Match report: Ipswich Town 1 Preston North End 0

Grant Ward celebrates after putting the home side 1-0 ahead in the Ipswich Town v Preston North End

Grant Ward celebrates after putting the home side 1-0 ahead in the Ipswich Town v Preston North End (Championship) match at Portman Road, Ipswich, on 27 August 2016. Picture: Steve Waller - Credit: Picture: Steve Waller

Ipswich Town began life seemingly without Daryl Murphy with a scrappy 1-0 home win over Preston North End, this afternoon, moving up to 11th in the Championship table.

Grant Ward scored the only goal of the game after 15 minutes to secure Town’s second victory of the season, ahead of the international break.

A win was welcome for Mick McCarthy’s men but there was a far more significant sub-plot to the game with the news that talisman Murphy looks set to seal a move to Championship rivals, Newcastle United, for a fee of around £3m.

That development saw Brett Pitman replace the Irish striker as Town’s lone frontman, while Adam Webster was dropped at the back, making way for Tommy Smith.

Ipswich took the lead after 15 minutes when Ward scored his fourth goal of the season. The former Tottenham man took a touch before launching a half volley past Anders Lindegaard from 18 yards, after Kevin Bru’s free-kick into the area was only half cleared by Bailey Wright.

Freddie Sears had a chance to double the Blues’ lead six minutes later but Lindegaard tipped his rising effort over the bar from a tight angle, after the striker, without a goal in 31 games, had been fed by Pitman’s superb reverse ball.

Preston offered little in the opening exchanges but came into the game as the half progressed, striker Callum Robinson twice being denied by Bartosz Bialkowski.

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First the Polish stopper made a tremendous reflex save, tipping over the youngster’s shot from the edge of the box after the former Aston Villa man had cut inside Luke Chambers.

Then, just before the break, Bialkowski made a much easier stop, getting down low to collect Robinson’s volley after Jordan Hugill had knocked the ball down into the forward’s path.

After a lively tussle, at times, in the first half, the second period was a far more dour affair with the respective teams’ defences dominating.

The closest Town came to scoring was 10 minutes before the end when Ward blasted an effort over the bar from 18 yards after a strong run into the box by Jonas Knudsen.

Preston rarely threatened, although Christophe Berra had to be on his toes to stop one Chris Humphrey surge into the box, the winger’s ricocheted shot going out for a goal kick, before Eoin Doyle made a hash of converting a long throw, six yards out, mis-kicking the ball and allowing Smith to clear.

TOWN: Bialkowski, Chambers, Knudsen, Berra, Smith, Skuse, Bru (Bishop, 76), Douglas, Ward (Webster, 90), Sears, Pitman (Varney, 83). Unused subs: Gerken, Digby, Dozzell, Kenlock

PRESTON: Lindegaard, Cunningham, Clarke, Wright, Humphrey, Spurr (Doyle, 55), Johnson (Grimshaw, 76), Gallagher, Welsh, Robinson, Beckford (Hugill, 14). Unused subs: Maxwell, Browne, Makienok, Huntington

Att: 15,296 (297 away fans)

Referee: Tim Robinson

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