The Football League Paper - - CHAMPIONSHIP - By An­drew Gwilym

DE­LIGHTED Cardiff City man­ager Rus­sell Slade hailed his side’s abil­ity to ‘win ugly’ af­ter they got the bet­ter of fel­low play-off chasers Ip­swich Town.

Bruno Manga’s pow­er­ful 18thminute header in what was a drab en­counter proved the dif­fer­ence as the home side kept them­selves just one point and one place off the top six with a third win in four games.

“It was a big win for us. I’m not a great be­liever in six-point­ers be­cause you can never do that, but the three points are huge for us at this mo­ment in time,” the Cardiff boss said.

“It’s about con­sis­tently putting the re­sults to­gether at this time, we had a fan­tas­tic game against Leeds and col­lected noth­ing for our ef­forts, but here, it was dif­fer­ent.

“Ip­swich are prob­a­bly the best at grind­ing out a re­sult in this league and we have done it to them. I’m proud we’ve done that, that we’ve been able to win ugly. It was not pretty, but we re­ally fought.

“When you are play­ing those around you like this, and we’ve still got Sh­effield Wed­nes­day, Derby and Birm­ing­ham to play, they are go­ing to be big, big games so credit to the at­ti­tude of the play­ers. The bot­tom line is we can only con­trol what we are do­ing, that’s the im­por­tant thing.

“We can’t con­trol what else is go­ing on around the coun­try. But if we’ve had a pos­i­tive re­sult and an­other side has not, that gives us a lift ob­vi­ously and gives us some mo­men­tum – and that is crit­i­cal at this stage.”

His coun­ter­part, Mick McCarthy in­sisted his trav­el­weary Ip­swich side are not out of the Cham­pi­onship play-off race de­spite this de­feat.

Ip­swich are now four points adrift of the play-offs, al­though they have a game in hand. With their next two fix­tures tak­ing place at Port­man Road, McCarthy is hope­ful home com­forts will help his side get back on track.

“We have had no time to do any­thing at the mo­ment, we have just been trav­el­ling around on the bus for 11 hours and play­ing foot­ball,” he said.

“We have two home games com­ing up against Black­burn and Rother­ham and we re­ally need to win to get back in the mix, there are no mugs in this league so we need to play well.

“But I felt we should re­ally have come away from this game with a goal­less draw.

“There is a bit of frus­tra­tion, there was noth­ing in the game apart from one cor­ner kick. It was a great cross from Peter Whit­ting­ham and a great header, but we should not be giv­ing the op­po­si­tion a free header there.

“It was quite a flat game oth­er­wise. The whole at­mos­phere was flat.We lost the ball in the middle of the pitch a lot, it was scruffy, turgid.

“I was think­ing we could nick it with a free-kick or cor­ner but un­for­tu­nately it was them.”

Ip­swich had ac­tu­ally started the bet­ter of the two sides with Fred­die Sears look­ing lively up front as his move­ment caused the Cardiff rear­guard some dis­com­fort.

But they fell be­hind thanks to an ex­cel­lent outswing­ing cor­ner from Whit­ting­ham which saw Manga get across his marker to power a header into the net.

Ip­swich had the edge af­ter the break and Ben Pringle should have done bet­ter than fir­ing high and wide when Daryl Mur­phy’s clever knock­down found him in space.

Scott Malone then had to clear des­per­ately un­der pres­sure from Sears af­ter Cardiff keeper Si­mon Moore had fum­bled a cross on the edge of his own six-yard box.

But the Blue­birds, who saw An­thony Pilk­ing­ton vol­ley over a late chance to make the points safe, held on with rea­son­able com­fort for a pre­cious three points.

PIC­TURE: Me­dia Im­age Lyd

HEAD FIRST: Ip­swich Town’s Fred­die Sears, left, and Cardiff City’s Joe Ralls bat­tle

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