MATCH REPORT: Ipswich Town 3 Millwall 0
Ipswich v Millwall: Ipswich Town put their first points of the new Championship season on the board with a hard-fought 3-0 home win over Millwall.
After dominating a goalless first half, the Blues had to see off a spell of Millwall pressure at the start of the second period.
Once Shane Lowry turned in Aaron Cresswell’s low cross soon after the half hour though, it was all one-way traffic and the Blues fully deserved their win.
Tommy Smith headed home Paul Anderson’s free-kick in the 70th minute, with Mark Beevers scoring Millwall’s second own goal of the match – poking home Elliott Hewitt’s cross – to make sure of the result with eight minutes left.
Ipswich were rarely threatened in an opening half generally short on quality, creating the better chances.
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Stephen Bywater saved at the feet of David McGoldrick after he beat the offside trap early on, with the striker putting a looping header just past the far post in the 17th minute.
Luke Chambers headed a superb Carlos Edwards corner just over on the half hour mark, while McGoldrick forced a super one-handed save out of Bywater following an excellent run inside from the right corner flag.
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One of Town’s major weaknesses last season was being caught cold at the start of second halves and that almost proved to be the case again.
First, Richard Chaplow’s cross flew across the face of goal soon after the restart, with the winger also putting a near-post header just wide in the 57th minute as Millwall vastly improved on their toothless first half display.
The first goal was always going to prove crucial and it arrived for the hosts in the 61st minute. Aaron Cresswell – hailed as the best left-back in the Championship by manager Mick McCarthy last week – dispossessed Jack Smith by the corner flag, cut inside and drilled in a low cross. Lowry could do little but slide the ball past his own keeper.
The killer second came nine minutes later, with Cresswell again involved. This time his low cross was completely missed by Danny Shittu and Daryl Murphy was barged over by Lowry in the opposite corner after winning the foot race.
After that it was a simple case of an excellent free-kick delivery from Paul Anderson and a bullet header from Smith.
Town then began to play with freedom and sub Ryan Tunnicliffe – who looked a bundle of energy on his debut – forced Shittu into turning the ball into his own side-netting.
Goal number three simply put the icing on the cake in the 82nd minute, Anderson failing to connect cleanly with Hewitt’s cross and the ball finding the back of the net off Beevers’ heel.
Millwall’s miserable afternoon was summed up when Scott McDonald fired wildly over the bar after Christophe Berra had produced a marvellous block on Jermaine Easter.
And there was still time for Tunnicliffe to burst clear, only for the ball to get stuck under his feet at the vital moment, allowing Bywater to smother the ball.
IPSWICH TOWN (4-4-2): Loach; Hewitt, Chambers, Smith, Cresswell (Berra 85); Edwards (cpt) (Anderson 63), Skuse, Hyam, Tabb (Tunnicliffe 63); McGoldrick, Murphy.
Subs: Gerken, Veseli, Nouble, Taylor.
Booked: Hewitt (88)
MILLWALL (4-4-2): Bywater; Smith, Shittu (cpt), Beevers, Lowry; Henry, Derry, Bailey, Chaplow (Feeney 66); Morison (McDonald 72), Keogh (Easter 53).
Subs: Marshall, Dunne, Robinson, Abdou.
Booked: Derry (40), Morison (45).
Attendance: 17,183 (935)
Referee: Graham Salisbury