BIRMINGHAM boss Gary Rowett waxed lyrical about his side’s recent run of form as they defeated Ipswich to go above the Tractor Boys in the push for a play-off spot
Only Sheffield Wednesday’s superior goal difference is keeping Blues out of the top six, after their second 3-0 win in a row, thanks to Will Buckley’s first-half finish, and wonder strikes from Jon Toral and Maikel Kieftenbeld after the break.
“It’s another really, really encouraging performance,” Rowett enthused.
“You’ve got to enjoy it when you’re in a good run of form. I said it four or five weeks ago that we don’t seem to score many goals out of nothing, and then in the last two games, we’ve scored an awful lot of goals out of nothing!”
Buckley was making his full debut after joining on an initial month’s loan from Sunderland, and began like a man with a point to prove, shifting superbly inside onto his left foot before firing just wide after four minutes.
Daryl Murphy then went close at the other end, sending a closerange header looping over the bar after Kevin Bru crossed from the left.
But Buckley was in the right place at the right time mid-way through the half, giving Blues the lead with a simple finish after Dean Gerken could only parry Clayton Donaldson’s close-range strike back into danger.
Ipswich continued to hold their own, mainly thanks to the pace and energy of the excellent Ryan Fraser, who drew a fine save from Tomasz Kuszczak in the latter stages of the half.
But the visitors’ task was made a good deal harder when Jonathan Douglas saw an immediate red card after scything in on Buckley in firsthalf stoppage time.
If Birmingham’s first goal had been a scrappy affair, their second, courtesy of Toral, was nothing short of sensational.
A clearance by Kuszczak was met by Donaldson, who flicked on for Toral to launch an unstoppable volley beyond Gerken.
Fraser continued to impress in adversity, and came close to pulling Ipswich back into the game three minutes after the hour when he fired just wide after driving into the box