MATCH REPORT: Ipswich Town 1 Wigan Athletic 3
Ipswich v Wigan: Ipswich Town once again came up just short against one of the sides above them in the Championship table as Wigan came from behind to record a 3-1 win at Portman Road.
The Blues broke the deadlock through Tommy Smith’s hooked finish (19), but James McClean’s low finish levelled things up little more than two minutes later and Leon Barnett stooped to head the visitors in front three minutes before the break.
Town’s efforts were applauded come the half-time whistle and they started the second half on the front foot. Wigan killed the game off when McClean converted at the far post in the 76th minute though.
Ipswich remain ninth in the table but are now six points adrift of the play-off places. Wigan – who have now won eight games in a row in all competitions – are up to fifth and still have two games in hand to come on many of their rivals.
Mick McCarthy’s men have claimed just eight points from a possible 33 against the eight teams above them in the table and have now dropped 28 points from winning positions.
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Town started on the front foot and went close early on when Paul Anderson’s looping header dropped just onto the roof of the net.
With target man Daryl Murphy and tricky advanced midfielder Jonny Williams forming a good partnership the encouraging signs continued.
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Wigan keeper Ali Al Habsi had to dive full stretch to his left to keep out a scuffed Murphy effort in the 17th minute after a run and cross from Anderson.
It was therefore no surprise when the Blues broke the deadlock after Anderson had been fouled on the edge of the box. Aaron Cresswell’s low shot was blocked by the wall but Cole Skuse helped the ball back into the box and Smith expertly hooked home.
The lead lasted little more than two minutes. Wigan had created little but a long ball forward from right-back Emmerson Boyce saw Marc-Antoine Fortune get around the back and pull the ball back from the by-line for McClean to drill low into the net from the penalty spot.
Ipswich refused to let the set-back take the wind out of their sails and they continued to play positively, with Luke Hyam producing his most attack-minded display in a long time.
The latter had a golden opportunity to put his side back in front in the 39th minute. Cresswell’s low cross was neatly laid off by Anderson, but Hyam blazed over from 10 yards out.
Wigan once again responded, scoring just three minutes later after Skuse had tripped McClean out by the touchline. Jordi Gomez’s deep inswinging free-kick dissected the six-yard box allowing the stooping Barnett to nod in from close-range.
The visitors had scored both of their attempts on target. When the half-time whistle blew the home crowd applauded their team’s efforts
Town came flying out of the traps after the restart. Williams did superbly to dispossess Barnett in his own box, Hunt’s low cross just evading Murphy at the far post.
There was a huge let off for the hosts in the 53rd minute though when Wigan broke in numbers following an Ipswich corner. Uwe Rosler’s men had three attackers bearing down on one defender, but they overplayed and Cresswell raced back to make a crucial interception.
Wigan increasingly looked happy to suck the life out of the match and Ipswich had fewer and fewer sights on goal as the second half wore on.
So when the visitors scored a third in the 77th it looked game, set and match. Substitute Pasul Green was guilty of dallying on the ball inn the middle of the park, Gomez dispossessed him, quickly found Fortune down the right and his super sweeping low cross was converted at the back post by a stretching McClean.
Ipswich, to their credit, refused to give up and again they got on the front foot. Substitutes Paul Taylor and Sylvan Ebanks-Blake added some spark, with the former’s volley well held by Al-Habsi and the latter close to connecting with a spectacular overhead kick attempt in the box.
It was Wigan who finished the stringer though, Hyam this time guilty of getting caught on the ball in a dangerous area and sub Nick Powell almost getting clear.
- Reaction to follow.
IPSWICH TOWN (4-4-1-1): Gerken; Chambers (cpt), Berra, Smith, Cresswell; Anderson, Skuse (Green 62), Hyam, Hunt; Williams (Ebanks-Blake 78); Murphy.
Unused subs: Loach, Mings, Richardson, Tabb.
Booked: Hunt (57), Green (67)
WIGAN ATHLETIC (4-3-3): Al Habsi; Perch, Boyce, Barnett (Kiernan 74), Ramis; Gomez, McArthur, Tunnicliffe; McClean (Crainey 82), Fortune, Waghorn (Powell 64).
Unused subs: Carson, McEachran, McManaman, Maynard.
Booked: McClean (30), Ramis (57)
Attendance: 16,047 (381 away)
Referee: David Coote