Commons Double Wins It For Rams
Attendance: 17, 572
Two goals from Kris Commons helped guide Derby County to a 2-0 victory at Portman Road against Ipswich Town as The Rams continued their fine run of form and maintained their fourth place standing. The visitors started brightly with Tomasz Cywka threatening early on but the home side soon cam back into the match with Frank Fielding showing his class with a couple of smart saves. Commons` deflected free kick just before the hour mark gave his side the lead and, despite a number of substitutions, Ipswich could not find a way back with Dean Moxey`s persistence down the left being rewarded when he squared to Commons to sweep home his and Derby`s second of the match to seal the victory and claim all three points.
Ben Pringle came in for the suspended Dean Leacock and there was a reshuffle at the back for The Rams with John Brayford moving into the centre of defence and Paul Green lining up at rightback. Derby started positively with Shefki Kuqi getting his head to a Robbie Savage cross in the opening minutes but he couldn`t direct his effort on target against his former club and Tomasz Cywka let fly with a powerful effort from the edge of the box that was well saved by Marton Fulop in the home goal.
Ipswich came back at their visitors with Tamas Priskin forcing a fine save from Frank Fielding with a thirty yard effort and Conor Wickham and Jack Colback both let fly but neither effort tested The Rams` keeper. Derby were defending well despite the pressure and nearly caught Ipswich on the break with Kuqi and James Bailey both being thwarted by Fulop`s reactions.
Shaun Barker`s short back header on thirty-five minutes left Grant Leadbitter clear on goal but he was forced wide by Fielding and his cross-shot was cleared by the former Blackpool defender as he got back to make amends. Derby were beginning to assert themselves on the match again as halftime approached and the Ipswich backline had to be alert to clear a number of number of crosses with Kuqi lurking and Kris Commons then tested Fulop`s reactions from the edge of the area but the keeper was again equal to it and the sides went in goalless at the break.
John Brayford made a vital interception in the opening minutes of the second half to deny Priskin as he closed on goal and Tomasz Cywka threatened at the other end when he escaped down the right only for Gareth McAuley to take the ball off James Bailey`s toe as he look set to score and clear to safety. The visitors` continued on the front foot and took the lead just before the hour mark when Commons` free kick from thirty yards took a deflection off the Ipswich wall and flew beyond Fulop into the far corner.
Ipswich very nearly struck back immediately when the ball broke for Priskin inside the area but Fielding made an outstanding reaction save to push the ball to safety. Roy Keane rang the changes as he looked to engineer a way back into the match for his side with Jamie Peters, Andros Townesend and Jason Scotland coming on for Gareth McAuley, Carlos Edwards and Jake Livermore respectively all in the space of a ten minute spell. Scotland was next to threaten with twenty minutes on the clock but his half-volley was well saved by Fielding who was proving equal to anything Ipswich could throw at him.
Kris Commons tied up the points five minutes later sweeping home from six-yards after good work from Moxey down the left as he fought to keep possession before cutting the ball back to the Scottish international for his second of the night. Commons was withdrawn almost immediately with Saturday in mind and Stephen Pearson took his place in midfield. By this point Kuqi had also been replaced with Miles Addison again being given a run out for the closing moments. Moxey cleared a late Priskin effort off the line and Scotland brought a save out of Fielding as Ipswich enjoyed some late pressure but The Rams held on to claim the victory and maintain fourth place in the table.
Ipswich Town: Fulop, McAuley (Peters 68), Delaney, Leadbitter, Edwards (Townsend 68), Wickham, Livermore (Scotland 60), Priskin, Smith, Eastman, Colback
Subs: Murphy, Murray, Kennedy, O'Dea
Derby County: Fielding, Brayford, Barker, Moxey, Pringle (O'Brien 89), Savage, Bailey, Cywka, Green, Commons (Pearson 77), Kuqi (Addison 73)
Subs: Deeney, Doyle, Martin, Roberts