Ipswich Town 1 Derby County 2: Blues end 2017 on a low note as Rams win at Portman Road again
- Credit: Picture: Steve Waller
Two Sam Winnall goals, including one long-range stunner, ensured Derby claimed three points at Portman Road once again as the Rams secured a 2-0 victory.
The striker, preferred to both David Nugent and Chris Martin, headed the visitors into the lead after 13 minutes before doubling the advantage after the break with a spectacular strike from the edge of the box.
The Rams dominted the opening hour and had a number of chances to kill the game off in either half but, when Joe Garner headed home for Town from a corner, it was game on as the Blues chased for an equaliser.
It didn’t come, though, meaning the Rams return to Pride Park with three points for a third straight season.
There was also a worry when defender Adam Webster, who has impressed since returning from an ankle injury, had to be helped off the pitch in the second half after landing awkwardly following a near-post header.
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Town boss Mick McCarthy made four changes from the side which drew 0-0 with QPR on Boxing Day, with Bersant Celina, Jordan Spence, Kevin Bru and Grant Ward all coming into the side to give it a fresh look for the final game of 2017.
The game started in optimistic fashion, as Martyn Waghorn tried his luck from just inside the Derby half and Joe Garner had an effort deflected into the arms of Scott Carson, but the hosts were soon behind.
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Winnall beat Jonas Knudsen to the ball from a Tom Lawrence corner and his well-cushioned header crept into the corner of the Ipswich goal. The opener silenced Portman Road, but the home crowd soon made their feelings known as, just a minute later, Luke Chambers and Webster left the ball for each other which allowed Matej Vydra to take possession and charge through on goal. Fortunately the Czech forward ballooned his effort over the top when one-on-one with Bartosz Bialkowski, as the Town defence’s moment of madness went unpunished.
Chambers redeemed himself as he threw himself in front of a Lawrence shot, before a rare Ipswich chance saw Callum Connolly’s header hacked off the line by Craig Forsyth.
Johnny Russell teased the Ipswich defence before Spence stepped in to clear, with Bialkowski forced to superbly save from Winnall before the half was out.
The second period was not even five minutes old when Winnall’s wonder strike doubled the advantage, as he profited on errors in the Town defence before letting fly from fully 25 yards to beat Bialkowski.
Town did look to push forward in a bit to find a way back into the contest, with Connolly having an effort deflected wide and Knudsen and Celina finding themselves in good positions, while Kevin Bru could only head wide when connecting with a Ward cross.
Garner’s headed goal gave the Blues hope and lifted the Portman Road crowd, as he turned home a Waghorn corner, with the introduction of David McGoldrick also turning the screw on a Derby side who must have thought they were home and dry.
The Blues huffed and puffed but, sadly, they were unable to land another blow as 2017 ended in defeat.
Ipswich Town: Bialkowski; Spence, Chambers, Webster (Iorfa 75), Knudsen; Connolly, Bru (McGoldrick 70); Ward, Celina, Waghorn, Garner.
Subs: Crowe; Smith, Kenlock, McDonnell, Sears
Goal: Garner (66)
Yellow card: Webster
Derby County: Carson; Wisdom, Davies, Keogh, Forsyth; Thorne, Huddlestone, Russell, Lawrence (Weimann 70), Vydra (Olsson 82); Winnall (Baird 89)
Subs: Mitchell, Pearce, Nugent, Martin
Goals: Winnall (13, 49)
Attendance: 17,267 (1,389 Derby fans)