Soccer

Ipswich maintain promotion push with another home victory

Ipswich’s Wes Burns (right) celebrates his goal (PA)
Ipswich’s Wes Burns (right) celebrates his goal (PA) Ipswich’s Wes Burns (right) celebrates his goal (PA)

Ipswich maintained their impressive home record in the Sky Bet Championship with a 2-1 victory over Coventry.

George Hirst scored in the opening minutes and Wes Burns’ wonder-strike put the hosts 2-0 ahead at half-time.

The visitors’ improved in the second half and missed the opportunity to narrow the gap when Matt Godden’s spot-kick cannoned off the underside of the bar, before they got a late consolation goal when Brandon Williams headed the ball into his own net.

It was the Tractor Boys’ ninth win in 10 home games and their second three-point haul in four days, maintaining their seven-point cushion over third-placed Leeds and keeping them within a point of leaders Leicester.

Coventry, who had not conceded a goal in their three previous games, slipped two places to 17th as a result of this defeat.

The game was only six minutes old when Hirst opened the hosts’ account. Nathan Broadhead’s pass dissected the Coventry defence and the striker fended off the close attention of City’s centre back Liam Kitching to coolly side-foot home past Brad Collins.

Ipswich tails were up and nine minutes later Broadhead held his head in his hands after he missed a good chance to extend the lead. Harry Clarke found the Welsh international clear on goal with just the Coventry goalkeeper to beat but he slipped his shot just wide of the left hand post.

Ipswich were dominating proceedings and a shot from Burns went just over the bar, then Broadhead’s header was just off target following a free-kick.

Ipswich goalkeeper Vaclav Hladky had to dive full length to his left to keep out an effort from just outside the penalty area by Jake Bidwell in the visitors’ first real attack of intent after 29 minutes.

American international Haji Wright had the ball in the Ipswich net after 36 minutes but he was ruled offside as the Sky Blues again threatened but Ipswich went further in front six minutes later in impressive fashion.

Burns bent a right-footed shot with the outside of his boot, which looked like it was going wide, before curling into the top left corner and past a stunned Collins to double Ipswich’s lead.

Hladky dived at the feet of Wright following a crossfield ball from substitute Tatsuhiro Sakamoto and fellow sub Godden wasted a good chance when well placed inside the penalty area.

Broadhead was fouled on the edge of the box in the 55th minute but Leif Davis’ free-kick was charged down by Callum O’Hare, then a long range shot from Clarke arrowed into the sidenetting.

Coventry had the chance to reduce the arrears in the 73rd minute after Clarke was adjudged to have tripped Sakamoto in the penalty area but Godden struck the bar and the ball bounced clear.

However, the visitors did get on the scoresheet in the sixth minute of added time with Williams’ own goal.