Report & Gallery: Ipswich Town 2 Burnley 0 – Goals from Sears and McGoldrick seal victory
- Credit: Picture: Steve Waller
Ipswich Town’s superb start to the season continued as Freddie Sears and David McGoldrick netted second half goals in a 2-0 home win over newly-relegated Burnley at Portman Road on Tuesday night.
Sears celebrated signing a new four-year deal earlier in the day by steering home a 66th minute opener, with McGoldrick heading home a killer second from a corner just five minutes later.
Those quickfire goals came after a scrappy affair in which two hard-working teams, both playing in organised 4-4-2 systems, had fully nullified each other.
This was the 18th game in a row that the Blues have scored at least one goal in a match and their first clean sheet in 13 competitive outings – the previous one coming in that memorable 1-0 win at Watford back on March 21.
With Mick McCarthy’s men top of the early Championship table, after claiming seven points from nine during an unbeaten start, the only negative to come out of the evening was Ryan Fraser going off with a knee injury in the first half.
While Ipswich have drawn 2-2 at Brentford, beaten Stevenage 2-1 in the League Cup and seen off Sheffield Wednesday, also by a score of 2-1, Burnley, by contrast, remain winless after their opening four league matches. Previously they drew against Leeds and Birmingham in the league, while also exiting the League Cup at Port Vale.
Blues boss McCarthy named an unchanged side following Saturday’s 2-1 home win over Sheffield Wednesday, while Burnley manager Sean Dyche made just one alteration to his line-up – Sam Vokes replacing Lukas Jutkiewicz up front – following the Clarets’ 2-2 home draw with Birmingham.
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Attacking the Sir Bobby Robson Stand in the first half, Town created an opening within seconds of kick-off as Freddie Sears – fresh from signing a new four-year deal earlier in the day – provided a low cross which keeper Tom Heaton did well to hold on to.
It proved to be a false dawn though and Ipswich were unable to build any sort of early momentum as two hard-working team, both playing in organised 4-4-2 systems, increasingly cancelled each other out.
Burnley enjoyed the better chances in a scrappy opening period, the first of which arrived in the seventh minute when Michael Kightly – after out-stripping Luke Chambers and seeing the ball fall back to him kindly in the box – saw a hooked effort come back off the inside of the far post.
Town continued to huff and puff, too often reverting to the hopeful long balls that they came to rely on last season.
Ainsley Maitland-Niles showed just why his new Blues team-mates have dubbed him ‘The Rash’ in training as he chased down opponents time-and-time again.
It was his neat one-two with Chambers which led to the latter’s outside of the boot effort deflecting just wide, while moments later, after juggling the ball over Kightly’s head in the middle of the park, he dragged a long-range effort well wide.
Just as you sensed the home side were gaining a foothold in the game winger Ryan Fraser went down with a knee injury and received on-field treatment. After initially trying to play on, he was eventually replaced by David McGoldrick.
McGoldrick was immediately involved, dropping deep, driving forwards and exchanging passes with Sears in an encouraging move that ended up coming to nothing.
The down side was that Daryl Murphy, last season’s 27-goal top-scorer, had to shift to the left of midfield and – bringing back memories of Paul Jewell’s managerial regime – he looked rather wasted out on the touchline.
The Lancashire visitors then ended a forgettable half on top, passing up a golden opportunity to break the deadlock in the 41st minute when Jelle Vossen fired a shot straight at Bialkowski with time and space in the area.
Then, just before the half-time whistle, Dave Jones’ curling free-kick delivery from, the right evaded everyone in the box and flew over the angle of bar and post.
McCarthy, unsurprisingly, replaced Murphy with Brett Pitman at the interval. Not only has last season’s talisman not looked quite up to speed following a limited pre-season, but Pitman had impressed against Sheffield Wednesday last weekend. Sears moved to the wing.
Both teams continued to nullify each other, the first chance of the second half not arriving until the 58th minute when McGoldrick, always leaning back, headed Maitland-Niles’ cross well over.
The one big positive for Town was the impressive performance of Danish left-back Jonas Knudsen, the summer signing once again looking very assured and well-suited to Championship football.
The Portman Road crowd – numbering a healthy 18,353 for a Tuesday night match against well-travelled opposition – needed something to get them going and, thankfully, that moment arrived in the 66th minute.
After Maitland-Niles’ pass into the channel, Pitman steered a low cross towards the back post and Sears only had to provide the slightest of touches inside the six yard box to help the ball on its way into the bottom corner.
One-nil became 2-0 five minutes later in the most simple of fashions; McGoldrick barely having to jump to head home Maitland-Niles’ corner from around eight yards out.
Jonathan Douglas went close to adding a third with a sublime angled effort as the match entered the final 10 minutes, while keeper Bialkowski produced a reaction stop to keep out Michael Keane’s powerful header in stoppage-time.
IPSWICH TOWN (4-4-2): Bialkowski; Chambers (cpt), Smith, Berra, Knudsen; Maitland-Niles (Coke 84), Skuse, Douglas, Fraser (McGoldrick 28); Murphy (Pitman 46), Sears.
Unused subs: Gerken, Emmanuel, Tabb, Toure.
BURNLEY (4-4-2): Heaton (cpt); Darikwa, Duff, Keane, Mee; Boyd, Arfield, Jones (Taylor 77), Kightly; Vossen (Hennings 55), Vokes (Jutkiewicz 66).
Unused subs: Gilks, Ward, Anderson, Sordell.
Attendance: 18,353 (470 away)
Referee: Simon Hooper.