Town in top two as Leeds lay down

The Football League Paper - - CHAMPIONSHIP - By Dave Good­er­ham

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

PIC­TURE: Ac­tion Images

MAC AT­TACK: David McGoldrick cel­e­brates scor­ing the sec­ond goal for Ipswich from the penalty spot In­set: Mirko An­tenucci opens the scor­ing for Leeds

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