MATCH REPORT: Ipswich Town 1 Birmingham City 0

Sky Bet Championship
Ipswich Town v Birmingham City - Portman Road, Ipswich - 1 Mar 2014.

Sky Bet Championship Ipswich Town v Birmingham City - Portman Road, Ipswich - 1 Mar 2014. Ipswich Town's Daryl Murphy (No.9) is congratulated after he scores his side's only goal of the game. PHOTO: Ashley Pickering - Credit: Ashley Pickering

Ipswich v Birmingham: Ipswich Town made it three home wins from four with a 1-0 victory over Birmingham City.

Daryl Murphy’s 38th minute goal – a back post tap-in after Frank Nouble’s low cross from the right somehow evaded three visiting players – woke everyone up at Portman Road following a dire start to the match in which neither side mustered a noteworthy effort on goal.

The hosts were in control after that and, spurred on by the excellent Paul Taylor, always looked the more likely to score.

Taylor – only making his third league start of the season due to the fact that new loan signing Jonny Williams had picked up a knock in training the previous day – was causing Lee Clark’s side all sorts of problems with his strength, movement and direct-running.

Having played a big part in Murphy’s goal, outmuscling his marker to control a long bouncing ball before playing the ball out wide to Nouble, Taylor twice went close himself at the start of the second half.

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First keeper Darren Randolph was at full-stretch to keep out a curling side-foot effort which was destined for the far corner of the net, while moments later a carbon copy attempt bent just past the far post in front of the North Stand.

Birmingham, described as ‘toothless’ by manager Clark afterwards, created next to nothing. When they did get half a sniff, the imperious Christophe Berra was twice there to make perfectly-timed saving challenges in the box.

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So when Lee Novak missed a sitter in the 63rd moment – ballooning the ball over from close-range after Chris Burke had out-muscled Tommy Smith to cross - you sensed it was not going to be their day.

Town sub Paul Anderson epitomised the home team’s work rate when he lost his boot in a tackle, only to scoop it up in his hand and race back to provide cover at centre-back.

Indeed, it was Anderson who went closest to adding a second for the Blues when he latched on to Jonathan Spector’s bad back pass, touched the ball wide of on-rushing Randolph only for the keeper to recover and prevent the winger squeezing the ball in on the angle.

Reading’s 1-1 home draw with Yeovil means the Blues, back up to ninth in the table, have closed the gap on sixth-place to four points with 13 games to play.

- Reaction to follow.

IPSWICH TOWN (4-3-3): Gerken; Chambers (cpt), Berra, Smith, Cresswell; Green, Skuse, Tabb (Hunt 68); Taylor (Mings 87, Nouble (Anderson 52), Murphy.

Subs: Loach, Richardson, Wordsworth, Ebanks-Blake.

Booked: Skuse (88)

BIRMINGHAM CITY (4-4-2): Randolph; Spector, Martin, Packwood, Robinson (cpt); Caddis (Ibe 46), Huws, Lee, Novak (Howard 79); Macheda (Burke 58), Zigic.

Subs: Doyle, Blackett, Adeyemi, Shinnie.

Booked: Zigic (39), Spector (60)

Attendance: 15,596 (512 away)

Referee: Keith Stroud

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