MATCH REPORT: Ipswich Town 2 Huddersfield Town 1
Ipswich v Huddersfield: Daryl Murphy headed home in the 89th minute to secure Ipswich Town an unlikely come-from-behind victory over Huddersfield Town.
The Blues trailed 1-0 at half-time courtesy of Danny Ward’s 35th minute strike, with James Vaughan having seen a penalty saved and Adam Hammill hitting the crossbar either side of the opener.
Mick McCarthy’s men may have dropped 17 points from winning positions this season, but they made it 13 points gained from losing positions.
After David McGoldrick’s fine strike levelled things up in the 50th minute, both sides had spells on top before the game appeared to be fizzling out towards a stalemate.
The Terriers – who had won their previous three matches – failed to clear a deep Aaron Cresswell free-kick at the end though, with Murphy nodding home from close-range.
Town remain in ninth-place, but a third successive victory sees them move to within two points of the play-off places.
Ipswich once again started brightly but were unable to break the deadlock inside the opening five minutes for the fourth game running.
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Luke Chambers lashed an angled shot across the face of goal and Christophe Berra nodded just wide in the early exchanges, with McGoldrick and Daryl Murphy both forcing routine saves out of keeper Alex Smithies.
Town had a golden chance to take the lead in the 18th minute when Murphy shrugged off the challenge of Paul Dixon to race clear onto a long ball. Instead of taking the shot he tried to cut back inside though and Smithies was able to smother the ball.
Huddersfield had failed to produce a shot on target, but were handed the chance to take the lead in the 25th minute when referee Gary Sutton awarded a spot-kick after Berra had collided with Vaughan in the box. The ex-Everton striker did hit the deck easily, but Berra gave him the opportunity by clumsily crashing into him as the pair watched the ball dropped out of the sky.
Thankfully for the Blues, Vaughan’s spot-kick was woeful, Gerken able to simply drop on the tame side-footed effort towards his left. It was the second season in a row that Vaughan had seen a penalty saved at Portman Road, Scott Loach denying him a late winner at the start of the 2012/13 campaign.
Huddersfield stepped up a gear after that missed opportunity and took the lead in the 35th minute. Adam Hammill collected a short throw down the left and breezed past Chambers, his low cut-back diverted backwards by Vaughan and smashed in by Ward.
Hammill – who had switched wings – was beginning to give Chambers a torrid time, the former Wolves man hitting the crossbar with a dipping 25-yard effort in the 44th minute.
Ipswich then created an even better chance just before the break, McGoldrick spinning his marker brilliantly in the box but firing his shot just the wrong side of the post. He’d done the hard work and had looked destined to score.
McCarthy’s men had looked the more vulnerable side heading into the break against Blackburn in midweek, but changed the momentum of that match with a goal soon after the restart.
They repeated that feat as McGoldrick netted his eighth goal of the season with a fine strike in the 50th minute.
Cole Skuse had been below-par in the first half but he produced a wonderful pass to find McGoldrick in space, the striker controlling brilliantly with his right foot before, in one fluid motion, firing home with his left foot.
Town suddenly came alive as Murphy’s driving run and cross just evaded the sliding Luke Hyam in the six-yard box and Chambers powered a shot over the bar after Cresswell’s cross was half-cleared.
Huddersfield rode the storm, the tide turning back their way as Gerken made two smart stops around the 70 minute mark. First he adjusted quickly to stop Berra’s deflection from a Sean Scannell shot creeping in at the near post, then he dived to his right to keep out Oliver Norwood’s long-range effort.
The game then went very flat and looked to be petering out towards a 1-1 draw.
A foul on Murphy saw a free-kick taken quickly, but the referee pulled it back. It proved to be fateful, with Cresswell lofting the ball into the area from deep at the second attempt. Anthony Gerrard could only flick the ball across his own goal and Murphy was there to nod home at the far post.
IPSWICH TOWN (4-3-3): Gerken, Chambers (cpt), Berra, Smith, Cresswell; Skuse (Tabb 67), Hyam, Tunnicliffe; Nouble (Graham 78), Murphy, McGoldrick (Mings 90+).
Subs: Loach, Edwards, Anderson, Hunt.
HUDDERSFIELD TOWN (4-4-2): Smithies; Smith, Gerrard, Lynch, Dixon; Hammill, Hogg (Holmes 90+), Clayton, Norwood; Vaughan, Ward (Scannell 60).
Subs: Bennett, Woods, Gobern, Wallace, Bunn.
Attendance: 15,386 (515 away)
Referee: Gary Sutton.