Match report: Charlton Athletic 0 Ipswich Town 3 – Town produce another TV win at The Valley
Daryl Murphy scored twice and Freddie Sears netted the other as Ipswich Town won 3-0 at Charlton Athletic this lunchtime.
Murphy headed home from close-range just before the half-hour mark, with Sears’ deflected effort coming just as the match entered first-half stoppage-time.
Murphy’s crisp finish, at the end of a well-worked move, killed the game off in the 68th minute with Town then requiring three fine saves from Dean Gerken to ensure they went away from south London with a clean sheet.
The Blues are now unbeaten in six matches and have won three of their last four matches to close the gap on the top-six places to just goal difference.
This afternoon’s result ended a run of 11 games without a live televised win and makes it four successive victories at The Valley.
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Town boss Mick McCarthy made one enforced change to his team following the 2-2 home draw with Wolves – the injured Kevin Bru (hamstring) replaced by Ainsley Maitland-Niles on the right of midfield. Larsen Toure (groin) was also absent through injury, with teenage academy defender Joe Robinson on the bench for the first time.
Following a quiet start to the match, Town gradually began to get on top. In the 10th minute, Brett Pitman controlled a long ball beautifully, his turn and shot easily held by keeper Stephen Henderson. A minute later, Pitman crossed from the right and Murphy, after jumping higher than Patrick Bauer, put his difficult headed chance inches wide of the left post.
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Charlton were handed a major set-back in the 13th minute when influential skipper Johnnie Jackson, only just back from injury, limped off with a hamstring problem. That meant a reshuffle for the home side, right-back Tareiq Holmes-Dennis moving to midfield after Chris Solly came on.
Pitman’s attempted audacious near post flick forced a Town corner in the 16th minute and Charlton subsequently rode their luck as Jonathan Douglas’ far post header hit team-mate Sears on the way to goal.
It then required a smart stop by home custodian and former Town loanee Henderson to keep the scores level, the Irishman smothering Sears’ side-footed effort after Luke Chambers’ deep cross had deflected kindly into his path.
Charlton had looked a threat on the counter-attack and livewire teenage striker Ademola Lookman, making only his second start, was proving a real threat with his close control and turn of pace.
Most of the time Town defended well, but there was one heart in mouth moment when keeper Gerken unconvincingly punched away.
Just as the Addicks were beginning to enjoy their best spell of the match they contrived to concede the softest of goals though.
Ainsley Maitland-Niles and Jonas Knudsen got themselves in something of a muddle with a poorly executed short corner routine, but eventually the ball was crossed into the box and a comedy of errors ensued.
Pitman’s low shot deflected into the path of Sears, his shot was saved by Henderson and the ball was only half-cleared. Maitland-Niles hooked it back into the danger zone, Ipswich won two headers and, eventually, Murphy was able to force the ball home with his head from close-range.
Charlton tried to get on the front foot immediately after the restart and Gerken had to be quick off his line to block at the feet of the ever-dangerous Lookman.
The goal had sucked the life out of the home fans who, unhappy at the way the club is being run, carried a protest in the early stages of the game.
You sensed that Ipswich could grab a killer second and they came close to doing so in the 36th minute when an unmarked Douglas, left unmarked in the area, glanced a Murphy cross just wide.
Town did eventually double their advantage just as the game entered first half stoppage-time. Chambers curved a pass into the area from deep and Sears’ near-post shot took a major deflection off Bauer to wrong-foot Henderson.
The referee’s half-time whistle was met by a cacophony of boos inside The Valley.
Charlton started the second half fired up but it was Ipswich who created the first goalscoring chance, Murphy lashing a shot just wide from the edge of the box following good work by Sears and Pitman.
Slowly but surely the visitors squeezed the life of the game, eventually killing it off with a brilliantly worked third goal in the 68th minute.
The ever hard-working Sears wriggled his way out of the corner, he found Chambers who in turn pass across the edge of the box. Pitman cleverly dummied, Douglas provided a smart sideway pass and Murphy rifled a low shot across the keeper and into the bottom corner. It was the Irishman’s sixth goal in three games.
Town rather took their foot off the gas after this and in the end it needed three top drawer saves from Gerken to ensure Ipswich escaped with a clean sheet.
First, in the 79th minute, he made a fine reaction stop to keep out Reza Goochennejhad’s close-range stooping header. Two minutes later, he had to dive full length to his left to claw Ricardo Vaz Te’s header out of the bottom corner.
Then, in the 86th minute, he had to dive to his left to push away Vaz Te’s well-struck effort from the edge of the area.
Charlton arguably deserved a goal for their efforts but it wasn’t to be, Goochannejhad putting an unmarked header well wide in stoppage-time.
CHARLTON ATHLETIC (4-4-2): Henderson; Holmes-Dennis, Bauer, Sarr, Fox (Vaz Te 46); Diarra; Cousins, Jackson (cpt) (Solly 13); Gudmundsson (Ghoochannejhad 73); Makienok, Lookman.
Unused subs: Pope, Lennon, Ba, Ahearne-Grant.
IPSWICH TOWN (4-4-2): Gerken; Chambers (cpt), Smith, Berra, Knudsen; Maitland-Niles (Coke 84), Douglas, Skuse, Sears (Oar 90); Pitman, Murphy.
Unused subs: Bialkowski, Robinson, Malarczyk, Parr, Tabb.
Referee: Scott Duncan