GALLERY & REPORT: Millwall 1 Ipswich Town 3
Millwall v Ipswich: Noel Hunt grabbed a brace for Ipswich Town as the Blues got back to winning ways with a comfortable 3-1 victory at Millwall on Saturday afternoon.
The former Leeds striker scored on five and 14 minutes to give the visitors a dream start and although Magaye Gueye pulled a goal back for the hosts, two minutes before the break, substitute Jonathan Parr wrapped the game up with 13 minutes to go.
Blues boss Mick McCarthy made four changes to the team that lost in midweek to Southampton, with David McGoldrick and Luke Hyam injured and Parr and Darren Ambrose dropping to the bench. That meant starts for Noel Hunt, Tyrone Mings, Paul Anderson and Jay Tabb.
Millwall, meanwhile, with just two wins in 20 games, made seven changes to the team that were humbled 4-0 at Bradford, in the FA Cup, in midweek.
Millwall started on the front foot and on-loan Watford forward Diego Fabbrini almost gave the hosts the perfect start but after his first effort spun into the air off Christophe Berra, his second attempt went narrowly wide of the far post
Noel Hunt got the first of his two goals after just five minutes. Daryl Murphy won a flick-on from a long ball, Stephen Hunt did well to force his way into the box with the ball and found his brother who fired home from a tight angle at close range.
Town doubled their lead nine minutes later, again Noel Hunt grabbing the goal.
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Stephen Hunt who delivered a low ball to the near post that went through a crowd of players. However, Kevin Bru was alert at the back post to play the ball back in and Noel rolled the ball home from three yards, having got back to his feet - he had lunged and fell trying to connect with the initial ball in.
Millwall attempted to pull a goal back, but Jimmy Abdou’s shot was scuffed wide from the edge of the area after good work by Stefan Maierhofer.
Maierhofer then headed into the side-netting at the back post after finding a yard of room, Town’s defender’s switching off temporarily from a free-kick.
Town almost went three-up when Murphy capitalised on a Byron Webster error but, one on one with David Forde, curled his left-foot effort with the outside of his boot, wide of the right-hand post, under pressure from Sid Nelson.
That profligacy cost Town as Millwall pulled a goal back two minutes before the break, Gueye firing home from close range after Lee Gregory played him in, following a Maierhofer flick-on - the Town defence going to sleep once again.
The start of the second half cut a frenetic pace without Millwall really testing Bartosz Bialkowski and Murphy was inches away from converting Noel Hunt’s left-wing cross after a quick break by Paul Anderson.
Millwall were huffing and puffing, Jack Powell firing high and wide from 30 yards but Gueye almost found an opening in the box, only to be denied by a superb lunging tackle from Mings.
From a corner soon after, defender Webster glanced a header wide of the far post with Town, once again, looking susceptible at set-pieces.
Maierhofer was becoming more and more influential with his height posing problems, but Town added a new dimension when new signing Freddie Sears replaced Noel Hunt, the former Colchester man causing problems from the off.
First, after breaking through on goal, his volley was charged down by Nelson, with Town fans calling for handball.
He then played his part in a superb third goal. A long ball forward was flicked on by Murphy into his path and the new man fed Parr who ran on and scored with a confident right-foot finish from the edge of the box, the ball rolling into the net.
MILLWALL: Forde, Cummings (Fuller 80), Nelson, Webster, Harding, Gueye, Abdou, Powell, Fabbrini (Martin 63), Maierhofer, Gregory. Subs not used: Shittu, Woolford, McDonald, Wilkinson, King.
TOWN: Bialkowski, Chambers, Smith, Berra, Mings, Anderson (Clarke 88(, Bru, Tabb, Stephen Hunt (Parr 64), Noel Hunt (Sears 63), Murphy. Subs not used: Crowe, Stewart, Ambrose.
Referee: Graham Salisbury