Gallery & Report: Ipswich Town 4 Leeds United 1
- Credit: Ashley Pickering
Ipswich v Leeds: Ipswich Town swept aside an out-of-sorts Leeds United at Portman Road, coming from behind to comfortably win 4-1 and remain hot-on-the-heels of Championship league-leaders Derby.
Mirko Antnucci broke the deadlock in the fourth minute, but Town responded superbly and Leeds – at sixes and sevens defensively – folded under the pressure.
Daryl Murphy scored twice, his excellent header levelling things up (12) and low near post finish creeping under keeper Marco Silvestri in first-half stoppage-time to make it 3-1. In between those goals was a coolly converted penalty from David McGoldrick (26).
Christophe Berra then got the last touch on Tommy Smith’s goalbound header from a corner less then three minutes after the restart and the Blues were able to finish the match showboating against a team who continued to make unforced errors.
This was the first time Town have scored more than twice in a game since the 3-0 win at Doncaster on Boxing Day last year. It was only the 13th time they have scored three or more under Mick McCarthy’s management. It was the first time they’d hit four since the 4-4 draw at Derby on October 1,2013.
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Murphy has now scored nine goals in nine games for Town. He moves on to 13 for the season, equalling his career-best tally of last season and moving to the top of the Championship top-scorers chart. McGoldrick has now scored five goals in four games against Leeds.
Ipswich have now lost just one in 15. In a seven-game unbeaten run they have claimed 17 points from a possible 21. They remain in second place and just a point behind leaders Derby.
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A bumper Portman Road crowd fell into a stunned silence after a mix-up at the back led to Leeds breaking the deadlock in the fourth minute. Luke Chambers and Tommy Smith both left an aimless ball up the line to each other, Stephen Warnock pounced and pulled the ball back to leave Anenucci with a simple finish at the back post.
Town refused to panic though and hit back quickly. Luke Chambers was given plenty of time and space to deliver a diagonal ball into the box from deep and Murphy rose superbly on the penalty spot before diverting his header wonderfully into the top left corner.
The Leeds defence began to look increasingly fragile, especially at set-pieces, and you sensed the confident hosts would soon get a second.
After a Stephen Hunt corner caused chaos in the box, Murphy’s powerful shot from 12 yards out was blocked by Jason Pearce – not that he knew much about it. Moments later, Tyrone Mings’ low cross somehow evaded several players in the box and was eventually hacked away by Warnock.
Mings then produced a fine saving slide tackle on Souleymane Doukara at the other end.
Town’s second finally arrived in the 26th minute. Warnock inexplicably barged Paul Anderson in the back, just inside the area, as the two watched a Jay Tabb ball fall from the sky. A penalty was awarded and McGoldrick coolly converted for his fifth goal in four games against Leeds.
Two minutes later, Murphy fired just wide after Hunt had nodded down Chambers’ deep ball to the back post.
Then, as the first half entered stoppage-time, Murphy played a slick one-two with Chambers down the right before squeezing a shot under keeper Marco Silvestri at the near post.
Town continued their relentless attacking after the break and it didn’t take long for Leeds to crumble.
Less then three minutes after the restart Tommy Smith flicked Hunt’s corner from the left towards goal at the near post and, though the ball was probably creeping in, Berra made sure by getting the last touch near the line.
Town began to enjoy themselves and Murphy was denied a superb hat-trick goal in the 56th minute, Silvestri keeping out his cheeky on-the-run heeled effort at the near post following McGoldrick’s clever chip to the back post.
The oles started to ring out around Portman Road during lengthy spells of possession. Chambers produced a few keep-ups by the touchline, McGoldrick tried a clever Cruyff-turn through ball, Leeds midfielder Tomasso Bianchi was booked for a frustrated foul on sub Teddy Bishop.
It was certainly a day to forget for Leeds. There were ironic cheers when Warnock shanked the ball into touch under zero pressure, The same when Doukara sliced a long-range shot off for a throw-in. When two defenders both ducked out of a header inside their own box it rather summed up their afternoon.
Town eased up over the final quarter of an hour, the win keeping them hot on the heels of league-leaders Derby County.
IPSWICH TOWN (4-2-3-1): Bialkowski; Chambers (cpt), Smith, Berra, Mings; Skuse, Tabb (Bishop 60); Anderson (Bru 72), McGoldrick, S.Hunt (Sammon 79); Murphy.
Unused subs: Gerken, Parr, St Ledger, Bajner.
Booked: Tabb (40), Smith (54).
LEEDS UNITED (4-1-2-1-2): Silvestri; Byram, Pearce, Cooper, Warnock (cpt); Bianchi; Cook, Mowatt; Adryan (Sharp 53); Doukara (Austin 51), Antenucci.
Unused subs: Taylor, Berardi, Tonge, Dawson, Del Fabro.
Booked: Bianchi (62), Cook (88).
Attendance: 21,489 (1,835 away).
Referee: Michael Dean.