MATCH REPORT: Ipswich Town 3 Millwall 0
Ipswich v Millwall: Ipswich Town’s revival under Mick McCarthy continued in spectacular fashion with an impressive win over a previously in-form Millwall side.
QPR loanee DJ Campbell took his goal tally to eight in 12 games, either side of a Daryl Murphy goal, as the visiting side’s 13-game unbeaten run was brought to an abrupt halt by a Town side who now won three in a row.
Bristol City’s win at Sheffield Wednesday means the Blues haven’t moved any further away from the relegation zone (five points), but a return of 16 points from a possible 24 – including three wins and a draw at Portman Road – has brought a feel-good factor back to the Suffolk club.
With confidence high in both camps before kick-off, a highly-entertaining first-half ensued.
The lively hosts created a series of half-chances, but it was the south London visitors who came closest to breaking the deadlock in a frenetic opening half an hour.
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Chris Wood had the ball in the net in the fourth minute, but the linesman had his flag up for a tight offside decision.
The Blues were then indebted to keeper Stephen Henderson for some crucial saves. The West Ham loanee produced a smart low stop from a close-range Andy Keogh header after 15 minutes, then a brilliant double stop just after the half-hour – pushing away Liam Trotter’s fierce drive, then getting to his feet to claw James Henry’s side-footed effort around the post.
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Ipswich broke the deadlock in the 37th minute to end a run of four successive clean sheets for Millwall. It was a simple but brilliantly executed goal, with Lee Martin putting Cresswell away down the left and his low, first-time cross tapped home from close-range by the on-running Campbell.
Millwall centre-back Danny Shittu had looked sluggish throughout the opening period and it was him who was at fault for Town’s second just five minutes after the restart.
The visiting skipper could only flick Bradley Orr’s long ball into the path of Campbell, who provided a low cross from Murphy to slam home from close-range. Again, simple but effective.
Ipswich then began to play with a real swagger, mixing up direct balls with some crisp passing and movement to devastating effect.
A third goal arrived in the 64th minute courtesy of a penalty – the fourth game in succession Town have been awarded one.
Murphy left full-back Shane Lowry on his backside with a neat turn in the box, with the Australian handling on the deck. Up stepped Campbell to net – going with his trusty shot to the right of the keeper – to effectively make the result safe.
Ipswich then pushed for more goals in the closing stages, Shittu clearing off the line in the last minute after Lee Martin had lobbed the on-rushing keeper.
Manager Mick McCarthy also took the chance to give young right-back Elliott Hewiit his debut in the 88th minute.
– Reaction to follow.
IPSWICH TOWN (4-4-2): Henderson; Orr (Hewiit 88), Chambers, Smith, Cresswell; Edwards (cpt), Drury, N’Daw, Martin; Campbell (Chopra 84), Murphy (Barnett 84).
Subs: Loach, Higginbotham, Carson, Emmanuel-Thomas.
Booked: Martin (66)
MILLWALL (4-1-3-1): Forde; Smith, Shittu (cpt), Beevers, Lowry; Abdou (N’Guessan 56); Henry, Trotter, Taylor (Wright 56); Wood, Keogh.
Subs: Taylor, Feeney, Smith, Osborne, Malone.
Booked: Wood (34), Beevers (81)
Referee: David Coote