Date: 1st December 2009 at 12:41am
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Ipswich for their first three point haul on the road this season with a very good 2-1 win away to high flying Cardiff. Goals from captain Jon Walters and super sub Jon Stead helped move Town up a place to 22nd. You wait fifteen games for a win, and two come along in the space of four games! Crazy!

Roy Keane made three changes to the Ipswich side that drew with Sheffield Wednesday last weekend, although two of them were forced upon him. Asmir Begovic returned to Pompey in the week, which meant a return in goal for Richard Wright while Alex Bruce injured his groin again against the Owls and was replaced at centre half by Gareth McAuley. Lee Martin dropped out and in came new loan signing Stern John up front with Tamas Priskin.

Walters had a fantastic early chance to silence the Bluebirds fans inside the wonderfully-named Cardiff City Stadium, but his header flew over from just a couple of yards out. Carlos Edwards picked him out with a delicous cross.

At the other end, the impressive Peter Whittingham saw his close range shot cannon off the bar. Then a combination of Richard Wright and the bar again denied the Cardiff midfielder with a long range effort. Stern John’s first real involvement in a Blues shirt came after a heavy tackle on Gabor Gyepes – he was booked for his troubles.

From one debutant to another and Arran Lee-Barrett had to replace Wrighty in goal after he collided with Michael Chopra. That meant Town had gone from three keepers to just the one inside a week.

Grant Leadbitter’s set piece delivery was awesome once again and Town were unlucky not to take the lead with nearly half an hour on the clock. His free kick should have been met by either Priskin or John, but the two strikers got in each other’s way and Cardiff were still level.

On 35, the home side took the lead through that man Peter Whittingham. Bothroyd was a big bother to the Ipswich defence in the first half, but it was his strike parter Michael Chopra who Keano was wary about before the game who flicked the ball up for Whittingham to smash a volley in from just inside the box. Lee-Barrett had no chance.

They say you are at your most vulnerable to concede when you have just scored, and that was nearly proved to be true when John escaped through the Cardiff backline to be one on one with David Marshall. Unfortunately, the Trinidad and Tobago man took too long to think about his chance and the former Naaaarwich stopper saved.

The two teams went in at the break with the Welsh club a goal to the good, although it was a pretty even first half and Town were unlucky to go in behind. Missed chances meant otherwise.

Peter Enckleman, famous for conceding from a throw in when playing in an Aston Villa versus Birmingham derby a few years ago, had to replace Marshall in goal for Cardiff at the interval.

Tamas Priskin was pretty redundant all game – he needs a goal to get his confidence going again but it wasn’t his day and was replaced on 52 by Jon Stead, who had an early shot straight at Enckleman.

Twenty minutes later, Walters let his football do that talking – ‘anything you can do Peter Whittingham, I can do better’. Walters chested the ball down on the right and volleyed it first time from outside the box and he found the top left corner of the goal to equalise and bag his fifth of the season. Town certainly had the upper hand in the second half and if any team was going to find a winner, it would be them.

Bothroyd had the ball in the net but he was offisde, the flag going up nice and early.

With five minutes left, Owen Garvan set up Stead, who shot from inside the box and the ball took a slight deflection, meaning it nestled in the bottom corner of the goal. The Blues had a habit of conceding late goals, and they had to hang on for four nail-biting injury time minutes.

But they did it and it means Ipswich are now in 22nd place, just a point from safety after seven unbeaten games. In truth, it was what they deserved after being the better of the two sides for most of the match. It’s another couple of monkey’s off Roy Keane’s side’s back too – it’s the first time the club have won after going behind in seven months and also their first victory on the road.

Let’s hope this acts as a springboard for the season and the Blues can now pick up a few more wins before the hectic Christmas period.

 

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