|Ipswich Town 1 v 0 Blackpool|
Saturday, 16th February 2013 Kick-off 15:00
Town 1-0 Blackpool
Saturday, 16th Feb 2013 17:03
Sub Michael Chopra netted the only goal of the game shortly after the break to see the Blues to an important 1-0 victory over Blackpool at Portman Road. The 29-year-old was sent through by Guirane N’Daw in the 50th minute and confidently took his chance.
Anthony Wordsworth made his full Town debut at left midfield with Daryl Murphy moving up front and Aaron Mclean dropping to the bench.
The Blues, with Scott Loach (sprained thumb) and Lee Martin (hamstring) still absent, were otherwise unchanged from last week’s 1-0 defeat at Blackburn.
Blackpool named Tom Ince, son of prospective new manager Paul, on the bench as he spent yesterday at a UEFA hearing in Switzerland.
Carlos Edwards scraped an early shot well wide for the Blues, but the game’s first significant chance fell to the away side. Matt Phillips crossed from the right and Tiago Gomes was let down by a heavy touch and Luke Chambers cleared.
There was another scare for Town on seven when Phillips again crossed from the right and Chambers put the ball behind ahead of Matt Derbyshire. From the resultant corner, Murphy completely missed his clearance and Chris Basham behind him lashed wildly over.
Derbyshire had another opportunity to threaten in the ninth minute when Angel Martinez sent him away but his first touch let him down and Chambers got back to challenge.
The visitors had been much the more dangerous side in the opening spell but on 11 McGoldrick’s shot was deflected wide after Murphy had nodded down Carlos Edwards’s cross. From the corner, Wordsworth’s low ball was turned goalwards by Murphy, Seasiders’ keeper Matt Gilks doing well to bat it away.
Town had got on top and in the 17th minute Edwards found McGoldrick in a dangerous position inside the area, the striker taking a touch away from a defender but shooting wide.
The Blues threatened again a minute later when Wordsworth, McGoldrick and Murphy exchanged first time passes in the area, the Irishman eventually volleying over.
Town continued to have the better of it and on 25 Guirane N’Daw found McGoldrick in a dangerous position inside the box but the striker’s first touch let him down and, after a clever turn, his strike eventually scuffed through to Gilks.
Hyam turned an Aaron Cresswell cross wide at the near post a minute later, the midfielder having started the move in the first place when he dispossessed Basham.
Despite the Blues having been on top, Blackpool went close to going in front in the 28th minute. Basham played through Gomes, who beat Stephen Henderson but his shot struck the outside of the keeper’s left post. Henderson tipped over Alex Baptiste’s subsequent cross from the left.
As the game moved towards the half hour mark Wordsworth underwent treatment after falling awkwardly on his back when challenging with Gilks in the air. The Seasiders had been fortunate that the loose ball hadn’t fall to a Town player with the keeper grounded.
On 34 the ex-Colchester man was forced off by his injury, Michael Chopra taking over and moving up front with Murphy, one of Town’s best performers up to then, moving to the wide left role.
Town’s forced change seemed to hand the impetus back to Blackpool and in the 41st minute Derbyshire headed Gomes’s corner from the right wide.
Blackpool went close again a minute before the end of first half normal time. Derbyshire fed in Baptiste down the right and his cross ran across the Blues’ six-yard box and out for a corner, apparently having taken a touch off Murphy as he slid in.
The visitors continued to press Town back in injury time, winning a number of corners, while after a Blues break McGoldrick teed up Murphy for a low shot from the left which Gilks saved down to his left.
Both sides had had spells on top in what had been a close half, typical of the Championship. The visitors, who came closest to scoring when Gomes struck the post, were in charge early on but the Blues gradually got themselves on top and had created enough opportunities to have put themselves in front.
Wordsworth’s injury seemed to disrupt Town and it was the Lancastrians who ended the half the stronger.
Former Blues loanee Reece Wabara replaced Kirk Broadfoot for the Tangerines four minutes after the break.
A minute later, Town went in front. N’Daw sent sub Chopra away behind Baptiste and the striker superbly took the ball into the area before hitting a left-foot shot across Gilks and into the net for his fifth goal of the season.
McGoldrick curled a cross into Gilks’s arms soon after the goal but chances became rare at either end as the match moved towards the hour.
On 63 Blackpool replaced Gomes with Tom Ince, whose father Paul, who is set to be named Blackpool’s new manager on Monday, was watching from the directors’ box.
McGoldrick was unlucky to slip when played through by N’Daw in the 65th minute, the on-loan Nottingham Forest man making way for Frank Nouble four minutes later.
Chopra almost profited from a mix-up between Cathcart and Gilks in the 73rd minute, Nouble stabbing the ball off the keeper, who managed to grab it ahead of the Town scorer. Five minutes later, N’Daw picked up the game’s first booking for a foul on Basham.
The visitors almost equalised in the 79th minute when Baptiste headed a Phillips corner goalwards but Nouble blocked it on the line. Town broke quickly after Ince had missed his kick on the edge of the area but Chopra was challenged just as it appeared he was in the clear.
Town were very much on the backfoot at this stage but with Henderson not yet particularly tested. Blackpool were committing more and more men forward and were looking vulnerable on the break.
Murphy headed Edwards’s freekick over after Chopra had been fouled by Stephen Crainey on the Town right. Soon after, Nouble dispossessed Baptiste in a dangerous position midway inside the Seasiders’ half and appeared to be tripped, however, referee Robert Madley waved away his protests.
Despite the visitors continuing to have most of the ball and a number of freekicks and corners in the closing stages, Henderson wasn’t overly employed, aside from claiming crosses, which he managed comfortably.
A vital three points for the Blues, gained in the second half in the type of scrappy, battling manner which manager Mick McCarthy outlined on Friday.
Town had one clear-cut chance in the second half and Chopra, whose off-field antics have created more headlines than his football recently, showed that there are few finishers better than him at this level when the opportunity came.
Once ahead, the Blues ground out the victory with Baptiste’s header off the line Blackpool’s only significant chance.
The win moves Town up to 18th in the table, four points from the relegation places with a tough-looking home game against Watford on Tuesday.
Town: Henderson, Stearman, Chambers, Smith, Cresswell, Edwards, Hyam, N'Daw, Wordsworth (Chopra 34), Murphy, McGoldrick (Nouble 69). Subs: Lee-Barrett, Hewitt, Kisnorbo, Drury, Mclean.
Blackpool: Gilks, Baptiste, Cathcart, Broadfoot (Wabara 49), Crainey, Basham, Angel, Gomes (Ince 63), Taylor-Fletcher (Delfouneso 71), M Phillips, Derbyshire. Subs: Subs: Halstead, Ferguson, Osbourne, Eccleston. Referee: Robert Madley (West Yorkshire). Att: 16,673 (Blackpool: 394)
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