The Football League Paper - - CHAMPIONSHIP - By Jack Skel­ton

DARYL Mur­phy’s mag­nif­i­cent form shows no signs of abat­ing as he struck twice to down Ful­ham but Ip­swich boss Mick McCarthy will not be com­pletely be­sot­ted un­less his un­likely star can reach the fa­bled 30-goal mark this sea­son.

The Repub­lic of Ire­land striker rose un­marked in­side five min­utes to head his 20th league goal of the sea­son be­fore seal­ing his dou­ble with an ex­quis­ite curl­ing strike shortly be­fore the break.

Since the in­tro­duc­tion of the Cham­pi­onship, Glenn Mur­ray is the only player to score 30 league goals in one sea­son but the way Mur­phy tor­mented Ful­ham’s de­fence sug­gests there is plenty more to come from the 31-year-old.

The hosts strug­gled to con­tain the Trac­tor Boys be­fore the break but showed more grit through­out the sec­ond half as Ross McCor­mack re­sponded with a fierce strike.

Yet the vis­i­tors held firm to move within two points of the au­to­matic pro­mo­tion places, with McCarthy re­lieved to end a patchy run with a sec­ond con­sec­u­tive victory.

“It’s good for Daryl and he works hard at it, but let’s not be laud­ing him for get­ting 21, let’s see him get 30,” said McCarthy.

“He’s not sit­ting on his lau­rels and he’s still work­ing hard – it’s a great tally so far but we want more out of him.

“He’s set­tled, he’s play­ing as a cen­tre for­ward not wide left or wide right. He was given the num­ber nine shirt and he’s worked very hard with coach Terry Con­nor.

“We de­served the win but knew that if they got a goal back the con­fi­dence would flow a bit more and it did.

“Once or twice they opened us up but we didn’t re­ally have to deal with it and the fi­nal pass wasn’t great, so over­all it was a good per­for­mance by us.”

The vis­i­tors had an early chance when Mur­phy mus­cled his way free to cut back for Fred­die Sears who fired straight at keeper Mar­cus Bet­tinelli.

The two strik­ers com­bined once more to force Shaun Hutchinson to turn the ball be­hind with Mur­phy ris­ing un­marked from the re­sult­ing Jay Tabb cor­ner to head in via a de­flec­tion off Bet­tinelli.

On 20 min­utes, a neat turn from Alexander Ka­caniklic opened up the vis­it­ing de­fence only for Christophe Berra to make a vi­tal in­ter­ven­tion ahead of the lurk­ing Hugo Ro­dal­lega.

Bet­tinelli made a cou­ple of smart saves but had no an­swer for Mur­phy’s sec­ond as Ty­rone Mings’ cross slid unchecked to the Ir­ish­man, who feinted on to his left to curl in an el­e­gant strike just be­fore half-time.

The Cot­tagers showed more pur­pose af­ter the break as a rare de­fen­sive er­ror from Tommy Smith gifted Ful­ham a life­line as Kostas Stafy­lidis’ hope­ful ball squirmed through the de­fender’s legs for McCor­mack to fire home on 74 min­utes.

Yet the hosts looked un­likely to force an equaliser as they fell to an 11th straight win­less game against Ip­swich dat­ing back to 1963, with boss Kit Sy­mons be­moan­ing a lack of com­po­sure.

“Con­ced­ing the goals when we did meant we gave our­selves a lot to do but we showed a lot of en­deav­our in the sec­ond half,” said Sy­mons. “Peo­ple worked very hard, dug in and bat­tled but we maybe lacked a lit­tle bit of com­po­sure and qual­ity.

“We got our­selves back into the game with a slightly for­tu­itous goal but then didn’t have enough to get some­thing out of it.

“When your con­fi­dence takes a few knocks and is a bit frag­ile, one mis­placed pass and sud­denly it can es­ca­late.

“We got a bit of a foothold and started pass­ing the ball in the right ar­eas to cre­ate some op­por­tu­ni­ties but the fi­nal ball was lack­ing.”

PIC­TURE: Ac­tion Images

DOU­BLE TROU­BLE: Daryl Mur­phy, No9, cel­e­brates with team-mates af­ter scor­ing Ip­swich’s first. Inset: Ful­ham’s Kostas Stafy­lidis bat­tles with Ip­swich’s Teddy Bishop

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