DARYL ON CLOUD TRACTOR BOYS
Town in top two as Leeds lay down
IT MAY only be a number, but sticking a nine on Daryl Murphy’s back is paying huge dividends in Ipswich Town’s drive towards the Premier League.
The 31-year-old became the Championship’s top scorer after grabbing a double yesterday in a wonderful win over woeful Leeds.
The Suffolk side made it seven unbeaten and just one defeat in 16 to consolidate their position in the Championship’s top two.
And once again it was Murphy who was the driving force with his 12th and 13th of the season, equalling his best ever tally, which came last season after he signed for Ipswich on a permanent deal.
For a striker who has flitted in and out of teams and barely threatened the goalscoring charts, what has changed so dramatically?
His manager Mick McCarthy said: “When I signed him last season, I made him my primary striker and put the number nine on his back.
“These are tiny little things but it made him feel good about himself. You don’t see many number nines on the bench.”
McCarthy was understandably delighted with his side’s performance which keeps them on the coattails of league leaders Derby, adding: “That was as good as we have played all season for a number of reasons.
“We went 1-0 down and had to recover against a team who is playing well.We scored four goals and our all-round performance was very good.
“The goal just after half-time was the crucial one.You are always on red alert as you don’t want to concede, but I actually got a bit cold in the last five minutes. It was nice not to be biting my nails at the end for a change.”
McCarthy may keep on insisting he is only concerned in the Championship table come the last day of the season, but the secret is out.
The £10,000 team are made of the right stuff and the rest of division is now taking notice.
Especially as Ipswich possess the Championship’s in-form attacking duo in Murphy and his equally impressive strike partner David McGoldrick. The pair picked up another three goals against a shambolic Leeds side who offered little in resilience or potency as soon as Murphy cancelled out Mirko Antenucci’s surprise fourth-minute opener.
By half-time, the feel-good factor felt around Portman Road these days was oozing out of every pore thanks to a penalty from McGoldrick and a second for Murphy, putting him in the lead in a fascinating ‘golden boot’ race.
A fourth duly followed three minutes after the restart, Christophe Berra applying the final touch to Tommy Smith’s goalbound header, and the match was all but over 42 minutes before the end.
These are desperate times for long-suffering Leeds fans. The week started with owner Massimo Cellino being asked to resign from the club by the Football League after breaching its owners’ and directors’ test.
Any hope that some welcome relief might come in the shape of 90
MAC ATTACK: David McGoldrick celebrates scoring the second goal for Ipswich from the penalty spot Inset: Mirko Antenucci opens the scoring for Leeds