IPSWICH clung to their place at the top of the Championship – with a victory forged in Bournemouth.
Brett Pitman and Ryan Fraser joined the Tractor Boys as makeweights in the £8m deal that took Tyrone Mings to Dean Court this summer.
And the wisdom of that transaction was apparent at Deepdale, with Pitman glancing home to give Ipswich the lead before Fraser’s sumptuous finish sealed the win.
“I’m delighted for both of them,” said Ipswich boss Mick McCarthy. “Brett’s great and I’m really pleased he’s got that first goal for us. He had a year left on his contract at Bournemouth but I think Eddie wanted to repay him for everything he’d done and let him go for free.
“And young Ryan, who we’ve got on loan – he’s not a prospect, he’s a proper footballer. I’ve said before that we’re delighted to have him and he showed why with a goal worthy of winning any match.
“All in all, it was a great bit of business considering we got two players and made eight million quid!”
For promoted Preston, who equalised through Daniel Johnson late in the first-half, this was a brutal lesson in the realities of Championship life.
Dominant for large spells, they wasted a string of openings and were beaten by Ipswich’s only two efforts on goal.
“We are deflated,” said Simon Grayson, whose side have taken five points from four tough fixtures and went into the game with the division’s only unbreached defence.
“We came up against a strong, disciplined team full of experienced pros. They know when to kill a game, know when to press. That’s why they were in the play-offs last year and why they’re top of the league now.
“I think we had 16 shots to their two but games aren’t decided on stats.You get fewer opportunities in the Championship and if you make mistakes you’ll get punished.
“But we’ll learn from that and overall I’m pleased with the performance. I’m sure even Mick would admit they were fortunate to win today.”
Indeed he did, and with good reason. For 20 first-half minutes, Preston were irresistible, forging
ALL SMILES: Ipswich Town’s Ryan Fraser, left, celebrates scoring his side’s second goal