Routine home win for top-10 Town

GOALS from Pablo Counago, Alan Lee and Jon Walters pushed Ipswich back into the top 10 of the Championship table with a routine win over 10-man Leicester City at Portman Road last night.

By Derek Davis

GOALS from Pablo Counago, Alan Lee and Jon Walters pushed Ipswich back into the top 10 of the Championship table with a routine win over 10-man Leicester City at Portman Road last night.

Although it was a convincing enough scoreline it was not the most attractive of displays in front of their lowest home crowd for nearly seven years.

It was only Leicester's second defeat on the road this season but they will point to a harsh sending-off, when Patrick Kisnorbo saw red, as the turning point.

After losing their last two away matches the Blues needed to get back on track.

Jim Magilton wielded the axe, making three changes from the team that started in the 3-1 defeat at Charlton on Saturday.

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Sito Castro, Danny Haynes and Pablo Counago, who were all subs at The Valley and they all kept their places

Sito played at left-back, with Jon Walters in front of him who offered the sort of protection the dropped Dan Harding would have appreciated in recent matches.

Town went without a goalkeeping substitute as Shane Supple went down with a stomach bug, while youth team keeper Andy Plummer is injured.

That allowed prolific Under-18s striker Jordan Rhodes to make the 16 for the first time.

Ipswich lined up with the tried and trusted two up front and the popular Pablo Counago starting.

It also meant a first start of the season for supersub Haynes and the duo combined for Town's opener after an otherwise drab opening 20 minutes.

Haynes got behind Joe Mattock to pull the ball back and the Spaniard controlled with one touch before poking in from six yards.

City's equaliser eight minutes later was as much down to sharp finishing as it was poor defending.

An unmarked Stephen Clemence was able to guide a header from the halfway line between the two centre-halves for Iain Hume, who nipped between them before lobbing over a stranded Neil Alexander from the edge of the area.

For a while the Foxes had their tails, or should that be brushes, up but they couldn't keep it going.

Haynes continued his lively display, showing he can be a menace from the start and played a part in Town's second goal.

He played a slide-rule pass in for Counago, who was tackled by Kisnorbo who appeared to have won the ball but after initially signalling for a free kick outside the area the referee awarded a penalty on advice from his assistant.

Phil Joslin also dismissed the Australian defender, which looked a particularly harsh decision and City were forced to played 50 minutes with just 10 men.

If that was a controversial decision it made up for an earlier error from the officials when Walters should have had a penalty when he was clearly pulled back while attempting to get on to a loose ball but the referee was unsighted and his assistant uninterested.

Town had a couple of other half-chances in the first half with Haynes putting into Lee's path but his low cross was poor and too far behind Counago.

On-loan Sunderland keeper Marton Fulop was down at Haynes's feet to grab as he tried to run round him and Bruno N'Gotty put in a good tackle to take the ball off the teenager's feet

Although Ipswich had the extra numbers in the second half and dominated possession they found it hard to crack a resilient City.

Walters got the Blues' third goal after a Wright cross was met by Counago but his header was blocked. It fell for Walters who drilled it in from an angle.

Counago might have added to his tally but was denied by some strong defending and a well-placed keeper. His best chance came when Liam Trotter slid the ball across to him but his shot was too straight.

Owen Garvan lobbed a clearance back towards goal but Gareth McAuley cleared off the line.

In the end it was job done and three points won but not a particularly impressive display.

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