MONDAY VERDICT: Ipswich’s warriors prove they will fight to the bitter end
Ipswich Town’s warriors have fought back off the ropes to prove they are not all punched out.
A mid-season knee tremble had many fearing that a spirited, hard-working but sometimes technically limited outfit had given all they had to give in the opening rounds of a season that had far exceeded expectations.
Try telling these players that graft can only take you so far though.
Instead of feeling sorry for themselves following a flat start to 2015 they just went back to their corner, received some calm instructions from wily corner man Mick McCarthy, then used their collective know-how to get back on the front foot.
Saturday’s 2-1 win at Fulham was every bit as convincing as last Tuesday’s 2-1 come-from-behind victory over Sheffield Wednesday at Portman Road.
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The scoreline may have suggested a close match, but once again Town dominated the shooting statistics.
Daryl Murphy landed the telling blows, heading home in the fifth minute and then curling home a sublime second just before the break to become the club’s first player since David Johnson in 1999/00 to net 20 league goals in a campaign.
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It rendered Ross McCormack’s 75th minute reply a mere consolation. Around that there was plenty of roll-up-your-sleeves, ugly stuff which sent away the 4,000 army of travelling fans puffed up with pride.
Murphy suffered a broken nose in scoring the opener but carried on after having it crudely clicked back into place. Jay Tabb was left seeing stars after a clash of heads, continued and then eventually limped off after executing a firm but fair slide tackle.
Kevin Bru covered so much ground he was running on fumes at the end, while Noel Hunt’s bravery in stoppage-time meant he was stretchered off after falling awkwardly.
The message was clear – with just 15 games now left go, this group is determined to see the job through to the bitter end.