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Match Report: Ipswich Town 3 – 0 Cardiff City (Ipswich Fan's Perspective)

Tuesday 21st February 2012
A brace from Lee Martin and a goal from Michael Chopra against his old side was enough for Ipswich to record their fourth straight league victory and move them up to 16th in the table.

Town, who hadn't won four on the bounce since the Joe Royle era in 2004, were good value for their win but not without controversy. Visitors Cardiff felt that Ipswich ‘keeper Arran Lee-Barrett escaped punishment when he only received a booking for scything down the en-route to goal Joe Mason.

It was a match-defining decision from referee Simon Hooper and one that definitely benefitted the rejuvenated home side, who have flirted dangerously with relegation for most of the season.

 

Prior to the game, Ipswich hadn't lost to Cardiff in six attempts, winning five of these. In fact, in 65 attempts, Cardiff had only defeated Ipswich once at Portman Road. Despite this atrocious record, the omens were looking good for the Welsh side as they dominated the early proceedings.

And after just nine minutes, their early pressure seemed to pay off as Ipswich ‘keeper Lee-Barrett raced out of his area to clear but instead of playing the ball as intended, cynically chopped down the onrushing Mason. As Lee-Barrett was given that infamous talking to by the referee, Ipswich fans' hearts remained in their mouths, and a red card seemed inevitable. However, after much consultation, referee Hooper issued the fortunate Town ‘keeper with only a yellow card. Having looked at the replay, I can only assume that the referee deemed Mason to have been going away from goal and with Ipswich defenders scampering to cover, it was not quite a clear goalscoring opportunity.

Eleven minutes later and in virtually their first attack of the game, Town scored; on-loan Celtic star Daryl Murphy teed up Martin, who after cleverly finding space, coolly rolled the ball past Cardiff stopper David Marshall. Perhaps surprisingly this was Martin's first goal from open-play at Portman Road.

Practically from the kick-off, Martin could and perhaps should have been celebrating his second. After robbing the clumsy Ben Turner of possession near the half-way line, the ex-Manchester United man ran at the remaining defence, causing all sorts of problems before firing over.

Meanwhile, the Gods continued to shine on Lee-Barrett, who was very much a central figure of attention again. Lee-Barrett, who started his professional career at Cardiff, nearly fumbled Peter Whittingham's innocuously looking drive into his own net – but managed to spare his blushes as he ran back to claw the ball off the goal-line.

Maybe it was the late great Sir Bobby Robson who was shining over the Ipswich ‘keeper. It was of course the ex-England and Ipswich managers' birthday and he received great support from the Ipswich faithful before the match.

Although the visitors had the majority of the ball, it was Ipswich who led at the interval.

The Tractor boys came out in the second half with all guns blazing, and all Cardiff hopes of a come-back were effectively dashed within two minutes of the restart. Ex-Bluebird Chopra was on hand to tuck home Carlos Edwards' superb low cross, sending Portman Road into raptures. It was Chopra's 12th goal of the season and his fifth in four games.

Town had the momentum and dominated proceedings for the next 20 minutes, with the ever-impressive Andy Drury, Lee Martin and Luke Hyam asserting their authority on the game. It is worth noting that since the inception of these three in the central midfield area, Town's results have drastically improved. Gone are the old, crooked and some may argue decrepit legs of Jimmy Bullard, Lee Bowyer and Grant Leadbitter and in have came players with the required passion, energy and work ethic to lift Town forward.

Cardiff fluttered in and out of the second-half, but rarely got the opportunity to test the shaky looking Lee-Barrett. Turner headed just wide from a corner in the pick of the chances for the promotion chasing visitors.

In contrast, Town rallied and could have added to their lead as Aaron Cresswell and Martin stung the palms of ex-Norwich ‘keeper David Marshall.

Martin, who worked tirelessly all game, drawing particular praise from manager Paul Jewell, then deservedly claimed his second goal as he seized on Kevin McNaughton's mistake to prod through Marshall's legs.

Town comfortably held on to complete another win over Cardiff and could have infact added a fourth had Murphy and then Martin not wasted late chances. But Town fans won't mind, they will just be happy with winning games, following the inadequate season they've had so far.

Back-to-back clean sheets will do wonders for the confidence of the Championship's leakiest defence, and with difficult looking away trips to Brighton, Southampton and Hull coming up, they will need all the confidence they can get going into these.

For Cardiff, it was their third defeat in four games and not the ideal preparation for their Carling Cup final against Liverpool next Sunday.

It certainly wasn't a pleasant 40th birthday present for ex-Norwich player and Cardiff boss Malky Mackay, who prior to the match hadn't lost a match against Ipswich as a player or a manager in 13 attempts.
Will Ridgard

Total articles: 11

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