Ipswich Town 4-1 Accrington Stanley: Blues dominate their visitors to snap losing streak in impressive fashion
PUBLISHED: 16:53 11 January 2020 | UPDATED: 17:58 11 January 2020
© Copyright Stephen Waller
Ipswich Town served a reminder of what they're capable of as they swotted Accrington Stanley aside to end a long winless run.
This success, inspired by an electric first half which saw Kayden Jackson, James Norwood and Alan Judge net to effectively end the game as a contest, ends an eight-game winless run in the league and was the first success at Portman Road since the end of September.
They weren't able to add to their lead after the break but they remained dominant throughout the contest before James Wilson's tackle on Offrande Zanzala saw the striker convert to rob Ipswich of a clean sheet with four minutes remaining.
There was still time for Will Keane to grab the fourth, though, putting the gloss on an emphatic win.
On the day owner Marcus Evans' matchday programme notes made it clear that he sees Ipswich's future as being a technical football team, the team produced a performance to match as they popped the ball around the field with ease before making incisive passes in behind to cut their visitors open.
Notable was the intention for central defenders Luke Woolfenden and Luke Chambers to push behind their wing backs and get forward, which they did notably to create the second and third goals.
This victory moves the Blues up to third in League One, ahead of Coventry and Oxford ahead of a meeting with the latter on Tuesday night, and to within just three points of new leaders Rotherham with a game in hand.
For the first time this season, manager Paul Lambert named an unchanged side as the Blues welcomed in-form Accrington for the first time.
The Blues had a few early openings, notably a mazy Jackson run which saw him flash across the box before winning a corner and some right-wing probing from Gwion Edwards, and they were soon ahead.
It was a beautiful move which led to the goal which began with a calculated high ball forward from Alan Judge which looked to spring Jackson away. It didn't bounce kindly for the striker but he was able to bring it under control, before the Blues worked the ball over to the left flank through Huws. Garbutt gestured for Woolfenden to overlap and off he went, with the defender getting to the byline and pulling the ball back well for Jackson to finish through traffic.
From there Ipswich continued to play, with the midfield looking confident and stroking the ball wide and the defence barely allowing the visitors a kick in the final third.
The performance was superb but the question of whether Ipswich could find the 'killer second' reared its head. In short, they could and when it came it was a beauty.
Emyr Huws played the ball back-to-front and he cleverly hit the space in behind Norwood and Mark Hughes, with goalkeeper Josef Bursik checking his run out and allowing the striker to lob him and find the back of the net.
The Portman Road crowd were enjoying what they were seeing, although Norwood will feel like he could have had a second as he put Jackson's good cut-back wide of the post, but the third did arrive before the interval.
The source? Captain Luke Chambers. The skipper found himself in the centre circle and swept the ball out to the right flank where Norwood clipped a ball back into the defender's onward run, allowing him to knock it back into the path of Judge to finish.
Ipswich were cheered off at the break, with the job surely done.
The intensity levels dropped slightly at the start of the second period but the Blues were still by far the better side, with Jackson and Norwood continuing to cause trouble and Chambers looking to get up on the flanks whenever possible.
Norwood should perhaps have squared quicker to Jackson when put through on the right, before he was crowded out, and then headed wide as he did well to reach a Luke Garbutt corner at the back post.
With the game won, Cole Skuse and Teddy Bishop were introduced before Wilson chopped down Zanzala, with the striker sending Will Norris the wrong way for a consolation goal.
But the points had already been secured, with the Blues cheered off at the full-time whistle.
Ipswich Town: Norris; Woolfenden, Chambers, Wilson; Edwards, Garbutt, Huws (Skuse 71), Downes, Judge (Bishop, 75); Jackson (Keane, 77), Norwood
Subs: Holy, Donacien, Kenlock, Dozzell
Accrington Stanley: Bursik; Johnson, Sykes, Hughes, Opoku; Conneely, Pritchard, Carvalho (Zanzala 57), Pritchard (Alese, 58); Bishop, Charles
Subs: Savin, Sherif, Barclay, Rodgers, Diallo
Att: 17,536 (155)