Ipswich Town 3 Brighton & Hove Albion 1
By Tim Hodges
Ipswich Town overcame the Albion on a sunny Saturday afternoon at Portman Road
The Albion hadn’t played the Suffolk club since 2006, and fans had fond memories of that nail-biting 1-1 draw at Withdean on the last day of the 2005 season which saw the club maintain their Championship status. And back in 1991 Albion beat Ipswich comprehensively at Portman Road with the Seagulls en route to that play-offs that year.
The teams were fairly evenly matched at the start of the first half with the Albion attempting to rediscover their patient passing game.
They tried to take the play to Ipswich, though Casper Ankergren made a smart save early on.
Ex West Ham and Birmingham star Lee Bowyer had a couple of good chances for Ipswich, as did Jason Scotland.
The Seagulls were finding it difficult to get either Ashley Barnes or Craig Mackail-Smith in to the game. For all Romain Vincent’s hard work, all that Albion had to show for their efforts was a half chance from Barnes.
Before the half ended Scotland and Bowyer again had good chances, with Jimmy Bullard being the orchestrator on both occasions.
However, the teams were level at half time.
The Albion again tried to dictate the game with their patient build up possession football as the second half began.
Ten minutes in, Gary Dicker won the ball in midfield and played in Vicente Rodriguez. The Spaniard ran inside Bullard and then almost half the pitch. Just outside the penalty area he swept the ball high into the top corner to give the Albion a one-nil lead.
Soon after Barnes could have doubled Albion’s lead, but his header appeared to have no power and was well dealt with by David Stockdale.
Almost immediately afterward Michael Chopra popped up just outside the box and blasted a fierce drive past Ankergren to make it 1-1.
Albion seemed disheartened and Ipswich took back the impetus themselves, maintaining possession and pressing the Albion back.
All of a sudden from a Leadbitter corner Ibrahima Sonko was left unmarked to power a header from the edge of the six-yard box to put the Tractor Boys 2-1 in front.
The Seagulls hardly had time to regain their composure before Bowyer found Chopra, who firmly put the result beyond doubt with another fierce shot from the edge on the area, which left Ankergren wrong footed, for 3-1.
Barnes had another half chance late on but the Albion never looked like getting back on level terms.
Albion: Ankergren; Calderon, Greer, Vincelot, Painter; Bridcutt, Navarro, Dicker, Vicente; Barnes, Mackail-Smith. Subs: Brezovan, Cook Harley, Noone, Hoskins.
Ipswich: Stockdale; Edwards, Sonko, Collins, Cresswell; Bullard, Andrews, Bowyer, Leadbitter; Chopra, Scotland. Subs Lee-Barrett, Delaney, Emmanuel-Thomas, Ellington, Wabara.
Ref: Darren Deadman (Cheshunt).