RICH STRIKES AS MICK TICKS OFF TRAC­TOR BOY CRIT­ICS

Ip­swich boss en­joys cru­cial win

The Football League Paper - - CHAMPIONSHIP - By Chris Dunlavy

SU­PER sub Richard Chap­low struck a dra­matic late win­ner to re-ig­nite Ip­swich’s fal­ter­ing pro­mo­tion push – as the Hor­nets yet again failed to de­feat a ti­tle ri­val.

The 30-year-old Chap­low, mak­ing only his third ap­pear­ance since join­ing on loan from Mill­wall in Fe­bru­ary, cap­i­talised on a dread­ful er­ror by Ben Wat­son to send Ip­swich into sixth and their fans into rap­tures.

The late col­lapse capped a mis­er­able day for Wat­ford, who also lost cen­tre-half Joel Ek­strand to a se­ri­ous knee in­jury and slipped a point be­hind Bournemouth at the sum­mit.

With the ex­cep­tion of Brent­ford, the Hor­nets have now failed to reg­is­ter a win against any side in the top eight - a wor­ry­ing trend with Derby and Mid­dles­brough next in line.

Manager Slav­isa Jokanovic says he couldn’t care less about that statis­tic. while coun­ter­part Mick McCarthy had short shrift for those who have at­tacked his de­fend­ers for a string of re­cent blun­ders.

“You saw why I told those who crit­i­cised them to Fox­trot Os­car,” said McCarthy, whose in­de­struc­tible back four pre­vented Wat­ford from reg­is­ter­ing a sin­gle shot on tar­get.

“That still ap­plies to any­one who wants to have a go. I trust the play­ers. They’re a real hon­est bunch of lads and the only thing they leave on the pitch is a good im­pres­sion.”

De­feat for Ip­swich – who had won just one of the last five – would have left them three points adrift of the play­offs. Now, they are six shy of top spot.

“I think you’ll find I’ve been call­ing this di­vi­sion bonkers since about Au­gust,” added McCarthy.

“I ruled us out two weeks ago, but, as I keep say­ing to ev­ery­one, the only thing that mat­ters is how many points we end up with. Be­fore we came here, I said, with the next two games, we could be re­ally out of it or back in it. At the mo­ment, we’re back in it.”

Chap­low’s late in­ter­ven­tion was the un­doubted high­light of a match gen- er­ally de­void of any real tempo or qual­ity.

Partly, that was down to Ek­strand’s early in­jury. Spot­ting Ty­rone Mings dawdling, the Swede darted in to nick pos­ses­sion, only to col­lapse when the Ip­swich man twisted free.

A stretcher was called for within sec­onds.

Bar a bad miss from Ad­lene Gue­dioura and a pot shot from Kevin Bru, the rest of the half was a write-off.

“Joel has a knee prob­lem,” said Jokanovic. “It was a twist. It could be very se­ri­ous but I don’t know at the mo­ment.We need to check.”

Wat­ford im­proved in the sec­ond half, with the hard-work­ing Troy Deeney cross­ing for Odion Ighalo to fire over, be­fore sky­ing a de­cent chance of his own. The in­jec­tion of pace pro­vided by sub Matej Vy­dra also gave added threat.

But, in truth, Wat­ford rarely got be­hind an Ip­swich de­fence bril­liantly drilled by Tommy Smith and pro­fi­ciently screened by Cole Skuse.

And, when Wat­son fool­ishly tried to con­trol a hooked clear­ance from Jay Tabb, Ip­swich sub Fred­die Sears pounced, rob­bing the for­mer Wi­gan man be­fore play­ing Chap­low through. With Wat­ford stranded up­field af­ter at­tack­ing a cor­ner, he had an age to pick his spot and duly rolled the ball past Heurelho Gomes. Cue pan­de­mo­nium, with the en­tire Ip­swich bench charg­ing across.

“We tried the whole game to find a way to win,” said a down­cast Jokanovic. “But we def­i­nitely chose the wrong mo­ment to attack with so many play­ers.We should have closed the game. I take the blame for that.”

McCarthy said: “It’s a huge re­sult for us. Now I’m look­ing for­ward to the in­ter­na­tional break so I can go on the lash for a cou­ple of days!”

AGONY: Wat­ford’s Joel Ek­strand lies in­jured with a twisted knee

PIC­TURES: Ac­tion Images

BLUE HEAVEN: Ip­swich Town’s Richard Chap­low cel­e­brates scor­ing their win­ner with team­mates and fans

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