Gallery: Spectacular goals help Ipswich recover home form PLUS full match facts
SPECTACULAR goals from Carlos Edwards and Jimmy Bullard saw Ipswich Town gain their first home Championship win in five games at Portman Road on Saturday.
Ipswich Town 2-0 Scunthorpe United
It moved the Blues to one point away from the recognised safety figure of 50 points and although far from a classic there were some good Town displays against a ragged Scunthorpe side that looks destined for relegation.
Town now have a two-week international break to prepare for their final eight games and move up the table and convince fans that 2011/12 seasons tickets will be worth purchasing with their sale believed to be imminent.
Edwards scored his fourth goal of the season to put Town ahead in the 26th minute. It was a magnificent strike from distance that gave Josh Lillis no chance in the visiting goal.
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Bullard also notched his fourth goal for Town in the 53rd minute when he concerted a 22 yard free-kick.
Town made three changes with Josh Carson coming in for his first team debut having been an unused substitute in the corresponding fixture at Glanford Park and in the Carling Cup game at Exeter City in August. The 17-year-old from Ballymena had been 19th man for the last two away games at Cardiff City and Leeds United.
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Skipper Norris came back in after suspension while Lee-Barrett started his first game for over a year in place of Fulop between the sticks.
Lee-Barrett was close to getting a recall at Cardiff two weeks ago, but has been brought in after Town have conceded eight goals in their last three home matches.
Dyer is understood to have broken down in training on Friday and was not available for selection with Wickham taking over the lone striker’s role and Carson playing wide. If Priskin came on it would be his 50th Ipswich league appearance with five goals to his name.
Civelli was not on the bench while Healy was fit one of the substitutes. There was no Smith on the Town bench with the young defender having gone on loan to Colchester United for the rest of the season.
Scunthorpe had lost on all six previous visits to Portman Road and had Tony Daws in caretaker charge and involved in his first game since taking over from Ian Baraclough on Wednesday.
In bright sunshine Ipswich should have been ahead inside four minutes. First, Wickham chased a lost cause and centred from the left by-line, but there was no one in the centre. When Martin picked up the loose ball he toe-poked beyond Lillis, but Carson was unable to get close to the ball in front of an open goal.
Then Wickham put Norris through alone with Martin waiting to his right. Norris opted to shoot, but it was an easy save for an exposed Lillis to make.
A foul by Bullard in the 17th minute led to a 25 yard free-kick taken by O’Connor that went around the home defensive wall and caused Lee-Barrett to dive and push the ball away.
Wickham’s aerial shortcomings were evident two minutes later when he was unable to get the necessary touch from Martin’s accurate cross that would surely have brought an opening goal.
This arrived in the 26th minute courtesy of an Edwards special. The right back anticipated Mirfin’s pass to gain possession and drive forward from the half-way line to bury a swerving 25 yard screamer high into the net to the right of a diving Lillis.
Scunthorpe showed no teeth in attack up the interval with Edwards’ wonder goal having given Town the edge although the visiting players were giving Bullard a hard time and putting in some hard tackles.
In the 49th minute Martin went on a strong run that saw him go crashing the ground when amid a posse of defenders inside the box. The referee booked Martin for a dive that means he now misses two games after collecting 10 yellow cards for the season.
Martin was furious certain that his ankles had been clipped. O’Connor joined Martin in the book soon afterwards for a foul on Norris and the free-kick – from 22 yards - led to Town’s second goal.
Bullard took the 53rd minute kick and bent his shot superbly around the wall and into the corner to the keeper’s right hand post.
Carson was given warm applause after a promising debut when he departed the scene after 70 minutes as Ipswich continued to have control against a poor Scunthorpe outfit with neither keeper in serious action.
When O’Connor brought down substitute Drury from behind a second yellow card looked inevitable for the number eight, but he escaped with a lecture from a referee who brought visiting skipper Nelson in on the conversation.
In the 85th minute some poor Town defending saw Scunthorpe make in-roads deep in the penalty area and McAuley had to be alert to block O’Connor’s 10 yard shot.
Ipswich Town: Lee-Barrett; Edwards, McAuley, Delaney, Kennedy; Martin, Bullard, Norris, Leadbitter (Healy 86), Carson (Drury 70); Wickham. Substitutes: Fulop, Peters, O’Dea, Scotland, Priskin.
Scunthorpe United: Lillis; Miller (Dagnall 82), Nelson, Mirfin, Nolan; Duffy (Collins 62), O’Connor, Wright, Gordon (Grant 55); Garner; Hughes. Substitutes: Slocombe, Togwell, Raynes, Reid.
Referee: Mr D Webb (County Durham)
Attendance: 17,787 (165 Scunthorpe)
FULL MATCH FACTS IPSWICH TOWN v SCUNTHORPE UNITED
Ipswich Town: Lee-Barrett 6; Edwards 8, McAuley 8, Delaney 7, Kennedy 6; Martin 7, Bullard 8, Norris 8, Leadbitter 6, Carson 6; Wickham 7.
Scunthorpe United: Lillis 6; Miller 6, Nelson 6, Mirfin 6, Nolan 6; Duffy 5, O’Connor 6, Wright 6, Gordon 5; Garner 6; Hughes 5.
Ipswich Town 2
Goals: Edwards 26, Bullard 53,
Bookings: Leadbitter 11, Martin 49, McAuley 71.
Sent off: -
Shots on target: 4
Shots off target: 7
Free-kicks conceded (including off sides): 12
Scunthorpe United 0
Bookings: O’Connor 51
Sent off: -
Shots on target: 2
Shots off target: 3
Free-kicks conceded (including off sides): 15