Ipswich Town 4-1 Burton Albion: Blues show character to come from behind as Jackson and Judge spark win
- Credit: Picture: Steve Waller
Ipswich Town showed great character as they battled from behind to comprehensively beat Burton Albion this afternoon.
Given their recent run of bad form and well-documented struggles on home turf, things could easily have unravelled after Jamie Murphy had put the visitors ahead after just six minutes, silencing Portman Road and ramping up the nervous energy which was in the air prior to kick-off.
They took their time to work the way into the game following their early set-back but the good passages of play began to come as they got the ball down and worked it around the field, eventually leading to an equaliser from Alan Judge.
Kayden Jackson's two goals put the hosts in full control before Judge completed the scoring with his second as Ipswich dominated their opponents and showed a clinical edge which has been missing in recent weeks.
Home form is going to be vital as Paul Lambert's men bid for promotion and, in what was a first of nine games in Suffolk of the final 13, this was an excellent start. Albeit against poor Burton side.
The win sees Ipswich remain in seventh place on a day when Peterborough and Rotherham were the only members of the top six who failed to win.
Up next is Saturday's visit of Oxford.
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Lambert made five changes from the side which drew with AFC Wimbledon on Tuesday night, with Cole Skuse and Emyr Huws replaced by Alan Judge and Jon Nolan in midfield, Will Keane replacing James Norwood in attack and Luke Garbutt and Gwion Edwards returning at full-back.
And they were so nearly ahead inside five minutes. Judge made the opening as he played the ball superbly round the corner for Kayden Jackson who slipped in Keane superbly, only for the striker to take too long to apply the finish and find himself crowded out by Reece Hutchinson who was able to block the ball away.
Portman Road groaned and Lambert's head was in his hands as an excellent chance went begging, but the famous old ground was hushed just a minute later as Burton took the lead.
An attack down the Burton right drew the attention of the Ipswich defence, so much so that Murphy was left in acres of space on the left, with the simplest of passes slipping him in to evade Gwion Edwards and finish low into the back of the net.
As the wind and rain increased so did the nervous energy inside the stadium, with Burton having the better of the play, spreading possession to their left to attack Edwards and forcing Tomas Holy into a good save as he pushed Joe Powell's effort over the top of the bar.
Ipswich were the next to threaten though and were so nearly level as Downes excellently stabbed the ball through to Judge, who took aim, put his foot through the ball and struck a vicious shot from just inside the box which thumped the underside of the bar and rocketed away to safety.
Judge then headed Josh Earl's cross from deep wide at the near post, as Ipswich began to work their way into the game, before Jackson missed the next chance as Keane played him in, with the striker touching the ball past Kieran O'Hara in the Burton goal.
They did soon find their leveller though and, having missed twice previously, it was Judge who found it. Keane's good work opened things up as he played the ball down the line for Jackson, who pulled the ball back for the Irishman to find a close-range finish past the goalkeeper before bizarrely removing his boot and throwing it towards the touchline in celebration.
The hosts had to weather a period of Burton pressure before the interval and, as the clock reached 45, they took the lead when Holy's long bomb downfield bounced over Keane, then over the Burton defence for Jackson to latch onto, take a touch and turn into the back of the net.
Ipswich were cheered off at the break, seconds after Keane's effort was blocked away by substitute goalkeeper Ben Garratt, who replaced O'Shea after he suffered an injury when tangling with Jackson for the striker's goal.
The hosts kept their intensity high at the start of the second period, while switching to a 4-4-2 formation from their original wing-back system, and they were rewarded when Judge superbly won possession back, beat a man and then delivered a sumptuous cross which Jackson did well to turn into the net.
The pair combined again for number four, with Keane also involved as the striker played a good through-ball for Jackson, who couldn't quite get a shot away as the ball held up for him. Judge was there to profit, though, as the striker just about squeezed a shot under goalkeeper Garratt which crept over the line in slow motion.
Burton were beaten with the Blues well in control following their early scare, with Jackson missing the chance to complete his hat-trick when played in superbly by Judge, only for his shot to be saved by Garratt.
Another chance went awry as substitute Freddie Sears went alone, rather than squaring for Jackson for a simple tap in, denying him is treble, but the striker left the pitch at the final whistle knowing this was a job well done.
Burton Albion: O'Hara (Garratt, 45); Brayford, Shaugnessy, Nartey (Wallace, 62), Hutchinson; Edwards, Sarkic, Powell; Quinn, Akins, Murphy (Broadhead, 77)
Subs: Wallace, Fraser, Sbarra, O'Toole, Thomas
Ipswich Town: Holy; Woolfenden, Chambers, Earl; Edwards, Garbutt; Downes, Nolan (Bishop, 71); Judge (Sears, 81); Keane (Skuse, 71), Jackson
Subs: Norris, Wilson, Huws, Norwood
Attendance: 19,922 (177 away fans)