Win keeps play-off hopes alive

A SMALL step maybe, but hopefully a significant one for Ipswich as they kept their faint play-off hopes alive with this win against struggling Nottingham Forest.

Derek Davis

Ipswich Town 2 Nottingham Forest 1

A SMALL step maybe, but hopefully a significant one for Ipswich as they kept their faint play-off hopes alive with this win against struggling Nottingham Forest.

The victory takes Town within four points of the top sixth but they climb just one place to tenth above QPR who have two games in hand over them.

It doesn't matter how the goals come, or how the points are won at the moment for Jim Magilton, it is just important to win.

It took an own goal to put Town in front and Forest controversially had an equaliser ruled out for a foul on Richard Wright after he dropped the ball in the first half.

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David Wright thought he had settled things with a quality finish for his first goal of the season and Town's first win at home in two months.

But Nathan Tyson set up an edgy final 13 minutes with a close range finish.

In truth Town probably didn't play that much better than they had in getting draws against Blackpool and Plymouth but they won and that puts a different complexion on things.

It will lift spirits and give renewed hope going to places like Loftus Road.

Given the discontent among Town fans, with 77 per cent polled wanting Magilton to go, the atmosphere at the start was a marked improvement on the past couple of home games.

Alan Quinn was back in the starting line up after missing the 1-1 draw with Blackpool and tucked into midfield with Tommy Miller who was the main driving force.

Forest started the night in 20th place and had not won in their previous three league games but worked hard and palyed some enterprising football without the cutting edge.

Although Forest set up with three centre halves they didn't play defensively even before going a goal down.

Their main threat early on came from Lewis McGugan who hit diagonal free kick Morgan at far post headed down but Wright gathered.

McGugan forced a decent save from Wright with a blistering right footed shot from nearly 30-yards, with McAuley down after blocking a drive with a delicate part of the lower part of the body.

Town survived the resulting corner and after a quick count McAuley returned to the action.

The Blues went ahead somewhat against the run of play in the 14th minute.

Argentinean Luciano Civelli was brought down by McGugan in midfield. Miller, who has a decent scoring record against Forest himself, delivered the free kick high on to the penalty spot and skipper James Perch rose highest but looped a powerful header over his own keeper.

Seven minutes later Forest thought they had equalised when Joe Garner headed in after Richard Wright dropped the ball but the linesman flagged for a foul on the keeper.

Town made sure of the victory when Wright cleverly beat the offside trap on the hour to take a ball slid out wide to him from McAuley. Wright cut inside and buried his shot past Breckin and Smith's near post.

Real quality build up and finish.

Forest threatened around the box but never really hurt Town with Ben Thatcher uncompromising, contract rebel Alex Bruce getting stuck while McAuley and David Wright mopped up well.

McAuley, looking to do for Ipswich what he did for Northern Ireland last week when he scored against San Marino, hit a low drive but it went wide.

Miller fired over the bar and when Danny Haynes enjoyed his first bit of success against wing-back Chris Cohen and hit a decent cross it was cleared away for a corner.

Haynes also hit a shot that went for a corner but going off with a hamstring problem and he was replaced by Jon Walters.

His freshness and pace almost caught out Forest after he played a good one-two with Counago but fired over the bar.

Davies made a change at half time with young striker Emile Sinclair replacing Garner. The striker, recalled in midweek from his loan spell at Macclesfield almost made an instant impact forcing a good save down low by Wright and Stead had to clear sharpish under pressure from Nathan Tyson.

McGugan 35 yard free kick low but Wright well-positioned and the keeper was also well-placed to thwart Tyson after he got past McAuley.

Wright also denied McGugan with a wonderful one-handed save when the ball looked destined for a top corner. But he was powerless to deny Tyson when the man who John Gorman knew so well at Wycombe Wanders, finished offa cross from substitute Garath McCleary.

Quinn hit a powerful drive that was parried by Paul Smith who didn't have a lot to do until the final half hour.

He and Morgan managed to scramble the ball clear under threat by Counago after McAuley caused chaos.