REPORT & MOTM POLL: Ipswich Town 2 Brighton & Hove Albion 0
- Credit: Picture: Steve Waller
Ipswich v Brighton: Ipswich Town recorded their second 2-0 home win in four days to move up to ninth in the Championship table.
Having played some neat stuff throughout, the Blues finally found a breakthrough in the 79th minute when right-back Jonathan Parr was on hand to gobble up a rebound.
Daryl Murphy then capped things off with a wonderful strike two minutes from time, firing across former Blues loanee David Stockdale first time on the angle with excellent technique.
Left-back Tyrone Mings was once again the driving force behind the win, producing relentless forward runs for the second time in four days. He had a big hand in both late goals and was shown just why the club rejected a £2.5m bid for him from Crystal Palace on transfer deadline day.
Blues keeper Dean Gerken was also in top form, producing crucial stops either side of the break as Brighton threatened to punish Town’s inability to turn their good play into shots on target.
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Just like last season, Town have got their campaign up-and-running with back-to-back home wins following a slow start which has consisted of fixtures against many of the pre-season promotion favourites.
Mick McCarthy, unsurprisingly, named an unchanged starting XI and bench following Saturday’s 2-0 home win over Millwall.
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Brighton boss Sami Hyypia, by contrast, made five changes to his team following a 3-2 defeat at Brentford. The former Liverpool centre-back is clearly still searching for his best team having started 21 different players in the opening six matches of the campaign. To put that into context, Ipswich started just three more than that for the whole of last season.
Following a slow start to the match, in which both teams gave away possession cheaply, things began to warm up around the 15 minute mark.
The Blues enjoyed a purple patch, sparked by Paul Anderson’s excellent deep free-kick delivery which was headed behind. The subsequent corner was scrambled clear and the hosts grew in confidence.
A minute later, Teddy Bishop’s sumptuous crossfield pass drew ohhs and ahhs from an appreciative Portman Road crowd. The advanced Mings swung in an excellent cross and Anderson guided a difficult far post header back across goal and beyond the post.
Town were building some momentum and, moments later, Jay Tabb slipped a reverse pass into the path of the overlapping Mings. In a virtual carbon copy of the aforementioned move, the rampaging left-back delivered a fine ball and Anderson, who did well to adjust, put another difficult header wide.
Brighton had offered little going forwards, but they gave the Blues a wake-up call in the 22nd minute. Luke Chambers produced a fine block on Kazenga LuaLua, the ball breaking kindly to Danny Holla whose shot from the edge of the box, skipping off the slick surface, was well held by Gerken.
Ipswich responded, with McGoldrick playing as well as he has done since returning from that long-term knee injury. Last season’s top-scorer was dropping deep into some good positions and produced one exquisite touch, killing a high ball stone dead.
The striker slipped a fine through ball into strike partner Murphy just before the half hour mark, the Irishman, always facing a narrow angle, clipping a close range shot inches over the crossbar.
For all Town’s good play they finished the half without a shot on target, McGoldrick curling a free-kick just wide of the near post from the angle of the box.
Before that Brighton again provided a scare in the 32nd minute when Sam Baldock, given far too much time and space on the edge of the box, forced Gerken into a fine save. The Blues keeper did well to not only get down low to the crisp 20-yard effort on the stretch, but also get a strong enough arm on the ball to divert it off target.
Gerken again had to come to Town’s rescue six minutes after the restart. This time he reacted quickly to keep out Lewis Dunk’s header on the goallline with his legs, the centre-back having risen highest to meet Holla’s corner inside the six yard box.
Ipswich once again responded and the noise levels inside Portman Road were turned up a notch following big penalty shouts in the 55th minute. Parr’s shot from 25 yards was closed down by Gordon Greer who, on first sighting, looked like he may have handled the ball just inside the box. Replays showed it was outside the area.
Town’s first attempt on target arrived in the 62nd minute and what an attempt it was. Mings met McGoldrick’s low cross from the right with a casual flick of his left heel, former Blues loanee David Stockdale reacting brilliantly to deny what would have been a wonderfully cheeky goal.
McCarthy shuffled his pack with 20 minutes to go, bringing on Alex Henshall and Luke Hyam for Anderson and Bishop. The latter had been far quieter than his first two impressive starts for the club, fading following a bright start.
Mings was one player who certainly did not fade. Time and time again he got forward from left-back, just as he had done against Millwall, and he saw a right-footed effort well held down low at near post by Stockdale in the 73rd minute.
And it was Mings who played a huge role when Town finally found a breakthrough in the 79th minute. Sub Henshall drove forwards down the left, he found Mings on the overlap, the left-back provided a low cross and, after Tabb’s shot was saved by Stockdale, right-back Parr reacted like a centre-forward to gobble up the rebound.
The icing on the cake arrived in the 88th minute. Mings again was involved, playing a long ball over the top, with Murphy – who had been quiet up until then – racing onto the bouncing ball and hitting a fine first-time shot across Stockale on the angle.