Jim does his jog of joy

JIM Magilton was in clover as his own four-leafed version gave him his festive wish of three points at Coventry.Veteran Irish duo Jon Macken and Alan Lee were the scorers, backed by fellow Republic youngsters Owen Garvan and Billy Clarke as Town left the Midlands dancing a jog of joy.

By Derek Davis

JIM Magilton was in clover as his own four-leafed version gave him his festive wish of three points at Coventry.

Veteran Irish duo Jon Macken and Alan Lee were the scorers, backed by fellow Republic youngsters Owen Garvan and Billy Clarke as Town left the Midlands dancing a jog of joy.

After Saturday's disappointing home defeat by Stoke, it was vital that Ipswich got something at the Ricoh Arena and as they had not lost to the Sky Blues, home or away, in 12 years, they were confident of doing just that.

After a poor first half the Blues improved in the second and went ahead when Andy Marshall conceded a corner from a Jon Macken shot after good work from Owen Garvan.

The former Town keeper pushed Richard Naylor's header from Gavin Williams' corner against a post, but as the ball went back across goal Macken was on hand to poke home from close range.

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It was the Crystal Palace striker's third goal of his loan spell and the second in four games.

Five minutes from the end the Blues wrapped up the game with substitute Clarke combining well with Lee after a quick ball from Garvan, the big striker nodding his 10th goal of the season past a stricken Marshall.

Lewis Price made a wonderful fingertip save from Leon McKenzie on to the crossbar and away for a corner.

The Wales keeper was also strong and brave, dealing with a dipping Chris Birchall cross.

City pulled one back in the 90th minute when Michael Doyle drove in a low shot from 16 yards after Town failed to deal with a loose ball in the box.

That set up a thrilling three minutes of time added on when Kevin Kyle had a penalty appeal rejected after crumbling under Alex Bruce.

And Price stitched on his man of the match award with a vital tip-over save from a McKenzie header.

Both sides gave the ball away far too cheaply and far too often in a game that got better the longer it went on.

Ipswich might have gone ahead early on when they thought they had won a penalty early in the first half.

Lee went over Elliott Ward's challenge but instead of a penalty, which looked a certainty, the Blues striker was booked for an alleged dive. Perhaps he has become a marked man among officials for his theatrics.

Ipswich have been awarded more penalties in the Championship than any other team, seven to date, and it looked a total injustice that they didn't get an eighth.

The Blues took advantage of an injury-wracked City side with keeper Marshall playing despite needing a knee operation.

City had got Luke Steele on an emergency seven-day loan from West Brom but he suffered a badly gashed knee in the 3-1 loss at Luton on Saturday and so was ruled out.

Although they have Spaniard Rafael Gonzalez-Robles on their books, Sky Blues boss Micky Adams preferred to use Marshall, with midfielder Stephen Hughes his back-up keeper.

Kind-hearted Town didn't trouble their former team-mate Marshall, and he didn't have a worthwhile save to make until Garvan tested him five minutes after the break.

Marshall also saved well with his legs on the hour and needed to be alert late on to push a wicked Gary Roberts cross over the bar.

Although Robert Page was eligible after serving a one-match ban the formidable centre-back was missing as his wife had gone into labour, which meant Mikkel Bischoff made his home debut.

Dan Harding suffered an accidental clash of heads with Bischoff in the opening minutes and seemed to play in a daze until he was replaced 10 minutes before the break by birthday boy Matt Richards, who was 22 yesterday.

Fortunately for Ipswich Darren Currie was not allowed to play for Coventry as part of the loan arrangement that took him to the Ricoh Arena.

It is a bizarre habit that has crept into the games that managers don't allow loan players to appear for their new club, even those like Currie who are likely to make the move permanent.

If Currie is not good enough to get in the Blues side, why be worried about letting him play for Coventry?

Gavin Williams and Gary Roberts have both been struggling with groin problems but didn't let it show, especially in the second half.

Town were given the runaround in the first half as City's plan seemed to be to get the ball wide to Mckenzie for him to get past Bruce, which he did with alarming regularity, and get crosses in.

Ex-Norwich man McKenzie came close to finishing with a lob from wide when the offside flag stayed down but his lob inched past a post.

He also made a strong run down the City left to set up a chance for Colin Cameron, whose volley was wayward.

The same combination carved open an even better opening midway through the first half but Cameron produced a bad miss.

The victory left the 1,631 Town supporters making the Boxing Day visit to the 32,000-seater stadium singing 'Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle all the way, oh what fun it is to see Ipswich win away' as they notched up their first success on the road since defeating Southend in October.


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