Ipswich 3-0 Cardiff: Fab four for Tractor Boys - Sunday Mirror match report
Published 17:08 18/02/12 By Dave Smith
Ipswich arrogantly despatched promotion-chasing Cardiff in style to chalk up their fourth win on the trot.
It is the most successful winning sequence for Paul Jewell as Town boss – and the club’s best run since 2004 when Joe Royle was in charge.
Ipswich’s season has been transformed in recent weeks and they can now look optimistically upwards rather than anxiously downwards.
Two goals by the impressive Lee Martin and one from the hard-working Michael Chopra against his old club secured another three valuable points for the Tractor Boys.
Chopra’s strike made it five goals in five games for him and more pleasing for Jewell was that his defence stood firm for a change.
Jewell said: “It was a good result against one of the top teams in the division.
“We had to dig in for the first 20 minutes but we were resolute and grew in confidence. Overall I thought we were worthy winners.
“We are playing with more confidence now and we are a difficult team to play against.
“I’m pleased for Lee Martin. He’s been excellent since he came back to the club. We had our differences before but he’s matured as a player and has added goals to the energy that he brings to the team.”
It was a bad day at the office for Cardiff who failed to take advantage of a positive opening.
They still look a good bet for promotion but manager Malky Mackay’s 40th birthday celebrations today will be somewhat muted.
Mackay felt his side were punished for a below-par second-half performance but denied they were distracted by next week’s Carling Cup final against Liverpool.
“They’re a hard-working group of players with no egos,” he said. “They’ve focused on everything we’ve asked them to do all season and that was the case today.
“We started well enough and had plenty of attacks. But in the second half we were second best.”
Cardiff have lost fewer away games than anyone in the division and they began brightly. Ipswich keeper Arran Lee-Barrett was in the thick of the action from the outset – and almost for the wrong reason after nine minutes.
He came charging out of his area and brought down Joe Mason who was en route to goal. With the Cardiff fans shouting for a red card Lee-Barrett got away with yellow – his saving grace a couple of covering defenders.
Ipswich took full advantage of their good fortune when Martin produced a neat finish from inside the area after good work by Daryl Murphy.
Moments later Martin had the chance to make it 2-0 but, after some excellent approach play and trickery, he sent his shot over.
Undeterred, Cardiff continued to pile the pressure on the Ipswich back line and Lee-Barrett seemed to be the constant centre of attention.
He mishandled an innocuous-looking shot from Peter Whittingham but reacted quickly enough to spare his blushes.
Ipswich doubled their advantage within minutes of the restart. Skipper Carlos Edwards broke free down the right and his cross was met by the predatory Chopra who finished with clinical precision.
Ipswich continued to pour forward with increasing confidence and Martin showed why he is so highly-rated in this part of the world with a jinking run and curling shot which came back off the woodwork.
He capped a fantastic afternoon by capitalising on poor Cardiff defending to claim his second goal with a cheeky finish after more good work by Murphy.