Report: Derby County 0 Ipswich Town 1
Ipswich Town finished their Championship season with a 1-0 victory at Derby County, who can now look forward to a two-legged play-off semi final with Hull City.
Town took the lead in the 34th minute thanks to David McGodrick’s penalty and were good value for their victory, attacking with purpose at times in the first period, then defending stoutly in the second half.
Derby were unchanged, while Town manager Mick McCarthy made three changes, Bartosz Bialkowski, Luke Chambers and league debutant Adam McDonnell replacing Dean Gerken, Josh Emmanuel and Kevin Bru respectively.
The Blues’ winner came when Teddy Bishop charged down a clearance on the edge of the 18-yard box and after marauding into the penalty area, was unceremoniously upended by Richard Keogh.
Referee Tim Robinson hesitated for a few seconds before pointing to the spot but after making the right decision, McGoldrick coolly sent Scott Carson the wrong way from 12 yards.
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Town were good value for their lead, Freddie Sears having already forced Carson into a decent save by his near post after finding space down the left flank.
McGoldrick then went close with a snap-shot volley that went a couple of yards wide of Carson’s post, Town responding back well after early pressure from the hosts.
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Bishop also had an opportunity prior to the goal, his stab towards goal blocked by a last-ditch Keogh challenge, Carson having only been able to parry Liam Feeney’s right-wing cross back into the danger-zone.
The Rams, already in the play-offs, could have taken the lead as early as 55 seconds in, but Bialkowski got down well at his near post to deny Craig Bryson, after the midfielder had been fed by Cyrus Christie. Tom Ince then flashed a shot over the bar.
Derby tried to get back in the game after Town went ahead, but Bialkowski denied a free-kick from Ince with a double-fisted save.
Chris Martin and Will Hughes also sent long-range efforts over the bar as Town held out to half-time.
Town chose to sit back a little more in the second half, staying solid with two banks of four and chances were at a premium for Mick McCarthy’s men.
Opportunities did not exactly flood in at the other end either though, Derby’s best spell in the second period coming in the space of a minute when Bialkowski first tipped a Bryson shot wide, before watching as Martin’s close-range header curled away from his goal and out to safety.
Russell also blasted an effort from a tight angle over the bar, but Derby were struggling in the main to break down Town, Myles Kenlock impressing again at left-back and likes of Feeney and McGoldrick breaking with purpose when an opening came their way. Irish youngster McDonnell had also impressed in the first half, breaking up attacks, before being replaced by Jonathan Douglas just before the hour.
McGoldrick almost doubled Town’s lead on 72 minutes, cutting inside and forcing a smart save from Carson, 18 yards out. That move was fashioned by the impressive Kenlock, who won two crunching tackles before settinig the former Nottingham Forest man free.
Late on, McDonnell’s replacement Douglas showed his defensive capabilities with two superb blocks in his own penalty area, which denied a certain equaliser. Unfortunately for Derby’s George Thorne, he was caught up in the follow through and required around eight minutes of treatment before eventually being stretchered off.
That left the hosts to play the remaining eight minutes of stoppage time with 10 men and they were unable to break down Town, who had defended well all afternoon.
Derby County: Carson, Christie, Keogh (Buxton, 45), Shackell, Olsson, Bryson, Thorne, Hughes (Blackman, 77), Ince, Martin (Bent, 68), Russell. Subs not used: Mitchell (gk), Buxton, Hendrick, Butterfield, Weimann, Blackman, Bent.
Ipswich Town: Bialkowski, Chambers, Smith, Berra, Kenlock, Skuse (Hyam, 45), McDonnell (Douglas, 55), Bishop, Sears, McGoldrick, Feeney. Subs not used: Gerken, Digby, Hyam, Foley, Douglas, Varney, Pitman (Bishop, 69).
Referee: Tim Robinson