Gallery & Report: Brentford 2 Ipswich Town 4 – Town temporarily move top after impressive win

Daryl Murphy celebrates scoringhis second at Brentford on Boxing Day

Daryl Murphy celebrates scoringhis second at Brentford on Boxing Day

Brentford v Ipswich: Ipswich Town’s travelling army of away fans sung ‘we are going up’ throughout the second half of yesterday’s impressive 4-2 win at Brentford.

Mick McCarthy’s men will certainly take some stopping after another ruthless display which saw another high-flying, previously in-form side ruthlessly put to the sword.

First half goals from Daryl Murphy (2) and Paul Anderson put the Blues in firm control against a team who had started the day third in the table following seven wins from eight.

Brentford sub Sam Saunders scored twice in the closing stages but in between that Blues defender Tommy Smith had netted, the ultra-confident Blues now unbeaten in 10 matches heading into Tuesday night’s home game against Charlton.

The previously in-form Bees dominated possession but couldn’t handle Town’s all-action, direct and physical approach, the visitors seizing on second balls and showing a clinical edge in front of goal.

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McCarthy named an unchanged starting XI following the impressive 2-0 home win over Middlesbrough. Tyrone Mings once again missed out with an infected toe, while Noel Hunt – fit again following a minor knock – replaced Balint Bajner on the bench.

Within 18 seconds of the home side kicking-off, Town, incredibly, had broken the deadlock. Brentford worked the ball backwards, an aimless ball forwards was intercepted by the head of Bishop, Anderson drove forwards into acres of space and slipped a ball into Murphy to lash home on the angle.

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The Championship’s leading scorer had taken his tally to the season to 15 – one more than he scored in five years at Sunderland.

With a two-tiered packed away end rocking, and the home fans stunned, Town had a golden opportunity to add a second in the eighth minute. A short corner led to Bishop working the ball out to the left, Smith beat his man and delivered a low cross and, after David McGoldrick cleverly dummied, Jay Tabb fired over from 15 yards out.

Brentford eventually settled following that early body-blow and began to pass the ball about crisply. Town defended solidly though and continued to look a major threat on the counter-attack.

There was a spell of end-to-end action. Town went close when Luke Chambers’ throw-in found Murphy’s feet in the box and he spun to shoot, forcing a good low save from keeper David Button. The Bees went straight down the other end and, after Bartosz Bialkowksi had spilled Jota’s long-range shot, Christophe Berra cleared the loose ball over his own bar.

Town looked the far bigger attacking threat though and it required a fine block by Toumani Diagouraga to stop Bishop’s shot finding its way to goal.

Ipswich’s second arrived in the 21st minute via route one fashion. Jonathan Parr’s long ball over the top left Murphy and centre-back Tony Craig in a direct battle; there was only one winner, the powerful Irishman too strong and quick for his marker, racing away before confidently rounding keeper David Button to score.

Nine minutes later it was 3-0, the home side again guilty of poor play at the back. This time Berra’s big hoof up in the air was poorly controlled and given away in the right-back area, McGoldrick picked out Tabb and his low cross, just missing Murphy at the near post, was converted from close-range by Anderson at the back post.

That’s the way the score stayed until the break, though Ipswich did have chances to extend their advantage further as Brentford continued to leave numerous gaps at the back to exploit. One Anderson driving run ended with a chip that was just too strong for McGoldrick to latch on to, while the offside flag went up, after Tabb had netted, following Chambers’ excellent diagonal ball.

Town started the second half on the front foot. Cole Skuse rolled a free-kick to his left and Murphy’s thunderous low shot was held at the second attempt by Button.

Brentford players soon began to get on each others’ backs. Alan Judge and Alex Pritchard argued over who would take a direct free-kick, the former eventually firing into the wall.

The London side did begin to improve, but Ipswich looked well-organised and solid at the back – Berra in imperious form. The big centre-back – arguably the best in the division at present – stepped in at a crucial moment after Jota had got beyond Parr to drive towards goal, won header after header and generally bossed things at the back.

For a moment it looked like there may be a slightly nervy finish after sub Sam Saunders’ shot took a big deflection off the sliding Noel Hunt to loop over Bartosz Bialkowski in the 80th minute to make it 1-3.

Less than three minutes later, Town made it game, set and match. After Smith’s near post header was cleared off the line by a defender, the ball was worked back into the box and Smith left his marker on their backside with a clever feint before passing the ball into the top corner with supreme confidence.

There was still time for Saunders to score again for Brentford, poking home following a goalmouth scramble, but the damage had been done.

BRENTFORD (4-2-3-1): Button; Odubajo, Craig (cpt), Dean, Bidwell; Diagouraga, Douglas (Toral 65); Jota, Pritchard, Judge (Saunders 76); Gray.

Unused subs: Bonham, Dallas, Smith, Tarkowski, Proschwitz.

IPSWICH TOWN (4-1-2-1-2): Bialkowski; Chambers (cpt), Smith, Berra, Parr; Skuse; Anderson (N.Hunt 64), Tabb (S.Hunt 72); Bishop (Bru 72); Murphy, McGoldrick.

Unused subs: Gerken, Clarke, Ambrose, Sammon.

Attendance: 12,165 (1,680 away)

Referee: Frederick Graham.

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