Southend United 1-3 Ipswich Town: Norwood and Jackson on target as Blues return to winning ways and reclaim top spot
Ipswich Town got back to winning ways at Roots Hall this afternoon with a 3-1 victory over Southend.
James Norwood scored a brace, ending a run of six games without a goal, before Kayden Jackson added the third to move both Town strikers onto seven goals for the season.
Emile Acquah did manage to grab a consolation for the Shrimpers, but the game was already beyond the home side.
The scoreline perhaps doesn't tell the true story of this game, with Paul Lambert's side not having to play to their full ability to secure the win, against a side who conceded seven last time out.
But they did enough and, in truth, had Southend at arms length throughout, meaning Sol Campbell and Hermann Hreidarsson suffered defeat in their first game in charge of the Shrimpers.
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The victory takes the Blues back to the top of League One, with a game in hand on the three sides immediately below them, and ends a week including 2-0 losses to Accrington and Rotherham on a positive note.
Lambert made five changes to his side for the visit to Roots Hall, with Luke Woolfenden, Flynn Downes, Gwion Edwards and James Norwood all coming into the side.
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The biggest surprise, though, was Lambert's decision to drop ever-present goalkeeper Tomas Holy in order to hand a league debut to Will Norris between the sticks.
And the Wolves loanee had to pick the ball out of his net after just four minutes, when Rob Kiernan's header bounced into the corner of the goal, although there was a reprieve for the Blues as the assistant referee raised his flag for offside.
There was nothing wrong with Norwood's effort just a few minutes later, as the striker's clever, poked, finish beat Mark Oxley following two good 50/50 wins in midfield and a neat pass from strike partner Kayden Jackson.
The Blues were ahead and looking relatively comfortable.
It could perhaps have been two when Oxley came flying off his line to come an meet a ball being contested Norwood, with the goalkeeper's clearance sitting up nicely for Rowe before he could only push the ball wide from 40-yards.
Rowe had another effort saved before Cole Skuse hobbled off and was replaced by Jon Nolan who, within minutes of coming on, fired in a low shot which Oxley spilled at the feet of Jackson. Sadly the striker couldn't gobble up the rebound.
There was one more big chance before the half-time whistle sounded, with Luke Garbutt's deep corner causing trouble on the box as Norwood headed it back across goal and into danger. Skipper Luke Chambers came flying in but couldn't quite direct his header on target.
There was little between the two sides at the start of the second period, in a game littered with blasts of the referee's whistle, before Vincent-Young was replaced after appearing to tweak a pre-existing groin problem.
Ipswich's class showed through for their second though as, after neat build-up play, Jackson was able to pull the ball back expertly for Norwood, who opened his body to finish well, back across goal.
The game was up after the second, with the third proving to be the icing on the cake as Nolan's shot was pushed away by Oxley, only into the path of Jackson who made no mistake from the edge of the six-yard box.
There was time for Acquah to pull a goal back as he tapped home a deep cross which caused trouble in the Ipswich box, but the job was already done as the Blues left with three points.
Southend United: Oxley; Bwomono, Shaughnessy, Kiernan, Ralph, Dieng, Milligan Demetriou 84), Humphreys, Hutchinson; Cox, Hopper (Acquah 71)
Subs: Bishop, Hyam, Goodship, Taylor, Rush
Ipswich Town: Norris; Vincent-Young (Wilson, 59), Chambers, Woolfenden, Garbutt; Skuse (Nolan, 28), Downes, Rowe (Judge 68), Edwards; Jackson, Norwood
Subs: Holy, Huws, Judge, Georgiou, Keane
Att: 8,632 (2,450)