Town enjoy a goal rush

SIT back, enjoy, and take a long satisfying look at Ipswich Town's position in the Division One table.Hard to believe a month ago they were rock bottom after defeat at West Bromwich.

SIT back, enjoy, and take a long satisfying look at Ipswich Town's position in the Division One table.

Hard to believe a month ago they were rock bottom after defeat at West Bromwich.

Today they are a win away from a top-six place, providing other results go their way, and this victory will go a long way in reviving play- off hopes.

Accused of not taking their chances, the Blues attack went nap before half time, with Pablo Counago snatching the opening two, midfield duo Jermaine Wright and Chris Bart-Williams one each and an own goal from an Alan Mahon corner, to leave them sitting comfortably.


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Mind you sitting on a deckchair smoking cigars can be dangerous when there is still work to be done.

Metaphorically that is what Town did in the second half, allowing Burnley to go to them, score and create more chances than they should have been allowed to.

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However, being five up allows you a certain leeway and relaxation and they will not play such a weakened side too often this season.

And Shefki Kuqi wrapped things up in the last minute with a delicious finish.

Town were unchanged for the third game running and the consistency of a settled side showed. French defender Georges Santos was the only doubt as he has been struggling with a groin strain but he lasted until the 76th minute before giving way to debut-making Gerard Nash.

In contrast, with Burnley suffering from more than their fair share of sneezes and strains, they were only able to have four instead of five on the bench with Luke Chadwick dragging himself off his sick bed to make up the numbers.

Clarets' boss Stan Ternent was threadbare throughout and his makeshift defence could not cope with Counago.

David May was suspended and Andy Todd recalled by Blackburn so skipper Graham Branch and Lee Roche stood in as centre halves and struggled.

Counago was the first to exploit their weakness by showing good strength to hold off Roche as he pounced on a slick Mahon pass before drilling in a low shot from eight yards after 20 minutes.

The Spaniard snatched a second two minutes later as he finished off a wonderful movement by Town which included first-time passing from Kuqi, Magilton and Mahon, before Counago curled in left-footed.

Town's third had been netted by Wright after Brian Jensen failed to hold a wicked Mahon drive and Fabian Wilnis, at the third attempt, lofted over a deep cross which Wright waited to drop before volleying in from 16 yards.

Charlton loanee Bart-Williams made it four when he played a one-two with Jim Magilton, but even as the ball looked to be behind him he managed to get in a left-foot shot from the edge of the area and beat a static Burnley defence.

And woeful Burnley's night got worse when teenager Richard Chaplow back-headed a Mahon corner into his own net.

The Irish winger had a shot tipped over the bar by Jensen from 20-yards and skipper Magilton rattled the woodwork with a free kick from virtually the same spot.

But Kuqi rounded off a good night with a superbly-taken sixth goal after cutting inside and slamming the ball in with a left-footed angled shot from 12 yards.

Town's defensive frailties were still exposed at times as plucky Burnley sought some comfort.

Even before Delroy Facey tapped in a low cross by Chaplow four minutes after the break, Town had looked vulnerable.

Paul Weller might have done better at the far post from a corner but scooped his close-range shot wide.

Robbie Blake, who looked a class act, was always dangerous and forced Kelvin Davis into making a couple of saves and dragged a free-kick wide.

Ian Moore, whose dad Ronnie left Portman Road empty handed 10 days ago as manager of Rotherham, had a couple of close efforts.

Perhaps cash-strapped Burnley will look at their pre-match preparation after training in Burnley yesterday morning and then setting off on the 270-mile journey to arrive late afternoon.

Meanwhile, Ipswich are doing extremely well on their journey from the bottom of the table a month ago to seventh place today.

derek.davis@eadt.co.uk

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