TRAC­TOR BOYS SHOW MET­TLE

Ip­swich show an iron will

The Football League Paper - - CHAMPIONSHIP - By Dave Good­er­ham To com­ment on this match go to http://boards.footy­mad.net/

IT MIGHT not al­ways be easy on the eye but Mick McCarthy’s Ip­swich Town are turn­ing grind­ing out vic­to­ries into an art form.

While oth­ers were play­ing out six-goal thrillers yes­ter­day, Town kept on the coat­tails of the top six with a one-goal, no-thrills, three points.

It owed much to a mo­ment of mad­ness from Bolton keeper Andy Lon­er­gan who in­ex­pli­ca­bly hauled down David McGoldrick be­fore the Town top scorer got up to ram home the penalty from 12 yards.

And it proved the dif­fer­ence as Bolton failed to re­cover from the set­back to leave them per­ilously close to the Cham­pi­onship drop­zone.

McCarthy ad­mit­ted: “We are not great, we are not a silky foot­ball team. But we are a stub­born and hard-work­ing bunch with a re­ally good team spirit.

“I didn’t think, one to 11, we did enough in the first half but it is nice to sit in here when we have won like that.”

In McGoldrick, Ip­swich have some­one in the form of his life with the striker keen to trans­late his club form into an in­ter­na­tional ca­reer with Repub­lic of Ire­land.

And Town’s No.10 added brav­ery to his grow­ing reper­toire af­ter grab­bing the penalty de­spite fail­ing to score from his last two at­tempts.

Of his 15-goal top scorer, McCarthy said:“There was never any doubt he would take the penalty.

“David McGoldrick epit­o­mises us. He ran back 50 yards to tackle (Chris) Ea­gles when his job is to stick the ball in net.”

Ini­tially, it was another half of foot­ball to for­get for the Portman Road crowd as Ip­swich and Bolton both of­fered – and gave away – lit­tle in a poor first 45 min­utes.

It was shaded by the visi­tors with Mark Davies go­ing close at the sec­ond at­tempt and Neil Danns draw­ing a smart save from Dean Gerken.

The Ip­swich keeper was also equal to Alex Bap­tiste’s snap­short straight af­ter the turn­around. The home side of­fered lit­tle in the open­ing ex­changes, save for Aaron Cress­well’s 30-yard rocket which was helped over the bar by Lon­er­gan.

But it all changed in the 55th minute when a bout of head ten­nis ended with Lon­er­gan’s ‘rush of blood’ on McGoldrick, to quote Bolton boss Dougie Freed­man’s post-match as­sess­ment of the game-chang­ing in­ci­dent.

McGoldrick made no mis­take and Bolton of­fered lit­tle hope of a come­back – leav­ing Freed­man with no com­plaints.

He said: “It was a very dis­ap­point­ing re­sult.We felt in the first 45 min­utes that we were by far the bet­ter side, cre­at­ing two or three op­por­tu­ni­ties. There was not a lot in it, but a rush of blood in the sec­ond half was the dif­fer­ence.

“Andy Lon­er­gan has been fan­tas­tic for us and we have no blame cul­ture at this foot­ball club.

“But when th­ese things hap­pen, we have to make sure we stick to­gether and not let our heads go down.

“I don’t think we de­served to lose that foot­ball match but th­ese small mo­ments are hurt­ing us badly right now.”

While Bolton’s big names con­tinue to bat­tle at the wrong end of the Cham­pi­onship, Ip­swich, pos­sess­ing ar­guably the small­est squad in the league, refuse to give in.

Ryan Tun­ni­cliffe’s dead­line day exit to Ful­ham, af­ter his loan deal at Portman Road was cut short, left McCarthy’s mid­field look­ing de­cid­edly thin on the ground – a fact not helped by Cole Skuse’s un­timely de­par­ture af­ter just 32 min­utes with con­cus­sion.

That left the tiny, dy­namic duo of Stephen Hunt at 5ft 8ins and Jay Tabb at 5ft 7ins to boss the mid­field and leave McCarthy purring.

“They gave us en­ergy and en­thu­si­asm and a real de­sire to play the game. They were fab­u­lous,” McCarthy added.

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