Report: Ipswich Town 3 Blackpool 2 – Sears’ double and Berra’s late winner puts Town back in the top six
- Credit: Archant
Ipswich v Blackpool: Ipswich Town are back into the Championship play-off places following a topsy-turvy 3-2 home win over rock-bottom side Blackpool at Portman Road.
The already relegated Tangerines took the lead through Andrea Orlandi’s fourth minute goal, but quickfire strikes by Freddie Sears – a crisp hit and bundled effort in the 24th and 28th minutes respectively – gave the dominant hosts a fully deserved half-time lead.
Blackpool had created nothing but equalised in the 63rd minute when teenager Henry Cameron profited after Town switched off momentarily after a quick free-kick restart.
The frustration inside Portman Road grew as the game went on, the sense of relief then palpable when Christophe Berra headed home what proved to be the winner in the 83rd minute following excellent work by Daryl Murphy.
While all the results on Easter Monday went against Town, everything went their way today – Derby and Brentford drawing in the early kick-off, with Wolves losing 2-1 at Birmingham.
Blues boss Mick McCarthy made three changes to his starting XI following the disappointing 2-1 loss at Huddersfield on Easter Monday. Tyrone Mings – available again following a two-game suspension – replaced Zeki Fryers at left-back, while Teddy Bishop and Freddie Sears returned to the team at the expense of Richard Chaplow and Chris Wood respectively.
Blackpool manager Lee Clark made three enforced changes to his team following their 1-1 home draw with Reading. Keeper Joe Lewis, defender Grant Hall (both injured) and winger Michael Jacobs (recalled by Wolves) were replaced by Elliot Parish, Niall Maher and 17-year-old forward Henry Cameron respectively.
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The Tangerines haven’t won an away game all season, but they took the lead in the fourth minute of this match to leave Portman Road stunned. It came following good work down the left by teenager Cameron, his clever pull-back allowing Orlandi – who had delayed his run – to sweep the ball home.
The crowd may have fallen silent, but Ipswich’s players responded immediately. It required a fine last-ditch tackle by Clarke to prevent Daryl Murphy from bursting clear, then Teddy Bishop curled a shot just wide after wriggling inside from the right.
Parish had to be quick off his line to beat Sears to the ball, then Clarke stuck out a leg just in time to deny Sears latching onto Murphy’s flick-on.
Town’s dominance continued, with Luke Varney, having timed his run to perfection in order to meet Bishop’s corner kick, heading a golden chance wide of the post in the 15th minute.
Moments later, Cole Skuse couldn’t quite pick out Murphy in the box after another good attacking move. Then, in the 20th minute, Blackpool eventually scrambled clear after the ball had pinged around the area.
Varney had to be replaced by Paul Anderson in the 23rd minute after picking up a knock. Within seconds, Town had forced an equaliser. After Tommy Smith launched a free-kick from inside Town’s own half into the Blackpool box, Mings nodded the ball down at the far post and Sears swivelled to fire a crisp left-footed effort into the top corner.
Ipswich, and Sears, had another goal less than four minutes later. There was an element of fortune involved, Luke Chambers’ attempted pass into the area hitting Orlandi and looping kindly into Sears’ path, the alert striker bundling the ball beyond keeper Parish from close-range at the near post.
It was the striker’s 21st goal of the season, the 25-year-old having scored 14 for Colchester and seven for Ipswich.
Town were denied what looked like a nailed on penalty in the 38th minute after Sears’ turn and shot appeared to hit Clarke’s hands, both arms out to his side, inside the area.
And there was still time for one last chance before the half-time whistle, Anderson scuffing a shot just wide of the left post after yet more fine work by marauding left-back Mings. The latter certainly looked like he had benefitted from his enforced Easter break.
Ipswich got straight on the front foot after the restart, Murphy lashing a shot wide of the near post following Anderson’s ball over the top.
There was a heart in mouth moment in the 50th minute though when Berra’s back header, following a long ball down the middle, beat keeper Bartosz Bialkowski and rolled just wide.
Murphy pulled a shot wide of the left post after Sears had done well to hook the ball back into the area from the by-line, then Berra’s goalbound header, following a Tabb corner, was blocked by David Ferguson.
Sears then had three opportunities to secure his hat-trick within the space of two minutes. He shot straight at Parish through a crowded box after Tabb’s mazy run and curled another just over after making himself half a yard of room on the edge of the area. It was the opening in the middle of those two which was the best though, the Town striker doing the hard work by controlling a long ball beautifully and turning inside Clarke only to shoot straight at Parish.
Blackpool had created nothing but found an equaliser in the 63rd minute after a momentary lapse in concentration by the hosts. After Tabb had committed a foul on the halfway line, Orlandi took the free-kick quickly, passing the ball up the line. The alert Gary Madine pulled the ball back and Cameron converted from close-range.
It was a case of two shots, two goals for the visitors. Portman Road, again, fell into a stunned silence.
Ipswich responded positively and Mings lashed over inside the area after controlling Bishop’s cross from the right.
Blackpool soon began to try and run the clock down, Cameron taking his time to leave the field when subbed in the 70th minute, and frustration among the home fans began to grow when Tommy Smith’s long ball when straight off the pitch.
The sense of relief when the Blues scored in the 83rd minute, once again edging in front, was therefore palpable. Murphy did brilliantly to control, turn and cross following Chambers’ long ball forwards, Berra – still up the field following an earlier half-cleared free-kick – heading home emphatically at the far post.
IPSWICH TOWN (4-4-2): Bialkowski; Chambers (cpt), Smith, Berra, Mings (Parr 85); Varney (Anderson 23), Bishop, Skuse, Tabb (Williams 76); Sears, Murphy.
Unused subs: Gerken, S.Hunt, Chaplow, Wood.
BLACKPOOL (4-5-1): Parish; Maher, Clarke (cpt), O’Dea (Ferguson 32), Dunne; Orlandi, Cubero (Delfouneso 86), Perkins, O’Hara, Cameron (Osayi-Samuel 70); Madine.
Unused subs: Boney, Oliver, Barkhuizen, Telford.
Attendance: 19,290 (175 away)
Referee: James Linington