Liberty hell for Town's chances

WHEN Jason Scotland tucked away Swansea's second goal not only was it game over but very probably season over for Ipswich.

Derek Davis

WHEN Jason Scotland tucked away Swansea's second goal not only was it game over but very probably season over for Ipswich.

Scotland had already given the Swans the lead after 139 seconds to give the Blues a mountain to climb at the Liberty Stadium and when Jordi Gomez wrapped things up with a delightful free kick it emphasised not just the gap between these two sides in terms of quality but just how far away Town are from being credible play-off contenders.

Billed a season definer, between two sides separated by two points and two places in the Championship, this contest went a long way in seeing realistically which side was going to be genuine contenders to challenge the top six and who was going to fall by the wayside.

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Only Birmingham City have beaten Swansea at the Liberty Stadium in the league this season and since that defeat in November, The Jacks have not lost.

Ipswich never really looked like ending that run which has now stretched to 15 games undefeated home and away for Swansea.

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With defender Angel Rangel suspended Albert Serran made his debut at right back and the Argentine with an Italian passport made an instant impression.

Garvan had missed with a shot down one end, Swansea countered quickly and Serran skipped away from Owen Garvan before getting the better of Pim Balkestein and crossing.

Trinidad & Tobago international Scotland got ahead of Gareth McAuley and turned his shot inside the near post past Richard Wright.

It was a devastating start for Town who were forced to rethink their approach.

They had opted to go with Garvan playing in the hole behind Kevin Lisbie up front.

Lisbie did stick the ball in the net on 12 minutes but was clearly offside.

The Swans defence managed to catch Town's wayward attackers, mainly David Norris, with their offside trap far too often and when not defending well showed enterprise going forward.

Wales international centre half Ashley Williams wriggled himself into a shooting position but Wright was behind it with ease.

Town then had their best spell as they took advantage of the space and time Swansea allowed them in midfield as the Welsh side looked to play their own particularly entertaining brand of football.

But Ipswich failed to make keeper Mark De Vries work as they were restricted to a couple of long range efforts with Garvan and the ineffective David Norris firing over the bar.

It will be interesting to see who goes in for him on the wide left where he has not impressed.

The early formation was scrapped and Jon Walters went up front with Lisbie but had no joy and was replaced at half time by Pablo Counago but even so the Swansea keeper was not called into real action until after they were two down and that was only when Jon Stead had gone on as a substitute.

Patient Swansea continued to move the ball around sweetly with Nathan Dyer in particular catching the eye with his silky skills that got him out of tight spots, created space for himself so was able to pick out team-mates with accurate passing.

At times though Swansea were almost too intricate around the box and while they created the better chances Wright was rarely forced to make any difficult saves.

All the time there was just one goal in it Town had a chance but that evaporated when Dyer and Scotland combined.

Although he was tightly marked Scotland managed to turn and thread in a low shot past Wright for his 11th goal in 10 games and 16th so far for the season.

That was it.

Not only was it game over but for Ipswich any realistic chance of even making the play offs.

Yes, with 15 games to go they are mathematically in with a shout but it is patently obvious they are not good enough to close the gap, especially given the away games at places like Preston, QPR, Sheffield United, Wolves and Reading to come.

The third and final nail in the coffin, that gives Swansea a five point and five goal cushion between the sides, came four minutes from time when the whole-hearted Quinn conceded a free kick central to goal, 35-yards out.

Up stepped Spaniard Gomez who hit a terrific curling free kick over the wall and it dipped away from the hapless Wright.

Stead tried to spark a reply and pulled a ball back for Lisbie whose effort was smothered.

Town had to wait more than 80 minutes before Quinn forced the first decent save from De Vries and the keeper also blocked a Stead effort with his feet.

ITV's The Championship covered this as their main game, sadly for Magilton there were no advert problems and all three Swansea goals were shown.

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