BERRA RES­CUES TRAC­TOR BOYS

The Football League Paper - - CHAMPIONSHIP - By Dave Good­er­ham

FIVE goals, an early shock, de­fen­sive er­rors, fine fin­ishes and a dra­matic late twist – this was 90 min­utes that per­fectly en­cap­su­lated the cra­zi­est Cham­pi­onship sea­son ever.

Ip­swich and doomed Black­pool might have mixed in dif­fer­ent ends of the sec­ond tier this sea­son, but they con­trived to pro­duce a cracker at Port­man Road.

At the end of it, Mick McCarthy’s men were the big win­ners in the race to claim one of the two fi­nal play-off spots.

How they did it, at this del­i­cate stage of the sea­son, mat­tered lit­tle to the Ip­swich Town boss.

McCarthy said: “We de­served to win and at this mo­ment in time it doesn’t re­ally mat­ter how we get the three points.

“We had enough chances to win two matches.We would love to be sweep­ing ev­ery­one aside but we haven’t done that all sea­son.

“I knew Black­pool would be a tough nut to crack. They have some good play­ers and they can take chances as they have noth­ing to lose.

“We now have 71 points, my best to­tal since I’ve been here, but we are still nowhere near clinch­ing a top-six spot. It is nice be­ing back in the top six but my mantra all sea­son has been that it will go right to the end.”

Af­ter los­ing to Hud­der­s­field on Easter Mon­day – the same day that Black­pool's in­evitable rel­e­ga­tion was sealed – Ip­swich went into this match know­ing only a win would do.

With just four min­utes on the clock, the doom-mon­gers were dom­i­nat­ing so­cial me­dia af­ter the Seasiders took a shock lead.

17-year-old Henry Cameron, whose per­for­mance rightly drew praise from his manager Lee Clark, was the ar­chi­tect down the left-wing but An­drea Or­landi was af­forded far too much time in turn­ing in the low cross.

To their credit, the home side quickly hit back, turn­ing the score­line on its head with two goals in four rapid min­utes.

Both times it was the name of Fred­die Sears on the score­sheet. Dif­fer­ent strikes, the first a sub­lime left-foot fin­ish into the roof of the net and the sec­ond a six­yard preda­tor’s fin­ish af­ter the ball fell to him off the luck­less Or­landi.

What Ip­swich failed to do was add a third that would have killed off any hopes in tan­ger­ine.

Daryl Mur­phy and Christophe Berra had chances be­fore Sears should have claimed a hat-trick shortly be­fore the hour mark, nut­meg­ging the hap­less and help­less Peter Clarke but shoot­ing straight at El­liot Parish.

Four min­utes later, those misses looked costly as Or­landi’s quick-think­ing free-kick found Gary Ma­dine and the striker’s low cross was turned in at the far post by Cameron.

There was still plenty of time but Ip­swich seemed to be run­ning out of steam. That was un­til the 83rd minute when Cham­pi­onship top-scorer Daryl Mur­phy turned provider, ex­pertly con­trol­ling Luke Cham­bers’ long ball be­fore pro­duc­ing a teas­ing cross which al­lowed Berra to head home at the far post to clinch three cru­cial points.

For Black­pool boss Clark, his fo­cus is more on the ‘mas­sive sum­mer’ ahead.

He said: “I now need to make de­ci­sions about who will be part of the huge re­build­ing job we need to do over the sum­mer.

“I have told the play­ers they are play­ing for their fu­tures, whether here or at an­other club, and also that they are play­ing for their wives and their chil­dren as so many are out of con­tract.

“I am a big ad­mirer of Mick McCarthy and his teams so I ex­pected a dif­fi­cult game. But for us to come here and be ten min­utes away from get­ting a point was en­cour­ag­ing.

“When you score two goals here, you ex­pect to get some­thing but our Achilles’ heel has been con­ced­ing poor goals.”

PIC­TURES: D&A Photography

HEADS I WIN: Christophe Berra rises high­est to score the win­ning goal for Ip­swich

CRACKER: Fred­die Sears fires home his first goal

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