FULL-TIME: Birmingham City 0 Ipswich Town 1
Birmingham v Ipswich: MICK McCarthy got off to a winning start as Ipswich Town manager, his spirited side producing a disciplined and dogged display to cling onto an early 1-0 lead at Birmingham City.
DJ Campbell broke the deadlock in the eighth minute, his fine angled strike flying high into the net against his former club.
It was a goal which sent a superb away support of around 1,000 delirious, with the home crowd – who have witnessed just two league wins at St Andrew’s this season – becoming increasingly frustrated by their side’s sloppyness on the ball.
Indeed, it was Nathan Redmond’s terrible backwards pass which led to Town’s opener.
Playing a narrow 4-4-2 formation – Daryl Murphy partnering Campbell up front – McCarthy barely left the touchline throughout. Constantly coaching his players, the Blues worked hard, kept two disciplined banks of four and pressed in the right areas to deservedly maintain their lead at the break.
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It was a different story in the second half as Birmingham, lifted by the arrivals of Chris Burke and Nikola Zigic off the bench, began to increasingly dominate against a tiring Town side packed with players short of match fitness.
Zigic put a free header wide from 10 yards and saw a glorious one-on-one chance saved by the legs of keeper Stephen Henderson though, with centre-backs Danny Higginbotham and Luke Chambers producing some brave blocks in the frantic final moments.
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With this Ipswich’s first victory in 13 attempts – and their first win on a Saturday in seven months – McCarthy led his players over to hail the jubilant away support at the end.
And they left hoping they’d just witnessed the dawn of a new era for the club.
– Reaction to follow.