A very Good Friday for Ipswich

GOALS galore and their play-off rivals dropping points – what a very Good Friday it was for Ipswich Town, writes Derek Davis.Martijn Reuser, Tommy Miller and Pablo Counago helped destroy newly-promoted Portsmouth with goals inside a dazzling 30 minutes to put themselves within a point of sixth-placed Wolves, who play their game in hand at home to Millwall today.

GOALS galore and their play-off rivals dropping points – what a very Good Friday it was for Ipswich Town, writes Derek Davis.

Martijn Reuser, Tommy Miller and Pablo Counago helped destroy newly-promoted Portsmouth with goals inside a dazzling 30 minutes to put themselves within a point of sixth-placed Wolves, who play their game in hand at home to Millwall today.

Dave Jones' side then face three of the top eight, with Norwich away on Monday, then Sheffield United and Leicester City. With Reading beating Nottingham Forest 1-0 last night the play-off situation is getting tighter, with Ipswich now just two points behind Forest.

But Blues boss Joe Royle knows it is still down to his side staying on the winning trail.


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He said: "It was just what we needed. All we can do is win the game and remind those above us that we are still fighting and in with a chance. If we play like that in the final three games we are in with a great chance.

"There are three games left and still no sign of the Fat Lady."

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Counago's stunning third goal took Town's tally to 100 goals in all competitions, but it was the clean sheet which made Royle just as happy.

He said: "Only Forest and Pompey have scored more than us in the league but we have conceded too many, so to keep a clean sheet is really good for us especially as we used a back four which we don't do too often. But we defended properly."

Town destroyed Portsmouth with the three-goal salvo to follow on from the four they hit at Coventry last week.

Royle said: "We carried on from how we played at Coventry and we are now taking our chances.

"We won because of us, not Pompey's attitude. It is always down to us and if we play as we can I fancy us against anyone."

With Richard Naylor injured Royle went to a back four with Matt Holland in midfield, and it worked a dream.

He said: "Our midfield four were outstanding and ran the game. We have so many riches in midfield we leave someone like Jermaine Wright on the bench, who would get into any other midfield in this division.

"Pablo scored a great goal and Marcus has never worked harder for the team than he is at the moment. And the back four were tremendous, to limit Portsmouth to one clear chance in 90 minutes is a great achievement and we defended well as a team.

"We did not have a weakness against a top side. People may say they have come off the pace but quite honestly we could have won at their place as well."

Town should have had a second half penalty when Steve Stone slapped away a Reuser header but by then it was immaterial.

Skipper Holland had said Town had wanted to win in style to send out a warning message to their play-off rivals and that was achieved.

He said: "Everyone was on their game and it was a good all-round team performance. It keeps us in the hunt and hopefully with three games to go we can force our way into the play-offs.

"If we win our last three games it puts pressure on those above us – they play each other and they can't all win points."

Pompey manager Harry Redknapp did not look for any excuses and admitted they were beaten by the better side.

He said: "I have got everything I could out of my players this year but today they ran out of steam and Ipswich played well.

"I never thought we would finish above Ipswich this year, all my friends backed Ipswich because I told them to.

"We have done a miracle but we knew it would be difficult here. Ipswich were better than us today because they are a very good side. I came here with West Ham and they mullered us, they played us off the park.

"It was the same when we played them at Fratton Park, we drew with them but they were the better side."

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