Town’s first-half double proves enough for Millwall win

TAMAS Priskin and Gareth McAuley were on target as Ipswich beat Millwall 2-1 in the Carling Cup third round, breaking their first-half goals duck in the process.

IPSWICH Town’s first-half goal famine is over, thanks to deadly finishes from Tamas Priskin and

Gareth McAuley before half-time at Millwall last night.

This brace proved sufficient to propel Town into the fourth round of the Carling Cup, for the first time in eight years.

The Lions rallied in the second period, with Steve Morison pulling a goal back just after the hour mark, but the visitors stood firm to deservedly win this third round tie on a balmy south

London night.

Priskin broke the deadlock, with Town’s long-awaited first goal in the first half all season, thanks to a deft header in the 23rd minute.

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The impressive Andros Townsend was released by McAuley’s through ball, and

the Tottenham loanee ghosted around the back of the Lions defence before floating over a delicate cross for Priskin to head gloriously into the roof of the net, beyond the reach of David Forde.

So at the 10th time of asking, Roy Keane’s men could finally celebrate a goal inside the first 45 minutes.

It looked to be plain sailing for the visitors, when McAuley doubled the lead in first-half stoppage

time.

Instead of pumping his freekick high into the box, Townsend obliged with a lower delivery for

McAuley, standing in a central position, to prod home from 12 yards out, the ball squirming into

the net despite the best efforts of Forde.

Any hopes of a comfortable ride for the rest of the game were dashed by striker Morison halving the deficit in the 63rd minute.

It was a cracking solo goal with Morison showing neat control and a clinical finish.

But Town soaked up the pressure during the final quarter of the game to maintain their fine start to the season, in both league and cup.

Keane named just three survivors from Saturday’s home win over Cardiff in his starting line-up, in the shape of defenders Tom Eastman and McAuley, and winger Townsend.

Otherwise, it was all change, from the back to the front, including the return of centre-half

Damien Delaney for his first appearance of the season following emergency surgery on his leg over the summer.

Kevin Lisbie, on loan from Ipswich to Millwall for the season, was not permitted to play

against his parent club, but ex- Town players Liam Trotter and Scott Barron were both in Kenny

Jackett’s team.

And it was the Lions who settled the quicker, despite their 6-1 hammering at home to visiting Watford over the weekend.

Keeper Brian Murphy, making his third senior appearance of the season, all of them in the Carling Cup, was relieved to see Morison’s header flash wide on four minutes, although he was less perturbed by Chris Hackett’s long range shot that was a couple of yards off target.

Town threatened first in the 12th mminute, courtesy of a marvellous long ball forward from Eastman

which dropped invitingly over the Lions defence for Priskin to chase.

The Hungarian tried his luck with a long-range lob that keeper Forde caught under his bar.

At the other end, ex-Town trainee Barron burst into the opposing penalty area on a strong run. He

beat McAuley to the ball and fired in an instinctive low shot that Murphy did well to smother while

diving at full stretch to his left.

Priskin headed wide from Colin Healy’s free-kick in the 19th minute, but Town’s striker was celebrating his third goal of the season just four minutes later.

It was a slick headed finish from Townsend’s excellent delivery.

The goal prompted a spell of Town pressure, with Millwall struggling to get the ball.

ReggieLambe had a shot blocked on the edge of the box, following a move of many passes, and just after the half-hour mark both Healy and Lambe blasted shots over the bar.

Trotter had scored in each of the Lions last three games, and he at least forced Murphy into action on

38 minutes with a looping header that the Irishman comfortably held onto.

But otherwise the Londoners had gone completely off the boil.

Townsend crashed an angled shot only a foot wide of the far upright, and Priskin also went close with a fierce drive from Lambe’s lay-off.

So it was no real surprise when McAuley doubled Town’s lead in first-half stoppage time by prodding home Townsend’s free-kick.

Two minutes into the second-half and Forde dropped a corner by Townsend, which did nothing to

calm the mood of the restless home fans.

At least the Lions keeper was able to drop on the loose ball.

Keane lost no time in making some substitutions. Sensing a rearguard action, the Irishman

introduced the experienced Grant Leadbitter and Jason Scotland, for Townsend and Healy in the 53rd

minute.

But Millwall had their tails up and Morison halved the deficit with a quality finish just 10 minutes

later.

An unmarked Morison superbly controlled inside the box and was able to reach the ball before Murphy to smash a 10-yard shot into the roof of the net. It was his sixth goal of the season.

Trotter’s wild challenge on Luke Hyam, which resulted in a booking for the ex-Town midfielder on

70 minutes and a free-kick, at least relieved the pressure for a while.

Leadbitter’s 30-yarder did not trouble Forde.

With 12 minutes remaining, Trotter had a half-chance to be crowned the home hero. But the 22-year-old scooped his shot over the bar from just outside the box.

Millwall huffed-and-puffed late on, but they never really looked like denying Town their passage through to round four.

The last time they made the fourth round was in 2002, when their run was ended by Liverpool

following a penalty shoot-out at Anfield.

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