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Match Report

 

Posted Sat 23 Jan 16 at 16:56 PM

Report: Blues 3 Ipswich Town 0

Goals from Will Buckley, Jon Toral and Maikel Kieftenbeld fired Blues to a deserved and comprehensive victory against Ipswich Town at St. Andrew’s.

The result also saw Blues leapfrog their opponents in the table to seventh. 

The Tractor Boys’ task was made all the harder after they were reduced to ten men a minute before the break when Jonathan Douglas was shown a straight red card.

Buckley fired Blues into the lead from close range mid-way through the first-half, before Toral struck with what is surely going to be a Goal of the Season contender after 54 minutes.

The icing was then put on the cake by Dutch midfielder Kieftenbeld when he volleyed home his side’s third after 70 minutes.

Gary Rowett made one change to his starting XI with Sunderland loan winger Buckley being given his first start in place of Jacques Maghoma who had failed to make the matchday squad because of illness.

Blues had their first attempt on goal less than four minutes in when Kieftenbeld collected the ball in midfield before laying it off to Buckley. The winger cut inside his marker before trying his luck with a low shot which was just yards off target.

Two minutes later the hosts were given a real scare when the towering Daryl Murphy headed Kevin Bru’s cross just inches over Tomasz Kuszczak’s bar.

Murphy threatened again on the 11 minute mark when he volleyed just the wrong side of Kuszczak’s far post.

The Tractor Boys were starting to cause plenty of defensive problems, particularly with the long ball.

However, it wasn’t all one way traffic as Blues broke quickly and Toral forced Ipswich ‘keeper Dean Gerken to produce a fine diving save low down to his right. 

And it was Blues that broke the deadlock in the 23rd minute when Buckley forced the ball home from close range, after Clayton Donaldson’s initial attempt was parried by Gerken and Buckley was fastest to react

The goal seemed to give Blues a real shot of confidence and they gradually began to up the pressure on their visitors.

With just over five minutes to go to the break the Blues players appealed for a penalty after Donaldson appeared to be pulled back in the area by Christophe Berra, but referee Michael Bull waved play on. 

The ball subsequently dropped for Kieftenbeld but his powerful shot was deflected behind for a corner.

With 42 minutes gone Kuszczak needed to produce a fine double save. The first one was to deny Ryan Fraser from the left of the box and the second to stop Freddie Sears’ follow-up effort.

Deep into stoppage time at the end at the end of the first-half Ipswich were reduced to ten men when Jonathan Douglas was shown a straight red card for what appeared to be a studs-up challenge on Buckley.

Half-time: Blues 1 Ipswich town 0

Despite being a man down it was Ipswich that made the much brighter start to the second-half and were regularly forcing Blues onto the back foot.

But against the run of play it was Blues that doubled their advantage after 54 minutes with a terrific screamer of a volley by Toral from at least 25 yards.

It was fantastic technique from the Arsenal loanee that led to it. 

Kuszczak punted a long ball forward, it was flicked on by Donaldson and Toral showed sublime skill to take it first time with his left foot and fire it past the helpless Gerken.

With just over an hour played Ipswich came close to reducing the deficit when sears broke with real pace, but his shot drifted just inches wide of the Blues goal, with Kuszczak beaten.

Ryan Fraser then curled an effort over the Blues bar when he should have done better.

But it was Blues that were celebrating again after 70 minutes when the ball dropped nicely to Kieftenbeld just on the edge of the box and he made no mistake as he drilled a neat volley into the bottom corner.

Although it would have been easy for the visitors to give up on the game at this point, as befits a Mick McCarthy team they continued to press in search of at least a goal, but without finding that decisive pass or shot.

With 85 played Gleeson almost added to Blues’ tally with a fine strike from 30 yards which flew just over the bar.

Blues now travel to Bristol City next weekend looking to continue with their push to make the play-off places.
Half season context 9 games up to Sheffield Wednesday

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