Report & MOTM poll: Ipswich Town 3 Charlton Athletic 0 – Smith, Murphy and McGoldrick on target

Ipswich FC V Charlton Athletic.
Sky Bet Championship.
Daryl Murphy scores for Town taking the scor

Ipswich FC V Charlton Athletic. Sky Bet Championship. Daryl Murphy scores for Town taking the score to 2-0. - Credit: Archant

Ipswich v Charlton: Ipswich Town maintained their grip on second-spot in the Championship table with an assured 3-0 home win over Charlton Athletic tonight.

The Blues – who have now won nine of their 12 league matches at Portman Road this season – broke the deadlock through Tommy Smith’s 31st minute poacher’s finish, with free-scoring striker Daryl Murphy netting his 17th of the campaign just before the hour mark.

David McGoldrick, who had hit both posts and the crossbar in three different incidents, finally got the goal his man-of-the-match display deserved when he clipped the ball over keeper Neil Etheridge in the final minute.

The PA system may have been out of action, but fortress Portman Road was rocking at the end. This was the biggest crowd – 26,157 – seen at the Suffolk ground in almost four years, surpassing the number who attended the East Anglian derby back in August.

Talking of Norwich, the seventh-placed Canaries are now 10 points behind Mick McCarthy’s men in the standings. The Blues, unbeaten in 11 matches, move back to within a point of league-leaders Bournemouth and remain two ahead of third-place Derby following the latter’s 2-0 home win over Leeds tonight.

Blues boss McCarthy stuck with the same starting XI for the third game in a row, meaning the fit-again Tyrone Mings – who had missed the Middlesbrough and Brentford wins with an infected toe – had to make do with a place on the bench as Jonathan Parr retained his spot at left-back.

Charlton boss Bob Peeters made initially made two changes to his team following their 1-1 draw with Cardiff on Boxing Day – Oguchi Onyewu replacing Jospeh Gomez at left-back and Igor Vetokele coming in for the suspended Callum Harriott up front. Onyewu ended up suffering an injury in the warm-up though and Gomez kept his place after all.

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Having scored after just 18 seconds in their 4-2 Boxing day win at Brentford, Town were unusually slow out of the blocks. It was Charlton who created the first chance, Jordan Cousins stabbing the ball into the side-netting at the far post after Johann Gudmundsson’s cross from the right had flashed across the six-yard box.

It took the Blues some time to find their rhythm, but when Smith’s looping header – from a Paul Anderson corner – was plucked out of the air by Etheridge you began to sense they were about to step up a gear.

Daryl Murphy had a shot from range deflected wide by defender Chris Solly, following an incisive Teddy Bishop pass, and gradually the home side began to dictate possession.

McGoldrick struck the post for the first time in the ninth minute. Following a clumsy foul by Andre Bikey on Murphy, the Blues front man, positioned out towards the right of the box, curled an effort around the right side of the wall. With keeper Etheridge rooted to the spot, the ball clipped the inside of the upright and was scrambled clear.

Charlton settled down after that and, during a cagey period in the match, they looked a threat on the counter-attack. Gudmundsson curled one effort just past the far post, albeit Bartosz Bialkowski having the attempt well-covered.

Ipswich slowly found their feet again and it was from their ninth corner of the match that they broke the deadlock in the 31st minute. One corner delivery, from Anderson on the right, was hacked clear by Tal Ben Haim just as Christophe Berra was stopping to nod home at the far post. The next one, delivered from the left by Jay Tabb, was helped on by the head of Luke Chambers, Murphy mis-cued his shot, with Smith reacting quickest to stab the ball into the roof of the net from close-range.

It was the centre-back’s fourth goal of the season, his third in eight games and 13th of the McCarthy era.

The visitors reacted well to the set-back though and came close to an equaliser five minutes later, Berra quick to race back and head Gudmundsson’s looping effort off the line after Bialkowski had blocked at the feet of George Tucudean om the edge of the area.

McGoldrick the hit the post again, this time the left one, from another fine free-kick attempt in first half stoppage-time. Positioned on the left side of the goal, his low curling effort was caressed around the wall and hit the base of the upright, bouncing back, hitting diving keeper Erheridge on the back and going off for a corner.

The Addicks started the second half with intent, Gudmundsson’s long-range strike well held by Bialkowski soon after the restart.

McGoldrick was booked for a rash slide tackle in the 52nd minute and, moments later, Charlton came close to an equaliser when Johnnie Jackson rose highest to plant a firm header just over the bar following George Tucudean’s cross from the right.

It was Ipswich who scored the game’s crucial second goal though, extending their advantage after McGoldrick hit the woodwork for the third time in the match. When the home side’s 14th corner of the game was half-cleared, Anderson’s shot through the crowd took a deflection up in the air, McGoldrick stooped to head against the bar, leaving Murphy with the simple task of nodding in his 17th goal of the season from close-range.

Four minutes later, McGoldrick missed a golden opportunity to get on the scoresheet himself when he bent the ball over from just inside the area, having been sent racing into the area by Tabb’s clever pass.

The livewire front man was not to be denied though, his fully-deserved goal coming in the final minute. After Murphy helped the ball into the area, McGoldrick evaded Bikey and clipped a shot over the on-rushing Ertheridge, the ball trickling over the line in front of a jubilant Sir Bobby Robson Stand. It was his first from open play since the 2-0 win at Blackpool on November 1.

And there could have been more goals in stoppage-time, McGoldrick’s one-on-one attempt saved by Etheridge and Kevin Bru’s drive blocked before Noel Hunt’s header from a corner went just wide.

IPSWICH TOWN (4-1-2-1-2): Bialkowski; Chambers (cpt), Berra, Smith, Parr; Skuse; Anderson (S.Hunt 70), Tabb; Bishop (Bru 84); Murphy, McGoldrick (N.Hunt 90+).

Unused subs: Gerken, Mings, Ambrose, Sammon.

CHARLTON ATHLETIC (4-4-2): Etheridge; Solly, Bikey, Ben Haim, Onyewu; Gudmundsson, Buyens, Jackson (cpt)(Bulot 70), Cousins; Tucudean, Vetokele.

Unused subs: Pope, Wilson, Gomez, Fox, Pigott, Ahearne-Grant.

Attendance: 26,157 (1,023 away).

Referee: Christopher Kavanagh.

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