MATCH REPORT: Ipswich Town 4 Middlesbrough 0

Tommy Smith celebrates

Tommy Smith celebrates - Credit: Archant

Ipswich v Middlesbrough: Ipswich Town ended their slow start to 2013 in style with a convincing 4-0 thrashing of Middlesbrough at Portman Road, with stay-away boss Mick McCarthy watching the action via a video link in his sick bed.

Centre-back Tommy Smith twice headed home from corner kicks, with impressive strike duo David McGoldrick and Aaron Mclean both getting a goal apiece in between those strikes.

The Blues’ first victory in six lifts them two places in the Championship table – above Bolton and Wolves – with lacklustre Middlesbrough succumbing to their fourth straight loss and seventh defeat in eight away games.

Tony Mowbray’s visitors started brightly, but Town – managed by assistant boss Terry Connor – grew into the match and deservedly broke the deadlock in the 38th minute when Smith took advantage of some slack marking to nod home Aaron Cresswell’s corner at the near post.

Having previously conceded equalisers in the early stages of the second half at Aston Villa and Bristol City, the Blues survived a scare soon after the restart when Lukas Lutkiewicz headed into the side-netting.

Within three minutes, the hosts had doubled their lead as McGoldrick pick-pocketed George Friend, drove forward and unleashed a fantastic angled 25-yard shot across Luke Steele from the right-hand side.

Middlesbrough’s first shot on target didn’t arrive until the 55th minute of the match via a tame Grant Leadbitter strike, while debutant Kieron Dyer continued to be largely anonymous.

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Ipswich added their third in the 56th minute when Aaron Mclean got the goal his work-rate and fantastic hold-up play richly deserved. The Hull loanee – back in the side due to the fact that Lee Martin had sustained a hamstring injury in training – barged Faris Haroun off the ball out on the left, cut inside and unleashed a shot that wrong-footed keeper Jason Steele thanks to a wicked deflection off of Andre Bikey’s back.

The Blues players and crowd began to enjoy themselves, with the fourth goal arriving in the 78th minute. This time it was Carlos Edwards who delivered the corner, with Smith climbing above two defenders to power a header in off the underside of the crossbar.

– Reaction to follow.

Ipswich Town (4-4-2): Loach; Stearman, Chambers, Smith, Cresswell; Edwards (cpt), Hyam (Drury 87), N’Daw, Murphy; McGoldrick (Wordsworth 78), Mclean (Nouble 67).

Unused subs: Henderson, Hewitt, Kisnorbo, Chopra.

Middlesbrough (4-4-2): Steele; Williams (cpt), Woodgate (Hines 66), Bikey, Friend; Ledesma (McEachran 46), Leadbitter, Emnes (Reach 62), Haroun, Dyer; Jutkiewicz, Emnes. Subs: Ripley, Bailey, Carayol, Parnaby.

Attendance: 16,389 (685 away)

Referee: Craig Pawson

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