FREE­MAN ‘BOMB’ FIRES UP BOSSES

The Football League Paper - - CHAMPIONSHIP - By Richard Latham

LUKE Free­man’s stun­ning 72nd-minute goal brought glow­ing praise from both ends of the dugout.

City head coach Lee John­son de­scribed the per­fectly struck left­footed vol­ley from just out­side the box as “worth the en­trance price on its own”.

And Ip­swich man­ager Mick McCarthy ad­mit­ted: “The shot was un­stop­pable. We were on top and play­ing well when a fly­ing bomb hit the roof of our net.”

Free­man may never score a bet­ter goal, with McCarthy adding: “I was right be­hind it and it was in from the mo­ment the ball left his foot.”

City al­ready led through a 31stminute penalty from the im­pres­sive Lee Tom­lin, who net­ted with a low shot from the spot af­ter Ip­swich goal­keeper Bar­tosz Bialkowski had clum­sily brought down Tammy Abra­ham.

The striker was head­ing away from goal and had lost con­trol of the ball, but Bialkowski made con­tact and handed City a rare first-half lead.

Ip­swich cre­ated few clear chances but al­most lev­elled on 54 min­utes when David McGoldrick’s goal­bound shot from a nar­row an­gle was de­flected onto a post by goal­keeper Frank Field­ing.

John­son ad­mit­ted that was an im­por­tant mo­ment, but felt that Free­man’s strike was wor­thy of set­tling any game.

He said: “It was a sen­sa­tional goal. It is a re­ally dif­fi­cult skill to get the ball to dip from the po­si­tion Luke struck it.

“Be­lieve it or not, the lads do prac­tice such things in train­ing and en­joy it be­cause it is some­thing dif­fer­ent.

“It was a re­ally steady and pro­fes­sional team dis­play. We have had to come from be­hind so of­ten, but here we got our­selves in front and looked re­ally solid.

“We haven’t got what we de­served from re­cent games. Now we are three points off the play-offs and look­ing up the ta­ble again.”

McCarthy had no com­plaints about the spot-kick and was happy enough with his side’s ef­forts.

He said: “The dif­fer­ence be­tween the teams was a penalty and a worldie. They started well, but we got to grips with that.

“It was a penalty. Tammy Abra­ham has re­acted quicker than any of our play­ers to the sit­u­a­tion. The ref­eree told me that he waited to see if the ball had gone out of play be­fore point­ing to the spot. I’m not sure about that ex­pla­na­tion, but in the end he got it right.

“I have no com­plaints about our dis­play. We need to be more ef­fec­tive in the fi­nal third, but other than that I felt we com­peted well against a good side. At 2-0 they had a cou­ple more chances. But up to that point we had been do­ing well and goals change games.”

The only in­ci­dent of note be­fore the penalty had seen City striker Aaron Wil­bra­ham booked for a lung­ing late chal­lenge on Christophe Berra in the sixth minute.

A first-half goal has been a rar­ity for City this sea­son and it lifted their per­for­mance. Tom­lin had a fierce right-footed ef­fort headed over his own cross­bar by Ip­swich de­fender Adam Web­ster and Abra­ham saw a shot blocked af­ter skil­fully mak­ing space for him­self.

Abra­ham headed over from a Scott Gol­bourne cross and City ended the first half on the front foot, with Field­ing not hav­ing been se­ri­ously tested. The Robins con­tin­ued to look dan­ger­ous af­ter go­ing 2-0 up and mer­ited the three points.

PICTURES: JMP

PENALTY SHOUT: Bris­tol City’s Tammy Abra­ham is fouled by Bar­tosz Bialkowski

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