Match report: Ipswich Town 3 Wigan Athletic 0 – Sears nets twice as relegation fears dissipate
- Credit: Picture: Steve Waller
Freddie Sears scored twice and David McGoldrick got the other as Ipswich Town ruthlessly punished some shambolic Wigan Athletic defending to record a comfortable 3-0 at Portman Road and ease their relegation fears.
The second-bottom Latics were the architects of their own downfall as some hesitant play at the back led to all three goals, but take nothing away from the under-pressure Blues who produced their most enterprising performance in weeks.
With all the other teams around them at the bottom losing tonight, Mick McCarthy’s men now have a nine-point cushion to the drop zone with six games to play.
Following a cagey opening 15 minutes, several pieces of positive play from marauding wing-backs Jordan Spence and Myles Kenlock got the home side and crowd going.
The Blues’ breakthrough came when defender Craig Morgan was sold a poor pass and mis-controlled the ball at the back. Kenlock seized on the error quick as a flash, drove into space and cut the ball back for McGoldrick to sweep home.
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Yet more catastrophic Wigan defending gifted Town a nerve-settling second on the half hour. This time Jake Buxton snoozed in possession 30 yards from goal, Sears robbed him on the blindside, played a quick one-two with McGoldrick and raced away to coolly convert one-on-one.
It was the first time Town had scored two first-half goals at Portman Road since April 2015. Any anxiety on and off the field dissipated and that enabled a light moment as cheers greeted the sight of fourth official Darren Deadman warming up for three minutes before replacing the injured Andy Davies.
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With the shackles off, Town enjoyed themselves after the restart. Kenlock’s driving run and shot was saved at the near post, while Emyr Huws skipped beyond a tackle, cut inside and saw a curling attempt saved by the diving Matt Gilks. Both moments drew rapturous applause.
Wigan had created little, but it required a smart stop from Bartosz Bialkowski to tip over Ryan Colclough’s turn and shot inside the box.
Town continued to threaten and only a superb double save from Gilks denied them a third. First the ex-Blackpool keeper blocked bravely at the feet of Sears, following McGoldrick’s well-weighted low cross, then he got up to deny Grant Ward’s rebound attempt.
Gilks was at it again in the 81st minute when he produced a magnificent one-handed stop to keep out Tommy Smith’s firm close-range header from Ward’s free-kick delivery.
Bialkowski, perhaps feeling left out, then produced a string of outstanding saves himself. Twice, at full-stretch, he denied crisp, low Alex Gilbey efforts. The best of the bunch, however, was a point blank stop from Callum Connolly’s diving header and quickfire block of Morgan’s stabbed effort on the line.
A long ball direct from that incident led to Town’s deserved third goal. Gilbey was this time the guilty party as he was robbed of possession by McGoldrick and Sears raced away to score at the second attempt and put the icing on an uplifting performance.
IPSWICH TOWN (3-5-2): Bialkowski; Chambers (cpt), Taylor (Smith 45+), Berra; Spence, Ward, Huws (Bru 77), Diagouraga, Kenlock; McGoldrick (Samuel 90), Sears.
Unused subs: Gerken, Williams, Moore, Pitman.
Booked: Kenlock (55), Diagouraga (60), Ward (68)
WIGAN ATHLETIC (5-3-2): Gilks; Morgan, Buxton, Burn; Power, Hanson, MacDonald (Obertan 80), Perkins (Gilbey 46), Warnock (cpt) (Connolly 75); Colclough, Jacobs.
Unused subs: Haugaard, James, Bruce, Byrne.
Booked: Burn (58), Power (81)