|Ipswich Town 3 v 0 Millwall|
Saturday, 8th December 2012 Kick-off 15:00
Town 3-0 Millwall
Saturday, 8th Dec 2012 17:20
DJ Campbell scored twice and Daryl Murphy once as Town beat Millwall 3-0 at Portman Road to halt the Lions’ unbeaten run at 13 games. The Blues, who have now won three in a row themselves, went in front in the first half when Campbell converted Aaron Cresswell’s cross, then after the break Murphy netted the second and Campbell added the third from the penalty spot.
Boss Mick McCarthy made one change against his old club, Murphy coming into the side up front for Tyrone Barnett, who dropped to the bench.
For Millwall, who were wearing a rather garish orange kit, ex-Blue Liam Trotter and one-time Town target James Henry returned after injury.
The Blues started brightly and Murphy escaped in behind Danny Shittu in the opening minute but screwed his cross onto the roof of the net.
Moments later, Guirane N’Daw played a ball over the top for the Irishman but Adam Smith dispossessed him before he could get in a shot. Millwall’s first serious attack ended with Shane Lowry feeding Chris Wood, who put the ball in the net, however, the on-loan West Brom man had strayed offside.
But the Blues were continuing to look the more threatening side and on seven Lee Martin did well to regain possession on the left after initially losing it, then sent in a cross which Murphy was unable to direct goalwards.
Tommy Smith might have put Town in front in the 10th minute, heading Aaron Cresswell’s freekick from midway inside the Millwall half on the left over the bar.
Smith was in action at the other end a minute later, heading Andy Keogh’s cross from the right over in front of Smith.
Town should have been in front in the 14th minute when Campbell and Martin exchanged passes and the Manchester United man sent Murphy away on goal. The striker struck a shot from the left of the area which Millwall keeper David Forde blocked.
The Lions went straight up the other end and might have scored themselves. Shane Lowry crossed from the left and striker Andy Keogh, who had a trial with the Town academy as a youngster, headed to Stephen Henderson’s right, the keeper doing well to get across to push it away.
The visitors were beginning to get on top and Cresswell was forced to make an important interception on Wood inside the area.
Millwall should have been in front in the 17th minute when Henry whipped across a freekick, from the right, Lowry flicked it on at the near post and Wood diverted it over when he ought to have scored. It was a lucky escape for the Blues.
Town came back into it again, although without overly threatening Forde, but just after the half hour the visitors had two chances to go in front in quick succession but on both occasions were thwarted by Henderson.
First, Trotter was given space to hit a powerful strike from the edge of the box which the Blues keeper pushed well away from goal. However, it fell for Keogh, who teed up Henry on the edge of the box, the ex-Reading man hitting a low strike across Henderson, which the Irishman did well to push around his right post.
Late replacement referee David Coote got his cards out for the first time in the 33rd minute when Wood fouled Martin down the Blues left. Soon after, Murphy shot over on the turn.
Millwall had had the better chances in the second half a lively first period, but in the 37th minute the Blues went in front.
Murphy held the ball, then found Martin, who in turn moved it on to Cresswell breaking into space on the left. The full-back sent in an inch-perfect low cross, which Campbell diverted past Forde from five yards for his seventh goal in 12 games.
There were no further chances at either end before the break and the Blues were applauded off at the whistle.
It had been an entertaining half in which Town might have gone ahead via Murphy’s early chances and Smith’s header, before Millwall had a number of opportunities, Wood missing when he should have scored and Henderson making three fine saves.
Either side could have been ahead but the Blues’ goal was well-worked and deftly taken, Campbell breaking his run of scoring in every other game by netting in successive matches for Town for the first time.
Town’s second goal came four minutes after the break. Orr played a ball forward for Campbell, breaking into the right of the area, which Shittu ought to have dealt with. However, the former QPR man allowed the Town striker to get in behind him and cut the ball back to Murphy, who slammed into the roof of the net for his fourth goal of the season.
Millwall looked to hit straight back, Wood hitting a freekick from the edge of the box which was blocked, then Jimmy Abdou lashed over.
Martin forced Forde to push away his curling freekick from the left in the 52nd minute with the Blues looking more likely to add to their lead than Millwall to pull a goal back.
On 62 Cresswell’s cross from the left deflected to Campbell 10 yards out, the Blues’ striker turning the ball just wide.
But the on-loan QPR man didn’t have to wait too long for his eighth goal of the season, referee Coote awarding the Blues their fourth penalty in four games.
Murphy took the ball past Lowry inside the area on Town right and Lowry clearly handled it as he lost his footing. The Irish striker subsequently put the ball in the net but the referee had already pointed to the spot. Campbell stepped up and slammed the ball to Forde’s right just inside the post.
Martin was booked foul on Mark Beevers soon after the goal with the Blues well on top and the game looking won.
As the match reached the 70-minute mark Town passing was being cheered in a manner not heard in a while at Portman Road. N’Daw showed that his game is far from all about his physicality, superbly using the inside of his left heel to divert a dropping ball to a team-mate behind him.
The Lions were looking well beaten by now, Henry’s 73rd minute freekick over the closest they’d come to a goal. At the other end, Smith diverted a cross to Campbell inside the area after a corner but the two-goal striker was unable to get the ball under control when well-placed and onside.
Beevers may have been fortunate to see a yellow rather than a red card in the 81st minute when he tripped Campbell midway inside the Millwall half with the striker bearing down on goal after being found by the excellent N’Daw. Beevers may have been saved by the distance Campbell still had to cover. Town wasted the freekick.
Town switched strikers Campbell and Murphy for Michael Chopra and Tyrone Barnett with six minutes to go, the duo receiving a warm ovation from their supporters as they left the field.
With two minutes remaining McCarthy handed summer signing Elliott Hewitt his Blues debut at right-back, the Wales U21 international having spent the first half of the season recuperating after two hip impingement operations.
Martin almost made it 4-0 moments before the end of the scheduled 90 minutes. N’Daw played a ball over the top and the midfielder lobbed the advancing Forde, but somehow Shittu got back to slide in and put the ball the wrong side of the post.
Edwards sent in a right-wing cross as the game entered injury time, Barnett forcing Forde to save well with his header. Soon after, Hewitt got into the action, whipping over a dangerous ball, which Chopra got a touch to ahead of Barnett but failed to direct goalwards.
Not long after, referee Coote blew his final whistle to cheers from the home fans after Town’s best afternoon at home this season.
After a first half which could have gone either way, the early second half goal all but killed the game off with the Blues on top and playing some of their best football of the season. In the end they could have won even more comfortably with Martin unlucky towards the end.
Mick McCarthy shook hands with all his players as they left the field, as well he might, his team having picked up a remarkable 16 points out of 24 since he took over as boss at the beginning of last month.
Town: Henderson, Orr (Hewitt 88), Chambers, Smith, Cresswell, Edwards, N'Daw, Drury, Martin, Murphy (Barnett 84), Campbell (Chopra 84). Unused: Loach, Higginbotham, Carson, Emmanuel-Thomas.
Millwall: Forde, A Smith, Shittu, Beevers, Lowry, Henry, Abdou (N'Guessan 56), Trotter, C Taylor (Wright 56), Keogh, Wood. Unused: J Smith, Osborne, Malone, Feeney. Referee: David Coote (Nottingham). Att: 17,380 (Millwall: 1,109).
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