Gallery & Report: Ipswich Town 0 Derby County 1 – Below-par Blues suffer only their second defeat in 22 matches

Luke Hyam (right) and Tommy Smith react after Ipswich Town's 1-0 home defeat to Derby County. Photo:

Luke Hyam (right) and Tommy Smith react after Ipswich Town's 1-0 home defeat to Derby County. Photo: Gregg Brown - Credit: Gregg Brown

Ipswich v Derby: Ipswich Town suffered only their second defeat in 22 matches, dropping out of the Championship automatic promotion places with a 1-0 home loss to high-flying rivals Derby County at Portman Road this lunchtime.

Mick McCarthy’s men were on the wrong end of two highly controversial refereeing decisions before Chris Martin scored the game’s only goal in the 57th minute, the ex-Norwich City striker pouncing after a Tommy Smith error.

Rams midfielder John Eustace was fortunate not to be issued a second yellow card for a hefty off-the-ball barge on David McGoldrick just before half-time, the Town striker booked for his subsequent kick-out and angry reaction.

Then referee Kevin Wright was unmoved when Jay Tabb’s cross hit Richard Keogh – somewhere near the arm and midrift – in the box eight minutes after the restart.

The Blues were well below-par though, producing an uncharacteristically edgy performance full of unforced errors that will have left the neutrals watching on television just how they are so far up the table. You could sense the frustration in the home side’s play during a second period devoid of chances.

You may also want to watch:

Eustace did see red in the final minute, his awkward trip on McGoldrick leading to a second yellow card, with Town mounting a late stoppage-time surge – but it was too little too late.

Blues boss McCarthy made two changes to his last league line-up, Tyrone Mings preferred to Jonathan Parr at left-back and Luke Hyam replacing Cole Skuse (ill) at the base of the midfield diamond.

Most Read

Derby manager Steve McClaren reverted to the line-up which beat Leeds 2-0 at home, having made nine changes for his side’s 1-0 FA Cup win over non-league side Southport. That meant that new loan signing and ex-Ipswich striker Darren Bent – the man who has scored debut goals for five of his seven clubs – had to make do with a place on the bench.

Town started well and had two good chances, in quick succession, to open the scoring in the third minute. After McGoldrick’s raking cross-field pass, Jay Tabb had time and space to shoot on the edge of the box. His effort was beaten away by keeper Lee Grant and Daryl Murphy scuffed the rebound effort.

It very quickly became an edgy affair. McGoldrick curled one over the bar following a one-two with Daryl Murphy, but Derby – with pace in the wide areas – looked a threat on the counter-attack.

Tyrone Mings blocked a shot by Jeff Hendrick after Jordan Ibe’s dangerous pull-back, then Tommy Smith was booked for halting Johnny Russell’s surge towards the area. Russell clipped the resultant free-kick just past the post.

It required a super saving tackle by Christophe Berra to deny Russell in the 44th minute. Then came the major controversy.

Right in front of the referee, Eustace stepped into the path of McGoldrick to halt his run. The striker, as he tumbled to the floor, kicked out in frustration. The pair then grabbed each other by the shirts and, after it had all died down, McGoldrick was booked and Derby were awarded the free-kick.

Town started the second period well, with Teddy Bishop’s dipping shot from long-range beaten away by Grant.

Moments later, Tabb’s cross from the left hit Richard Keogh in the box. On first viewing, it appeared to strike him on the arm. The Derby player insisted it was his midrift.

Derby struck four minutes later in route one fashion. Cyrus Christie’s long punt over the top caught the wind, Tommy Smith allowed it to bounce and then didn’t get enough on his back header. Martin pounced to poke home his 100th career goal.

The goal really knocked the stuffing out of Ipswich and, perhaps with the earlier refereeing decisions in their minds, produced a frustrated and disjointed final 20 minutes.

Eustace was shown a second yellow in the final minute for an awkward trip on McGoldrick and, with Berra sent up front, Ipswich did mount a late surge in stoppage-time. Two corners were well defended though and Derby saw out a mature away win.

IPSWICH TOWN (4-1-2-1-2): Bialkowski; Chambers (cpt), Smith, Berra, Mings; Hyam; Anderson (N.Hunt 68), Tabb (S.Hunt 56); Bishop (Bru 72); Murphy, McGoldrick.

Unused subs: Gerken, Parr, Ambrose, Bajner.

Booked: Smith (18), McGoldrick (45), Hyam (85).

DERBY COUNTY (4-1-2-3): Grant; Christie, Keogh (cpt), Buxton, Forsyth; Eustace; Hughes, Hendrick (Bryson 81); Russell (Shotton 90+), Martin, Ibe (Dawkins 86).

Unused subs: Roos, Mascarell, Ward, Bent.

Booked: Eustace (39, 90).

Sent-off: Eustace (90).

Referee: Kevin Wright.

Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter