked comfortable in the second half and could have killed the game off attacking the away terraces which were filled with more than 1,000 travelling fans.
It almost proved costly, Yeovil striker Kieffer Moore rattling the post deep into stoppage-time.
Victory was crucial given that top-six rivals Reading and Brighton were also victorious, Town still ninth and four points adrift of the play-off places ahead of Saturday’s visit of FA Cup semi-finalists Wigan.
McCarthy said in the build-up that Yeovil – unbeaten in five heading into the match – would be dangerous opponents. The shackles are off sides fighting for their lives come this stage of the season, he warned.
The Glovers certainly played that way in the opening exchanges, with teenager Tom Lawrence – a gangly left-winger on loan from Manchester United with a Cristiano Ronaldo type gait – particularly threatening.
As early as the second minute the youngster played a short corner, received the ball back and drifted towards the angle of the box before unleashing a low shot that flashed across the face of goal.
In the ninth minute, Lawrence produced an inch perfect chip over the top following Tommy Smith’s poor clearance. James Hayter fired over, but the home side had momentum.
Ipswich were struggling to get out of their own half, a series of aimless long balls simply handing possession back to Yeovil.
Town players simply bounced off Ishmael Miller in the box as the on loan Nottingham Forest man held up the ball with his back to goal before laying it off for Luke Ayling to shoot. Dean Gerken held the ball at the second attempt.
Ipswich’s first attempt on goal arrived in the 20th minute following a driving run forwards by Paul Anderson on the counter-attack. He delayed his pass left to Daryl Murphy though and the striker, off balance, sliced his angled shot high and wide.
The Blues did slowly begin to get a bit of a foothold in the match after this, with McCarthy urging his players to close the ball down quicker.
There were ironic cheers from the home fans when Cole Skuse put a long-range volley well wide on the half an hour mark, but there were signs that the momentum was gradually shifting.
That feeling intensified when the Blues forced four corners in a row as the 40 minute mark neared. The deadlock was duly broken from the last of them, Berra firing high into the net after Smith had flicked on Stephen Hunt’s delivery at the near post.
Yeovil boss Gary Johnson responded by changing both his strikers at the break. Target man Kieffer Moore, available again after suspension, and the diminutive Samuel Hoskins replaced Miller and Hayter.
If anything it made the home side less of an attacking threat and Ipswich were quite happy to take the sting out of the game.
Luke Chambers responded to Glovers fans after he had attempted to wrestle the ball back off home skipper Jamie McAllister, while Stephen Hunt went into the book for a late challenge on Luke Ayling right in front of the dug-outs.
The latter was quickly taken off by McCarthy, Jonny Williams coming on, while moments later defender Tyrone Mings replaced striker Ebanks-Blake as the Blues boss signalled his intentions to see out the match.
Town continued to look the more dangerous side though, with Cresswell’s whipped free-kick causing panic in the Yeovil boss. Murphy looked like he’d scrambled the loose ball in from close range, but keeper Marek Stech recovered to keep the ball out.
In Crystal Palace loanee Williams, Town had an outlet as he continued to play on the last shoulder of the home defence.
The Blues could have put the game to bed in the closing stages, with Anderson screwing a shot wide after good link-up play by Murphy and Stech diving full stretch to his left to touch Skuse’s low curling effort around the post.
And it almost proved costly as Yeovil came within a lick of pain of equalising deep into stoppage-time, target man Moore smacking the left-hand post with a fine volley on the turn from the edge of the box.
Ipswich went straight up the other end and Stech – again at full stretch – kept out a low Murphy effort. Few could argue that the Blues deserved all three points.
YEOVIL TOWN (4-4-2): Stech; Ayling, Webster, Duffy, McAllister (cpt); Edwards, Palazuelos, Lawrence, Holmes (Morgan 73); Miller (Moore 46), Hayter (Hoskins 46).
Subs: Dawson, Lanzoni, Dunn, Twumasi.
Booked: Edwards (69)
IPSWICH TOWN (4-4-2): Gerken; Chambers (cpt), Berra, Smith, Cresswell; Anderson (Green 85), Skuse, Hyam, Hunt (Williams 62); Ebanks-Blake (Mings 65), Murphy.
Subs: Loach, Richardson, Tabb, Taylor.
Booked: Hyam (34), Hunt (61)
Attendance: 5,920 (1,091 away)
Referee: Simon Hooper.