since 1878

Ipswich Town (1) 2 - 1 (0) Fulham

Sky Bet Championship 2014-15

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Referee: Stephen Martin

Manager: Mick McCarthy

Portman Road 17:15

Attendance: 17,218

Manager: Felix Magath

Match Number: 3559


 Daryl Murphy (32)
 David McGoldrick (61)
 Tim Hoogland (86)


Chris DavidThomas Eisfeld (46)
Ross McCormackCauley Woodrow (56)
Shaun HutchinsonPatrick Roberts (73)


 Luke Hyam (36)
 Tyrone Mings (80)
 Christophe Berra (86)



Jesse Joronen

Kostas Stafylidis

Shaun Hutchinson

Nikolay Bodurov

Tim Hoogland

Emerson Hyndman

Cameron Burgess

Chris David

Scott Parker

Ross McCormack

Moussa Dembele



Marcus Bettinelli

Thomas Eisfeld

Patrick Roberts

Cauley Woodrow

Hugo Rodallega

Mark Fotheringham

Dan Burn

Match Report

Ipswich Town hold out against Fulham fightback to make winning start

Welcome back, Fulham, and yes, the Championship is harder than you might have remembered. This is an unforgiving league, one that punishes even the smallest of weaknesses, and Fulham had plenty of those on display here. While it is far too early to make definitive judgements about any side, Felix Magath should definitely be worried by Fulham's lack of quality and their failure to match Ipswich for commitment and endeavour.

It was Fulham's first match outside the Premier League in 13 years and while Magath could argue that they are a work in progress, they need to find their feet quickly, or else opponents will take as much delight in playing them as Mick McCarthy's side did. The one consolation for Magath was the way his team roused themselves after Tim Hoogland's late deflected strike set up a frantic finale, but Ipswich clung on for an impressive victory.

"I'm glad, not very glad, but glad about our performance today," the German said. "It has shown in my opinion that we are on the right way. We have a lot of young players. They are not used to being tackled as [they were] today."

However, it was disconcerting to hear Magath questioning Ross McCormack's fitness given that the forward was the Championship's top scorer last year. McCormack was anonymous during his 57 minutes on the pitch and it seems strange that he would not be up to speed after his £11m move from Leeds United. Fulham had a similar problem with Kostas Mitroglou last season.

"I told you before that Ross came with a lack of fitness," Magath said. "He has to improve his fitness. He is not on the level of other players. He has come too late and he is not in the right shape at the moment. There are 45 games left. It is not a big problem."

Then came the complaints about the performance of the referee, Stephen Martin, Magath claiming that his players did not receive enough protection.

McCarthy smiled. "Only 45 to go!" he said. "It's the Championship. There was no real nasty tackles. There's plenty more of those games to come."

McCarthy was right and the real problem for Fulham was the number of unfamiliar faces in the side. Eight players were making their debuts, several youngsters were promoted from the club's excellent academy and Hugo Rodallega, an unused substitute, was the only survivor from Fulham's victory against Sunderland on the opening day last season. Magath confirmed that Fulham's Dutch goalkeeper, Maarten Stekelenburg, has joined Monaco on loan.

However, they will not be encouraged by this performance. Ipswich were almost ahead after four minutes when Christophe Berra's looping header forced Jesse Joronen, the 21-year-old Finnish debutant, to make a brilliant save, before Cole Skuse looped a volley over. McCormack was starved of service and when a chance fell to his partner, Moussa Dembele, after Dean Gerken fumbled Chris David's shot, he was too casual.

Daryl Murphy showed Dembele how it is done after 32 minutes. Luke Hyam broke clear and fed Murphy, who sped past the flat-footed Shaun Hutchinson with embarrassing ease, before crunching an emphatic finish past Joronen.Without ever suggesting that they are going to take the division by storm, Ipswich deserved to be in front. They are a team without ego, organised and diligent, one that worked hard for each other, snapped into their tackles and attacked eagerly. Their owner, Marcus Evans, used his programme notes to express his delight that McCarthy has signed a new three-year deal and their supporters liked what they saw.

They did have a scare early in the second half when Konstantinos Stafylidis's volley from 25 yards scorched over the crossbar, but Ipswich were mostly comfortable and doubled their lead after 61 minutes.

David McGoldrick was only fit enough to start on the bench but he replaced Balint Bajner and when Murphy's cross broke to him, he drove the ball firmly past Joronen.

Ipswich were hanging on at the end and Patrick Roberts, on as a substitute, almost snatched an undeserved equaliser. Magath said he was glad, not too glad, but he may well have been saying something different behind closed doors.

Jacob Steinberg (The Observer)

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