Town lift millstone with vital win
Ipswich Town 2 QPR 1THERE is a scene in The Godfather II when Frankie Pentangeli is about to give evidence at a Senate hearing against the Corleone family when a man, who turns out to be his brother Vincenzo, walks in.
By Derek Davis
Ipswich Town 2 QPR 1
THERE is a scene in The Godfather II when Frankie Pentangeli is about to give evidence at a Senate hearing against the Corleone family when a man, who turns out to be his brother Vincenzo, walks in.
Vincenzo says nothing, just sits down but Frankie then refuses to testify and claims the FBI's story is all lies.
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Francis Jeffers arrived at Portman Road late on Friday, didn't say much and sat on the bench at the start of the Blues' must-win game against QPR.
After going more than nine hours without scoring, Alan Lee duly ended Ipswich's goal drought and Jon Walters broke his duck.
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It would have been more dramatic if Jeffers had then just quietly left the ground and returned home - but this is Portman Road and not Hollywood.
Perhaps the one-time England international's very presence was coincidental but the millstone around Ipswich's neck, after failing to win in or score in six games, was lifted and the feeling of relief was tangible.
The three points pushes Ipswich that little closer to safety and, with Hull City and Southend to come this week, they have every chance of making the gap between them and the bottom three even wider.
Perhaps the confidence gleaned from the win, and scoring twice, will give Ipswich the lift they need to find their form.
While Championship football is all but guaranteed next season, unless they slump to another poor run, Ipswich know they have much improvement to make.
Meeting QPR was probably the best thing that could happen at this time because John Gregory's side were woeful.
Even so, they started with murderous intent and, by the death, could even have secured a draw after going to a more adventurous attack with Paul Furlong scoring.
They might even have had a penalty when David Wright manhandled Furlong in the area but that would have been an injustice.
Town survived an early flurry of corners and near misses, with an appeal for handball after a Gareth Ainsworth shot struck Wright's hands, and then they slowly imposed their own game on Rangers.
Gary Roberts showed the sort of form that earned him plaudits, and a contract, after originally coming in on loan from Accrington Stanley and only a brilliant save from Lee Camp denied Walters, who headed on a free-kick from the winger.
Moments later Roberts was allowed time and space by the woefully inadequate on-loan Chelsea defender Michael Mancienne to deliver a cross for Lee, who powered in a header from 10 yards.
The Irishman was the last player to score for the Blues, a penalty against Swansea in the FA Cup, a gap of 592 footballing minutes between strikes, so his joy was understandable.
Walters had shown his quality before finally getting off the mark with a goal down to his determination as much as ability. He had to wriggle past Danny Cullip and hold off team-mate Lee before getting on the end of a Roberts' through ball to tuck past Camp, his first goal for Ipswich since signing from Chester in January
You could see the confidence surge back into Roberts, highlighted by an impish back heel that freed Dan Harding, who crossed for Lee and Camp pulled off an excellent tip-over save. Camp also did well to push away a downward Jason De Vos header and to turn away from Jeffers.
Rangers have picked up just one point from a possible 27 on their travels and that has seen them slip into the bottom three and they look a side destined for the drop.
Manager Gregory responded to the QPR supporters' chant of 'We won't win with one up front' by sending on Furlong and he repaid the move by turning in the rebound after a Martin Rowlands' drive cannoned back off a post.
Although Ipswich bossed the midfield for the most part, with Owen Garvan in particular dominating - he even wowed the crowd with a Zidane-style turn to set up another attack - they didn't always look in control and Lewis Price was called upon a couple of times to deny Rowlands and Furlong.
In the end it was job done, not particularly convincing, but it was enough to get past a poor side and manager Jim Magilton will be left pondering how to pull off another Michael Corleone-type masterstroke.