Goals from Kevin Phillips and Liam Ridgewell gave promotion-hunting Birmingham City a deserved victory over Ipswich, despite Town pulling a late goal back through Alex Bruce.
Manager Jim Magilton named an attacking line-up, with both Pablo Counago and Jon Stead up front and Jon Walters on the right of midfield. David Norris missed out through injury while the back four were untouched from Saturday’s win over Derby.
The starting eleven suggested that Magilton wanted to take the game to the Midlanders, but within the first few minutes of the game the home side went close through veterans Lee Carsley and Kevin Phillips, the latter having the ball in the net only to be denied by an offside flag.
There were just eight minutes on the clock before Birmingham’s pressure created a goal. Marcus Bent’s effort was blocked by a Town defender but the ball came to ex-Aston Villa defender Ridgewell who slotted the ball in the back of the net.
GOAL: Birmingham City 1-0 Ipswich Town (Liam Ridgewell)
Sebastian Larsson was looking lively down the right, and just before the quarter of the hour was up on the clock, City scored a second. Larsson’s ball in found Kevin Phillips, and he did what he does best a- scoring. He made it look easy, heading past Richard Wright who was left stranded.
GOAL: Birmingham City 2-0 Ipswich Town (Kevin Phillips)
It was no more than the home side deserved having not given Town a sniff of goal. They were certainly looking a team ready to get promoted at the first attempt. Their movement was fantastic, as was their pressure on the Ipswich players when they didn’t have the ball. Players like Owen Garvan who are normally so cool in possession, were forced into rash passes.
Jon Walters was looking more like his old self and created Ipswich’s first decent half-chance after the half hour but his shot was blocked. A goal would have been extremely harsh on Birmingham though, who were thoroughly deserving of their 2-0 lead at half time.
HALF-TIME: Birmingham City 2-0 Ipswich Town
Ipswich looked to have had a rocket up their behind’s at half time, and immediately forced a corner after the restart. Richard Naylor got his head to it, but should really have put the chance away, let alone hit the target having been unmarked in the six yard box.
Credit has to go to the traveling Town fans, who were singing the entire game. However, the same can’t be said for City’s supporters.
Franck Quedrue hit the bar for Brum, while James McFadden carved himself a chance but also missed the target. Although the Midlanders failed to add to their tally of goals, they were very comfortable at 2-0.
With little over five minutes left, Darren Ambrose whipped in a corner. Ex-Birmingham defender and current Town star Alex Bruce nodded the ball in and wheeled away to celebrate his first goal for the club, over two years after joining. His celebrated by kissing and grabbing the club badge.
GOAL: Birmingham City 2-1 Ipswich Town (Alex Bruce)
Substitute Danny Haynes overhit a pass through to Kevin Lisbie in the closing stages, but the Jamaican had two chances of his own to steal a point for Ipswich. He just needs a goal to get his confidence back.
It wasn’t to be, and Ipswich were just beaten by the better team. The promotion favourites forced their dominance ins most parts of the match and should be going up to the Premiership this season if they continue this form.
RESULT: Birmingham City 2-1 Ipswich Town