The Football League Paper - - CHAMPIONSHIP -

round think­ing we’re in the play-offs. I didn’t en­joy that. But it was a lap of ap­pre­ci­a­tion from us to them, for their sup­port.”

Town skip­per Edwards gave his side a golden start, burst­ing for­ward be­fore pow­er­ing an un­stop­pable long-range ef­fort across goal and in­side the top left-hand cor­ner.

“Car­los came up with a com­plete bomb,” said McCarthy.“He’s an amaz- ing ath­lete and he’s played so well.

“He’s be­come more cul­tured and con­sid­ered and he’s chipped in with goals, which is im­por­tant. You can’t just rely on our strik­ers.”

Edwards’ screamer set the tone for an in­tense spell of pres­sure and it was no sur­prise when the hosts’ sec­ond fol­lowed af­ter a foul on Jay Tabb by Hay­den Mullins. Aaron Cress­well’s pin­point free-kick was headed in by the to­tally un­marked Cham­bers.

Town’s third fol­lowed just be­fore the hour-mark, when Frank Nou­ble’s half-vol­ley was charged down by two Birm­ing­ham de­fend­ers.

Mur­phy – hav­ing ear­lier had a header bril­liantly saved - spun on the edge of the box and drove a low, pow­er­ful ef­fort past Jack But­land.

Birm­ing­ham fi­nally im­proved af­ter the break, al­though by then the dam­age had been done. Mullins skied a sit­ter, Nathan Red­mond had a cou­ple of ef­forts saved by Scott Loach and then sub­sti­tute Burke con­verted a late con­so­la­tion af­ter a cross from Shane Fer­gu­son.

“In English football it’s all about play­ing with a high tempo, pur­pose and in­ten­sity,” said Birm­ing­ham boss Lee Clark. “But we were too flat to start with and that first-half per­for­mance is not what we’re about.

“I’m three stone over­weight and even I could have gone out and played at that tempo.

“I was re­ally frus­trated be­cause we con­trib­uted to our own down­fall by con­ced­ing such crazy goals. Car­los Edwards’ strike was an un­stop­pable strike but we gave the ball away so cheaply. Our de­ci­sion-mak­ing in the first half was very poor.”

PIC­TURE: Ac­tion Im­ages

SCREAMER: Luke Cham­bers, right, cel­e­brates af­ter scor­ing the sec­ond goal for Ip­swich

MUR­PHY’S LAW: Daryl Mur­phy scores the third

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