Ipswich go top of Championship after ‘keeper clanger costs Blackburn

Ipswich go top of Championship after ‘keeper clanger costs Blackburn

Conor Chaplin’s early goal earned Ipswich a 1-0 win at Blackburn and moved the visitors to the top of the Championship on Good Friday.

After Leicester’s slump continued with defeat at Bristol City earlier in the day, Kieran McKenna’s side knew victory at Ewood Park would place them top of the table with just seven matches to play – at least until Leeds took on Watford.

However, Daniel Farke’s side were held to a draw at Vicarage Road, ensuring a perfect end to the day for Ipswich, who led after just nine minutes against Blackburn.

Chaplin started and then finished a sweeping move when his low shot somehow squirmed past Aynsley Pears at the goalkeeper’s near post.

The mistake proved costly for Rovers, who saw goals from Joe Rankin-Costello and Andrew Moran correctly disallowed as they tried and failed to break down their visitors.

John Eustace’s side have now won just one of their last 18 Championship matches and find themselves just three points above the relegation zone.

How Ipswich clung on to vital victory

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Aynsley Pears allowed Conor Chaplin’s mishit strike to slip through his fingers and gift Ipswich the lead.

The prospect of moving to the top of the Championship at such a late stage of the season appeared to galvanise Ipswich, who controlled the first half against Blackburn.

McKenna’s side should have been awarded a penalty after just six minutes, when Callum Brittain dragged Nathan Broadhead to the floor as he latched onto Sam Morsy’s smart pass.

But Ipswich were celebrating just three minutes later when Chaplin poked Leif Davis’s low cross goalwards and then saw Pears fail to produce the expected save at his near post.

However, the visitors failed to make the most of their superiority and briefly appeared to have lost their lead when Rankin-Costello fired in Tyrhys Dolan’s cutback, only for Sammie Szmodics to have been correctly adjudged to have interfered with goalkeeper Vaclav Hladky’s eyeline from an offside position.

Blackburn grew into the game in the second half as Ipswich seemed to settle for what they had, and Szmodics went close to his 22nd Championship goal of the season when he fired just over.

Scott Wharton then saw a header saved by Hladky before Moran’s fierce strike was rightly chalked off thanks to a foul by Wharton on the goalkeeper.

Blackburn’s best chance came when Szmodics dispossessed the dallying Hladky on the edge of his own six-yard box, only for the Ipswich ‘keeper to produce a stunning recovery save by flinging his arm in front of the goalbound strike.

Kayden Jackson then wasted a chance to seal the win but Ipswich were able to cling onto their eighth victory in their last nine Championship games and keep hopes of back-to-back promotions very much alive.

McKenna: The performance was mixed

Ipswich boss Kieran McKenna:

“Fantastic result. You have to enjoy every win you get in the Championship.

“The performance was mixed. I thought first half we started ever so well. Big credit to the way we came out, especially after international duty. We imposed ourselves really well on the game, gave the opposition problems and controlled most of the first half.

“Blackburn had a counter threat and they set up to give us problems through the middle of the pitch, so we didn’t have it all our way.

“We came out at the start of the second half and did well. As the second half went on, it became tough. We knew there’d be tiredness in the group, and it became a challenging last 30 minutes.

“We worked really hard, we defended our box really well, blocked crosses, defended set plays well, blocked shots.

“Didn’t control the game as we would have liked but sometimes you have to show that other side and I thought we did that really well.”

Eustace unhappy with disallowed goals

Blackburn boss John Eustace:

“Frustrated but very proud as well. I thought the effort of the group was outstanding.

“After the week we’ve had, with the injuries and bit of sickness in the camp as well, to have possibly four starters out of the XI, I thought the effort was outstanding.

“We’ve gone up against a very good team and played very well and we’re disappointed not to get anything out of the game.

“I thought the referee had a fantastic view of the goal from Joe. Sammie obviously wasn’t in front of the goalkeeper so I thought that was really disappointing we didn’t have that goal.

“I thought Scott’s header was a fair challenge on the goalkeeper and the offside was tight but we’ve shown very good signs, the team are playing very well.

“It’s important we don’t get too disappointed about the result. We’ve got to brush ourselves off and go again.”

What’s next?

Blackburn return to action on Monday when they travel to Sunderland in the Championship; kick-off 3pm.

Rovers then host promotion-chasing Southampton on Saturday April 6; kick-off 3pm.

Ipswich are also back in action on Monday, with Southampton visiting Portman Road for a huge Championship fixture, live on Sky Sports; kick-off 5.30pm.

Monday 1st April 5:00pm

Kick off 5:30pm

Sky Sports Football HD
Sky Sports Football HD

McKenna’s side then travel to rivals Norwich on Saturday April 6, live on Sky Sports; kick-off 12.30pm.

Saturday 6th April 12:00pm

Kick off 12:30pm

Sky Sports Football HD
Sky Sports Football HD

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