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Ipswich Town (0) 2 - 0 (0) Blackburn Rovers

Sky Bet Championship 2015-16

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Referee: Iain Williamson

Manager: Mick McCarthy

Portman Road 19:45

Attendance: 16,488 (Away 214)

Manager: Paul Lambert

Match Number: 3651

Goals

Home
 Daryl Murphy (67)
 Daryl Murphy (87)
Away
 

Substitutions

Away
Corry EvansDarragh Lenihan (46)
Matt GrimesJordi Gomez (75)
Simeon JacksonTony Watt (75)

Cards

Home
 Luke Hyam (63)
 Jonathan Douglas (77)
Away
 Corry Evans (29)

Teams

Away

Jason Steele

Adam Henley

Shane Duffy

Grant Hanley

Tommy Spurr

Corry Evans

Hope Akpan

Matt Grimes

Elliott Bennett

Chris Brown

Simeon Jackson

Substitutes

Away

David RayaMartin

Tony Watt

Ben Marshall

Jordi Gomez

Darragh Lenihan

Craig Conway

Elliott Ward

Match Report

Daryl Murphy double boosts Tractor Boys' play-off hopes

This was certainly a 'badge of honour' kind of night for the die-hards amongst the Blackburn support.

A hardy 214 of them made a 500-mile midweek journey to watch their underachieving and underwhelming team and paid an extortionate £32.50 admission price for the privilege.

And to complete the misery, this stout travelling band then returned to Lancashire empty-handed as birthday boy Daryl Murphy's second-half double moved Ipswich Town to within a point of the Championship play-off places.

Having been matched for the bulk of the match by a Rovers team who showed no signs of weariness despite a punishing schedule of 10 matches in 31 days, it took the eagle-eyed intervention of referee Iain Williamson to swing it in Ipswich's favour.

Luke Chambers was fouled off the ball at a corner, Williamson pointed to the spot and Murphy swept it into the bottom corner beyond the dive of Jason Steele, who'd guessed correctly but couldn't quite reach far enough.

And when Murphy, who was celebrating his 33rd birthday, collected the ball in the right-hand channel with three minutes to play, he cut inside and fired left-footed into the bottom corner.

The Portman Road serenaded the Irishman with a rendition of 'Happy Birthday' afterwards.

It extended Blackburn's winless sequence on the road in the Championship to eight matches, meaning they are still glancing over their shoulder at the relegation candidates.

But for Mick McCarthy's Ipswich, now a point off Sheffield Wednesday in sixth, the play-offs are a distinct possibility, even if memories of losing to bitter rivals Norwich last year remain sore.

The feared fatigue mentioned by Paul Lambert wasn't in evidence as Rovers were bright and purposeful coming out of the blocks and shaded the opening half.

Matt Grimes swung in a teasing cross from the right early on that Simeon Jackson flicked on, forcing Ipswich goalkeeper Bartosz Bialkowski to turn the ball around the post.

And the giant Polish keeper made an even better reaction save to shovel Elliott Bennett's free-kick away to safety after Shane Duffy had made a valiant full-length effort to get onto it.

There were chances too for Hope Akpan, who skewed over from the periphery of the penalty box, and Grimes, who again forced Bialkowski to get his shorts muddy with a long-range strike.

Murphy did twice force Rovers stopper Jason Steele into action before half-time.

He was the leading goalscorer in the Championship last season, smashing in 27, but this campaign hasn't even approached those heady heights.

The Irishman has just eight to his name so far but can still strike the ball cleanly. A second-minute effort was punched away by Steele, while a point-blank shot following a penalty box scramble was blocked by his own man Freddie Sears. Really he was just warming up.

But there was little question Ipswich had been second-best and jeers greeted the referee's half-time whistle.

There were at least more encouraging signs after the restart, with Murphy holding off Tommy Spurr before flashing a left-foot shot wide.

Blackburn's attacking threat faded as fatigue crept in and once Ipswich scored their penalty there was really no route back. Chris Brown did turn and fire wide but that was as good as it got.

After that, it was Murphy's law that held sway in Suffolk.

Adam Shergold (Mail Online)

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