Match report: Ipswich Town 0 Derby County 3 – Blues comfortably beaten at home
Ipswich Town suffered an embarrassingly comfortable 3-0 home defeat to Derby County tonight.
Craig Bryson’s smart finish and Tom Ince’s superb curing effort put the Rams in control with less than 12 minutes played, with ex-Blues striker Darren Bent nodding home in first-half stoppage-time.
Two smart stops from Bartosz Bialkowski and Ince missing a sitter limited the damage after the break.
Town slip to 17th in the table – still 10 points above the drop zone – ahead of Saturday’s visit of Reading. Derby climb into the play-off zone.
This game was played out in front of the lowest league attendance at Portman Road in more than 17 years – 14,719 – and many of them had left long before the final whistle.
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In the ninth minute, at the second phase following a corner, Ince cut the ball back and Bryson expertly stroked the ball home from the edge of the box.
Moments later, Chris Baird’s clever pass up the channel took out Jonas Knudsen and led to Ince jinking inside the exposed Berra. The in-form winger curled a wonderful left-footed effort into the far top corner on the angle.
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McCarthy quickly switched his wing-back system to a 4-5-1 system. Paul Digby moved forward into midfield and Brett Pitman was left as the lone striker.
Digby was replaced by David McGoldrick in the 36th minute, but Derby were happy to let Town have the ball in deep areas then spring a raid counter-attack when possible.
Ipswich did look they were improving in the latter stages of the half and Kevin Bru had a headed chance at a corner that bounced down into the ground and just beyond Berra at the far post.
There were two major body-blows in the final moments though.
First star man Tom Lawrence went down with a twisted ankle and, though he limped on, it was clear be would not be continuing after the break.
Then, in the added time, Derby struck again. Luke Chambers unconvincingly hacked an Ince cross behind, from the resultant short corner Bryson’s thunderous strike was tipped onto the bar by Bialkowski and, after the ball was crossed back in from the right, Bent was left with a simple nodded finish virtually on the goal-line.
The ex-Ipswich academy graduate chose not to celebrate against his former club.
Ince was guilty of missing a sitter in the 53rd minute when, following Bent’s pull-back, he side-footed against the outside of the post from 10 yards out.
The Rams went close again just before the hour when Bent’s snap-shot was excellently kept out down low at the near post by Bialkowski.
Steve McClaren’s men continued to threaten. Bryson didn’t get hold of a shot from a good position, while Bialkowski made a flying stop at the near post from Jacob Butterfield.
Town had a good looking shout for a penalty towards the end when Alex Pearce tripped Grant Ward in the box, but appeals were waved away.