since 1878

Blackburn Rovers (2) 3 - 2 (1) Ipswich Town

Sky Bet Championship 2014-15

Saturday, May 2, 2015

Referee: Graham Scott

Manager: Gary Bowyer

Ewood Park 12:15

Attendance: 16,469

Manager: Mick McCarthy

Match Number: 3607


 Jordan Rhodes (36)
 Craig Conway (41)
 Rudy Gestede (57)
 Daryl Murphy (2)
 Daryl Murphy (82)


Rudy GestedeJoshua King (71)
David DunnBen Marshall (75)


 Cole Skuse (38)
 Jay Tabb (42)



David Martin

Adam Henley

Darragh Lenihan

Tommy Spurr

Marcus Olsson

Lee Williamson

David Dunn

Craig Conway

Corry Evans

Jordan Rhodes

Rudy Gestede



Simon Eastwood

Joshua King

Chris Brown

Tom Cairney

Ben Marshall

John OSullivan

Ryan Nyambe

Match Report

Relieved Ipswich in the play-offs despite defeat at Blackburn Rovers

Ipswich can get ready for the mother of all 'Old Farm' derbies after a nerve-jangling afternoon and an eventual sixth place in the table that owed more to their rivals' fallibilities than their own prowess. Mick McCarthy's men were hardly convincing in defeat against a Blackburn side that finished ninth, even with the fillip of a sensational start, but no other team around them could take advantage and Ipswich will now face Norwich at Portman Road on Saturday in the first leg of their semi-final play-off.

Daryl Murphy's cracking opener and the leading scorer's 81st-minute penalty were wrapped around a decent Blackburn performance that will encourage their manager Gary Bowyer for next season, but McCarthy, an old campaigner, takes these things in a philosophical manner.

'We weren't great; I'd like it to have been on our own merits, but it's where you end up on May the 25th,' he said, referring to the Wembley final that will bequeath a fortune upwards of £120m on the winners who make the step up into the Premier League.

McCarthy has suffered play-off disappointment three times, although twice promoted as manager of Sunderland and Wolves. 'It's not great, my play-off record, but they don't count for anything. It's a new game, a new prize at stake.'

Ipswich made a perfect start. Adam Henley was forced into conceding a corner inside a minute, and when Jay Tabb swung over the kick, Murphy, level with the penalty spot, connected perfectly to volley past goalkeeper David Raya for his 26th goal of the campaign.

Luke Chambers had a chance soon after to stretch the lead from another Tabb corner, only to direct his powerful header over the bar, before Freddie Sears skimmed Raya's crossbar with an angled drive.

Blackburn, though, were in no mood to kowtow and accept their fate, not with veteran David Dunn making an emotional farewell appearance and determined not to go out on a losing result. The midfielder, at the club since the age of eight apart from a three-and-a-half year stint with Birmingham City, was captain for the day in the last of his 378 games at the age of 35, and his presence, in his first match since January, as well as his performance, served as inspiration to his team-mates.

The equaliser was some time in coming, but it was on the cards as Ipswich were forced deeper. The scorer was also on the cards as Jordan Rhodes, a former Ipswich player, rose to head his 21st goal of the season from Craig Conway's free-kick on 35 minutes.

There was worse to come for Ipswich before half-time as Blackburn went ahead following Tommy Spurr's long throw on 41 minutes. This time Rhodes's strike partner, Rudy Gestede, was on hand to help the ball on to the far post, where Conway took full advantage.

There was still time aplenty for Ipswich to rectify the situation, but when things are going against you so do the breaks, and Tyrone Mings's attempt to clear a Conway cross on 57 minutes merely cannoned back off a team-mate to leave Gestede a simple tap-in for his 22nd of the campaign.

With Ipswich now clinging desperately to sixth place, Sears somehow contrived to hoist the ball over from near point-blank range. 'He felt bad, but I just said: ‘Save it for the play-offs, pal,'' said McCarthy.

Then came a late penalty to spice up the final minutes, Bishop going down under a stretching challenge from Tommy Spurr on 81 minutes. Murphy was never going to miss from the spot, but Blackburn deservedly held on.

'I'm delighted we won the game for Dunny,' said Bowyer. 'It's a fine send-off and he's going to be sadly missed. We're seven unbeaten, but the last one of the season is with you a long time.'

Peter Ferguson (The Guardian)

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