GALLERY & MATCH REPORT: Brighton & Hove Albion 0 Ipswich Town 2
- Credit: Archant
Brighton v Ipswich: Second half goals from Tommy Smith and Daryl Murphy secured Ipswich Town a priceless away win over rivals Brighton & Hove Albion.
Smith bravely headed in from close-range in the 60th minute to breach the division’s tightest defence, with Daryl Murphy stooping to head home the killer second 10 minutes from time.
The Seagulls were left to rue wasting several good goalscoring chances in front of a crowd of 29,093, with Ipswich completing a double over the East Sussex side to keep alive their top six hopes heading into the final nine matches of the Championship campaign.
Victory means Mick McCarthy’s men are back to within five points of the play-off places ahead of back-to-back home games against Derby County and Nottingham Forest next Tuesday and Saturday respectively.
Brighton bossed possession for much of the game but Ipswich always looked a threat on the counter-attack.
The home side’s first big miss came in the sixth minute when Jesse Lingard latched onto Bruno’s long ball to race clear one-on-one. He waited too long to get his shot away though and, with Christophe Berra chasing back, he could only toe-poke an effort straight at Dean Gerken.
Anthony Wordsworth – making his first league start of the season – added some invention to Town’s midfield, the livewire Jonny Williams – booed by home fans because of his Crystal Palace connections – and the forward-thinking Araon Cresswell were all combining well. Lone striker Murphy led the line superbly.
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For a split second Ipswich thought they were level in the 25th minute. Cresswell’s low cross was mis-hit by Murphy but keeper Tomasz Kuszczak could only parry and Williams gobbled up the rebound. The linesman’s flag was raised but replays suggest he was onside.
Moments later, Cresswell’s speculative effort looped off Bruno, over Kuszczak and dipped onto the roof of the net to the relief of the home crowd.
Brighton continued to pass the ball around confidently but they were unable to produce an end product. Lingard again passed up a golden opportunity just before the break when he side-footed wide in acres of space after Will Buckley had burst to the by-line and pulled the ball back.
It required a superb save from Gerken to keep the scores level five minutes after the restart, the Blues custodian at full-stretch to keep out Lingard’s crisp low effort from the edge of the box after a cross had been half-cleared.
Ipswich continued to pose a threat on the break though and Stephen Hunt’s attempt, although blazed well over, provided a reminder that the visitors were still very much in the game.
When Buckley planted a free header wide in the 57th minute, following Keith Andrews’ superb overlapping run and clipped cross, you began to sense it could be the Suffolk side’s day.
Three minutes later, out of nowhere, Murphy’s perseverance won a corner. Hunt delivered from the left, Murphy looped a back post header back across goal and Smith bravely headed in from close-range as Kuszczak looked to punch clear.
Big Argentine striker Leonardo Ulloa glanced a header wide in the 70th minute following a superb delivery from the left by Lingard.
Town weren’t so wasteful 10 minutes from time, Williams collecting Cresswell’s short throw-in, beating Buckley with a piece of skill and crossing for a stooping Murphy to glance home in front of the gleeful 1,784 travelling fans.
Ipswich then finished the stronger, the superb Murphy firing narrowly over on the angle.
– Reaction to follow.
BRIGHTON & HOVE ALBION (4-3-3): Kuszczak; Bruno, Greer (cot), Upson, Ward; Ince, Andrews, Forster-Caskey (LuaLua 61); Buckley, Ulloa, Lingard (March 77).
Subs: Brezovan, Dunk, Stephens, Rodriguez, Calderon.
Booked: Bruno (34)
IPSWICH TOWN (4-4-1-1): Gerken; Chambers (cpt), Berra, Smith, Cresswell; Anderson (Green 74), Wordsworth, Hyam, Hunt (Tabb 74); Williams (Mings 84), Murphy.
Subs: Loach, Richardson, Nouble, Ebanks-Blake.
Booked: Smith (78)
Attendance: 29,093 (1,784 away)
Referee: Darren Drysdale