Lee Martin leads Ipswich to fantastic win over Cardiff
DEVASTATING Ipswich Town made it four wins in a row for the first time in seven-and-a-half years thanks to a fantastic 3-0 win over Carling Cup finalists Cardiff City.
The red-hot Blues were deadly in the attacking third and won comfortably in the end thanks to a brace from man-of-the-match Lee Martin and Michael Chopra’s fifth goal in four games.
Cardiff will point to a pivotal moment in the match, when Arran Lee-Barrett clattered into Joe Mason in the ninth minute but only received a yellow card.
But Town were eventually great value for their fourth straight win and City boss Malky Mackay’s first defeat against Ipswich in 14 matches as manager and player.
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The Bluebirds took the game to their hosts for the first part of this afternoon’s match and will point to a contentious moment in the ninth minute.
Town keeper Arran Lee-Barrett came rushing out as Joe Mason broke clear but only wiped out the City striker after he took the ball past him.
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But referee Simon Hooper only brandished a yellow card to the relieved keeper, deeming that Damien Delaney had raced behind Lee-Barrett to cover the goal.
It was a massive moment and perhaps the correct call, though many inside the ground wouldn’t have been surprised had the keeper not been given an early bath.
Cardiff continued on the ascendancy for the first 20 minutes, but it was Ipswich who took their lead with their first real chance in the game.
Daryl Murphy showed great power and pace to burst down the left and his low cross was only pushed out by David Marshall.
The visitors made something of a hash of clearing the ball and after Chopra failed to control, Murphy had the coolness of mind to pull his cross back for Martin to stroke the ball home.
A minute later, it was almost two when City centre-back Ben Turner slipped, allowing Martin to burst down the right.
Buoyed by his goal, Martin tricked his way past Turner to cut inside but he fired his 10-yard shot over the bar.
Lee-Barrett was clearly affected by his controversial moment and he survived a big scare in the 33rd minute when Peter Whittingham’s deflected cross should have been comfortably gathered.
It wasn’t but Lee-Barrett got back in time to claw the ball away as it rolled towards the line.
To Town’s credit, they improved as the half wore on and showed impressive hunger and bite following Martin’s opener.
The next goal was always going to be crucial and it was Town who got it two minutes after the restart.
Cardiff were caught on the counter as Jay Emmanuel-Thomas released Carlos Edwards down the right. As City looked to get back, Edwards put in a delicious cross and there was Chopra to side foot the ball into the roof of the net for his 12th of the season.
Town were in control and a fantastic passing move almost ended with Andy Drury laying the ball off to Chopra but the Bluebirds cleared the danger.
From the resulting corner, Tommy Smith headed just wide as the Blues threatened to run rampant.
Cardiff struggled to break down a resolute Town defence and when Haris Vuckic got a sight of goal, Damien Delaney was on hand to block his goalbound drive.
Another quick-fire break at the other end saw Martin test Marshall from 20 yards with Emmanuel-Thomas firing the rebound out for a throw-in.
But the third goal always looked likely and it duly came when Murphy played the ball back towards Martin and when Kevin McNaughton couldn’t clear, the former Manchester United man poked the ball through the legs of Marshall.
Chances continued to come with Chopra just missing Aaron Cresswell’s cross and Martin curled a shot over before both men received standing ovations after making way for Jason Scotland and Jimmy Bullard.
It was a perfect way to cap a great afternoon for Ipswich Town Football Club.
Paul Jewell opted for the same 16-man squad following his side’s three consecutive wins.
The Town boss opted for no surprises for the visit of fourth-placed Cardiff City at Portman Road this afternoon.
For the Bluebirds, Rudy Gestede was an absentee from the matchday squad while Haris Vuckic is on the bench.
Filip Kiss and Joe Mason come in from the side that beat Peterborough 3-1 on Tuesday.
Ipswich Town: Lee-Barrett, Edwards, Smith, Delaney, Cresswell, Drury, Hyam, Emmanuel-Thomas, Martin, Murphy, Chopra. Subs: McCarthy, Leadbitter, Scotland, Bullard, Ainsley
Cardiff City: Marshall, McNaughton, Gerrard, Turner, Taylor, Whittingham, Kiss, Gunnarsson, Cowie, Miller, Mason. Subs: Parish, Earnshaw, Conway, Vuckic, Blake