GALLERY & MATCH REPORT: Cardiff City 3 Ipswich Town 1
Cardiff v Ipswich: Ipswich Town’s eight-game unbeaten streak was brought to an end as Cardiff City came-from-behind to record a 3-1 home victory.
The Blues broke the deadlock in style, the fit-again Daryl Murphy arrowing a breathtaking half-volley across keeper David Marshall in the 29th minute for his seventh goal in 12 league games.
Peter Whittingham levelled things up eight minutes later with an equally stunning shot from outside the area though, smashing the ball into the top corner after Ipswich once again failed to deal with a corner kick.
It took Cardiff less than two minutes after the restart to get their noses in front, Federico Macheda diverting home Anthony Pilkington’s drilled cross from inside the six-yard box. And the Welsh hosts sealed impressive back-to-back wins under new boss Russell Slade when Adam Le Fondre forced the ball home from inside the area in the 69th minute.
Tyrone Mings picked up his fifth booking of the season and will now be suspended for Saturday’s visit of Huddersfield to Portman Road.
This was Town’s first defeat in Cardiff since 2005 and, remarkably, the first time they’ve ever lost to the Welsh side by more than a single goal. Mick McCarthy’s men drop to ninth in the Championship table.
McCarthy made two changes to his starting XI following Saturday’s 1-1 home draw with Blackburn Rovers. Fit-again duo Luke Chambers and Daryl Murphy – skipper and leading scorer respectively – replaced Tommy Smith and Stephen Hunt respectively, while Teddy Bishop, having overcome illness, was back in the matchday squad.
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Hunt, Darren Ambrose and Alex Henshall all travelled as non-subs.
Cardiff boss Russell Slade made just one change to his team having made a dream start to life in the Bluebirds’ hot-seat, masterminding a 2-1 home win over the previously unbeaten Nottingham Forest. The fit-again Fabio Da Silva replaced Joe Ralls at left-back.
Town started brightly, with the creative trio of Kevin Bru, Jonny Williams and David McGoldrick linking up well in one easy-on-the-eye piece of passing and movement. Moments later, Murphy sliced a long-range shot horribly off target – the audacious attempt not only a sign of the Irishman’s sky high confidence, but a precursor to what would happen later in the half.
Cardiff gradually grew into the match and their first opportunity arrived in the 14th minute. Former Norwich City midfielder Anthony Pilkington had two bites at the cherry; his rasping first shot from the edge of the box was well blocked by Christophe Berra, his quickfire second attempt tipped over the bar by arching keeper Dean Gerken.
The Blues then got away with one from the resulting corner when Conor Sammon completely missed Whittingham’s delivery into the six-yard box. Cole Skuse sparred his team-mate’s blushes, lunging to block Federico Macheda’s low ball back into the six-yard box.
Ipswich responded. First McGoldrick put a wild attempt well off target, then Sammon guided a low, angled attempt just past the far post following a driving run from centre circle to the edge of the box from Williams.
Home winger Craig Noone was proving a tricky customer, drawing several fouls, and he had the ball in the net after 22 minutes. The offside flag had long been up though, Macheda having wandered beyond the last defender far too early.
The even nature of the game continued, with Williams dragging a shot from the edge of the box wide for Town, while, at the other end, Adam Le Fondre blazed a far post volley well over following good work by Pilkington down the left.
A prolonged period of heavy rain then added to the already difficult blustery conditions, and there was no doubting this played a part in Town’s opener. Luke Chambers’ long ball skipped up off wet surface and forced Fabio into a piece of mis-control off his chest. There was nothing lucky about what followed though, Murphy latching onto the loose ball, cutting in from the right and arrowing a powerful half-volley across keeper David Marshall and into the far corner of the net. It was the in-form Irishman’s seventh goal in 12 league games.
It was then a then a case of ‘anything he can do, I can do better’, Cardiff midfielder Whittingham levelling things up eight minutes later with what was arguably an even better strike.
Once again it was a corner kick that did for the Blues. Noone’s delivery was headed clear by Murphy and Bru helped it on. Williams mis-read the bounce of the ball though, the wet surface again possibly playing a part, and Whittingham spun before unleashing an unstoppable shot from almost 30 yards out into the top right corner.
It was the ninth goal of the season that Ipswich had conceded from either the first or second phase of a corner. Indeed, only three of the 13 they had conceded in all competitions had come from open play.
That became four from open play less than two minutes after the restart. Twice Town failed to get the ball clear in the box; Mings’ attempted hook at the far post going straight back to where it came and fellow full-back Parr then failing to get a good connection on the ball. On both occasions the ball had fallen awkwardly over the players’ shoulder. Pilkington had floated the first cross, but he drilled the second delivery into the six-yard box and Macheda – not knowing much about it – diverted the ball home.
It then required two good saves from Gerken in quick succession to prevent Cardiff doubling their lead in the 56th minute, the Town keeper quick of his line to block at the feet of Fabio before leaping to his right to keep out Noone’s long-ranger.
Mings was booked for a foul on the lively Noone moments later, his fifth yellow card of the campaign meaning he’ll be suspended for Saturday’s visit of Huddersfield.
Town huffed and puffed in response, Murphy’s looping header, which dropped just the wrong side of the post, a rare forward foray. Balint Bajner replaced Sammon but Cardiff continued to look the more dangerous in attack.
The Welsh side scored their third, making it virtually game, set and match, in the 69th minute. Noone’s cross from the right was headed into the area and the alert Le Fondre scrambled the ball home from 12 yards out, the ball appearing to take a deflection on its way to goal.
CARDIFF CITY (4-4-2): Marshall; Brayford, Morrison, Ecuele Manga, Fabio; Noone, Whittingham, Gunnarsson, Pilkington; Macheda (Ralls 84), Le Fondre (Maynard 78).
Unused subs: Moore, Gabbidon, Connolly, Kim, Daehli.
Booked: Fabio (62), Macheda (74)
IPSWICH TOWN (4-3-3): Gerken; Parr, Chambers (cpt), Berra, Mings; Skuse, Williams (Bishop 75), Bru (Anderson 87); Sammon (Bajner 67), McGoldrick, Murphy.
Unused subs: Bialkowski, Smith, Clarke, Tabb.
Booked: Mings (56)
Referee: Mr David Coote
Conditions: Wet and windy