Celtic win big, Well sink Caley
Sat, 16 Feb 2013 17:39:00
Michael Chopra scored early in the second half as Ipswich beat Blackpool 1-0 at Portman Road to move four points clear of the Championship bottom three.
Chopra turned home his fifth goal of the season after good work by Senegalese midfielder Guirane N'Daw in the 50th minute to condemn Blackpool caretaker-manager Steve Thompson to a third defeat in his sixth game in charge.
Mick McCarthy's Ipswich, who had won only one of their previous six league games, secured back-to-back victories at Portman Road while the Seasiders, for whom Spanish midfielder Tiago Gomes hit the post in the first half, remain six points clear of the relegation zone having now tasted success in only two of their last 10 in the Championship.
Ipswich midfielder Anthony Wordsworth made his first start since arriving from Colchester for ?100,000 on transfer deadline day, but his work was cut short by injury 10 minutes before half-time and he was replaced by Chopra.
Ipswich's Carlos Edwards and Blackpool's Chris Basham both fired off target in the opening exchanges and home strikers David McGoldrick and Daryl Murphy were both wayward with angled drives soon after.
Edwards and McGoldrick threatened again, with Matt Gilks doing well to hold the latter's effort from the edge of the area in the 24th minute, but Blackpool went closest to taking the lead two minutes later.
Gomes was denied his first goal for the Seasiders by the width of the post with a right-footed shot from inside the area and Ipswich goalkeeper Stephen Henderson was then at full stretch to turn away Alex Baptiste's goalbound cross.
Blackpool defender Kirk Broadfoot headed the subsequent corner narrowly wide.
Blackpool debutant Matt Derbyshire, on loan from Nottingham Forest, and Broadfoot again went close with headers - both from Gomes corners - while Murphy tested Gilks at the other end with a rasping drive but the score remained goalless at half-time.
Broadfoot limped out of the action shortly after the restart and was replaced in defence by Reece Wabara.
And Ipswich cashed in on uncertainty at the back when N'Daw cut the ball back from the byline and Chopra steered a shot, left-footed, into the bottom corner from 12 yards.
N'Daw cleared Baptiste's goalbound header and visiting defender Basham saw two shots blocked as Blackpool pressed for the equaliser in the closing stages, but Ipswich's defence held firm.
The Hoops had been humbled 3-0 at home to Juventus in the first leg of their Champions League last-16 tie on Tuesday night but responded well to losing a 10th-minute goal to Dundee United midfielder Stuart Armstrong on Saturday to surge ahead through defender Efe Ambrose, Kris Commons and Joe Ledley.
Fraser Forster made a great save from a Jon Daly penalty, and Commons grabbed his second from the spot 10 minutes into the second half before Anthony Stokes notched a double to complete the rout, with Johnny Russell scoring late on for the Taysiders.
Meanwhile Michael Higdon's wonderful volley took his personal tally against Inverness this season to six goals as Motherwell leapfrogged Caley Thistle into second place with a 3-0 win.
Higdon's left-footed strike, his 18th goal of the campaign, put Motherwell three ahead before the hour mark and made it 12 goals and three wins in total for the Steelmen against their Highland visitors.
Higdon opened the scoring on the half-hour mark with a more simple finish and Nicky Law netted Motherwell's second following a typical burst into the box.
Paul Heffernan scored a hat-trick as Kilmarnockcontinued their march up the table with a convincing 3-0 victory at Hearts.
Heffernan became the second Kilmarnock player to score a hat-trick at Tynecastle this season, matching the absent Cillian Sheridan's tally from earlier in the campaign.
The striker gave his side a 1-0 half-time lead, before a six-minute second-half double settled the contest.
The win moves Kenny Shiels' side into fifth after winning their third league win in four.
Ross County stretched their unbeaten run to seven games with a 1-0 victory over St Johnstone at the Global Energy Stadium.
Ivan Sproule scored the only goal of the game in the 11th minute with a superb strike from the edge of the 18-yard box.
Leigh Griffiths scored the only goal of the game as he continued his own fine run for Hibernian against St Mirren.
Hibs have now struck five times in their three wins over the Paisley men this season and Griffiths has scored them all.