Reaction: Fraser’s sublime finish was worthy of winning any game, says McCarthy

Ryan Fraser celebrates striking the winning goal against Preston North End during the second half

Ryan Fraser celebrates striking the winning goal against Preston North End during the second half

Ipswich Town boss Mick McCarthy says Ryan Fraser’s sublime finish in this afternoon’s 2-1 victory at Preston was worthy of winning any game.

The diminutive Scot caressed a curling, floated effort over the keeper and into the top corner from the angle of the box in the 65th minute following some patient build-up.

That settled a hard-fought match in which Town broke the deadlock through Brett Pitman’s header (24) before getting pegged back by Daniel Johnson’s cool one-on-one finish.

With the Blues remaining top of the Championship table, after claiming 10 points from their opening four league matches, McCarthy said: “It was a hard fought game, Preston were the better team in the first half and we were lucky to go in front to be honest. They were really on the front foot and very aggressive.

“They were unlucky not to go in front, we scored against the run of play, and then their goal is a real clinical finish – although I’m bleating that we get done on the counter from a throw-in.

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“We had the better of the second half, we had more of the ball and that goal that Ryan scored was the first time we’d kept it up the pitch. And it was worthy of winning any game.”

On an intriguing tactical battle with counter-part Simon Grayson, the Blues boss said: “They changed the way they play. I fully expected them to play 3-5-2, the shape they’ve been playing, it’s almost like five at the back and one in front. We planned for that and they changed. It caught us on the hop a bit because we didn’t expect it.

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“I then had to have Brett Pitman playing midfield, but he did his job and he scored from there.

“There was one or two who did real selfless jobs for us. Ryan (Fraser) gets up and done and helps look after the full-back, Freddie (Sears) goes and plays wide. It’s not what I want to do, but if we get enough points to get in the Premier League then no-one will care who plays wide left for 20 games.”

On the absent Daryl Murphy – out with a tight calf – McCarthy said: “He might be back after the international break, we’ll see. He’s had a scan, there’s nothing too serious. If he’s ready for Brighton (at home on Saturday), great.

“He won’t play at Doncaster (in the League Cup) on Tuesday though.”

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