Match report: Middlesbrough 2 Ipswich Town 0 – Two goals either side of break kill off toothless Town
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Two goals either side of half-time saw Ipswich Town slip to a 2-0 defeat at Middlesbrough this afternoon.
Town’s organisation had frustrated the hosts until Martin Braithwaite profited from some poor defending to break the deadlock seconds before the break.
Patrick Bamford then produced a fine low finish from the edge of the box six minutes after the restart to effectively kill the game off against a Blues side who, unusually, lacked any sort of attacking threat.
The tone was set in the opening exchanges – Boro dominating possession, but unable to break down an organised Town team which quickly got nine outfield players behind the ball.
Ben Gibson mis-hit a shot in the box following Stewart Downing’s deep delivery in the 18th minute, while Britt Assombalonga saw an angled effort beaten behind by Bartosz Bialkowski in the 40th minute.
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The home players and crowd were looking and sounding frustrated and the Blues, despite having not produced a single shot on goal, would have been good value for a goalless half-time score.
Some poor defending play led to Boro breaking the deadlock second before the break though. Stewart Downing’s feint left Jonas Knudsen on his backside, then two Town players collided when contesting the deep cross and the ball fell kindly for Braithwaite to slam home.
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McCarthy introduced Joe Garner for Emyr Huws at half-time, but six minutes later Boro – perhaps with more space to attack – had scored a killer second. Bamford skipped inside from the right touchline and rifled a crisp low shot in off the base off the post from the edge of the box.
The second half was something of a non-event thereafter as the game drifted towards a seemingly inevitable conclusion. Boro, desperate for a win given their recent form, took no risks.
Teddy Bishop and Freddie Sears came on for Town just after the hour, but there was never a sense a comeback was on.
Waghorn twice firing over the bar from difficult positions, plus some ambitious long-range efforts from Garner and Bishop, proved to be the Blues’ only attempts on goal all game.
MIDDLESBROUGH (4-2-3-1): Randolph; Christie, Ayala, Gibson, Da Silva; Leadbitter (cpt) (Forshaw 90+), Howson; Downing (Johnson 77), Bamford (Gestede 80), Braithwaite; Assombalonga.
Unused subs: Konstantopoulos, Friend, Fry, Traore.
Booked: Leadbitter (21), Ayala (32)
IPSWICH TOWN (4-1-4-1): Bialkowski; Spence, Chambers (cpt), Webster, Knudsen; Skuse; Ward (Bishop 61), Huws (Garner 46), Connolly, Celina (Sears 61); Waghorn.
Unused subs: Crowe, Iorfa, Kenlock, Downes.
Attendance: 22,989 (434 away)
Referee: Robert Jones