Miller is spot-on again
Cardiff City 0Ipswich Town 1TOMMY Miller's rich vein of form helped the Blues to a hard-fought but deserved win against Cardiff City at Ninian Park last night to keep the pressure on the Championship's leading pair.
By Derek Davis
Cardiff City 0
Ipswich Town 1
TOMMY Miller's rich vein of form helped the Blues to a hard-fought but deserved win against Cardiff City at Ninian Park last night to keep the pressure on the Championship's leading pair.
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Unfortunately for Town, they made no inroads into the lead of Wigan and Sunderland, who both recorded convincing wins last night and remain three points clear of the Blues
Miller notched his 12th goal of the season, his fifth in seven games and his sixth from the penalty spot this season, to put Town on their way.
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Just as importantly, they kept a clean sheet as City battered manfully on the door, which was kept firmly close by a defence led by skipper Jason De Vos.
The game started with the bizarre sound of Delia Smith and her infamous “Let's Be 'Aving You” speech.
Ipswich were forced to weather an early storm as the rain cascaded down over Cardiff and City were threatening to drown Town.
Once the rain cleared, Town enjoyed a bright spell but the Bluebirds held firm.
Cardiff battled gamely but Town's extra class and quality eventually shone through as they stayed patient.
They edged a tight second half, enjoying better possession and looked solid defensively throughout the team.
The Blues started with the same personnel that began the second half in the 6-0 rout of Nottingham Forest, with Currie in for the injured Jim Magilton, who faces a battle to recover from a tear in a calf muscle for the trip to Gillingham on Saturday.
On-loan Monaco midfielder Jimmy Juan was involved with the squad for the first time, after impressing in training.
City fielded the same side that earned a draw at Coventry last weekend, with Alan Lee serving the second of a three-match suspension and Peter Thorne injured, so midfielder Lee Bullock was pushed forward once more.
The Bluebirds started with purpose. Joe Ledley hit a cross and an unmarked Bullock looped a header over the bar in the first minute.
Kelvin Davis was twice forced to make brave saves at the feet of Cameron Jerome, while skipper De Vos headed more danger away.
Langley curled a right-footed 30-yard free-kick in from an angle which evaded everyone but went wide as Town were reeling.
Fabian Wilnis headed a Ledley free- kick off the line and De Vos did likewise from a corner.
Ipswich did break quickly but struggled at first to get behind a solid back line.
Bent was winning corners, and generally looked lively and threatening, and in the 34th minute hit a good effort after he created some space to let fly but keeper Neil Alexander took it relatively easily.
A minute later, Westlake surged into the box, beating a couple of defenders, but dragged his 14-yard shot wide.
Shefki Kuqi suddenly burst into life after a quiet half-hour and twice forced good saves from Alexander, who blocked with his legs.
Matt Richards ballooned a 30-yard shot towards the nearby Millennium Stadium and seemed to struggle with the pitch on the wide left in the first half.
Westlake won a meaty challenge against Chris Barker and laid the ball off for Richards to hit a low ball in but it was finally dealt with by the defence.
Ipswich moved the ball around well without getting any penetration early in the second half and Currie showed some good skill to give himself an opening but his goalward-bound shot was headed over the bar by James Collins.
Although the Blues were wearing City down, they still needed to be wary of the Cardiff threat.
De Vos made a wonderful saving tackle to rob Jerome, who had latched on to a loose Currie ball and was headed towards the Town goal.
The breakthrough for Ipswich came five minutes after James Scowcroft replaced a below-par Kuqi.
The impressive Wilnis played a low ball into the path of Miller and, as the midfielder turned inside, he was brought down by the otherwise staunch Danny Gabbidon.
Although Alexander guessed the right way and dived to his left, Miller's spot-kick was too powerful and accurate to be saved.
Davis was alert to a well-struck Joel McAnuff shot as Cardiff broke quickly
Bent had the ball in the net in the 75th minute, after winning an aerial challenge with Alexander to get on the end of a Scowcroft ball, but, as is usual in these instances, a foul was awarded in the keeper's favour, even though the striker's leap looked clean.
Bent was replaced four minutes from time as Town looked to hang on to their lead, after McAnuff got the better of David Unsworth and played a dangerous ball in.
Cardiff twice had penalty claims for handball turned down, the first when McAnuff tried to loft a ball past Miller but it hit him in the face. The second was less clear, after the ball came out of a forest of players from a corner.