Championship - Ipswich master snow to beat Leicester
Ipswich Town gave their manager Roy Keane a major boost with an emphatic 3-0 win over Leicester City in a snow-interrupted match at Portman Road.
The home side grabbed the lead after just six minutes through captain Andy Norris, before a Jason Scotland double sent them in 3-0 up at half-time.
An army of ground staff flooded onto the pitch at during the break to clear the lines and goal areas, though the snow continued to fall heavily, turning the rest of the pitch into a giant white carpet.
After a largely uneventful start to the second half, referee Stuart Attwell brought play to a halt for a further 15 minutes to allow the ground staff to clear the lines once again, much to Ipswich manager Roy Keane’s annoyance, though following that the Warwickshire official then signalled for play to continue, prompting a huge roar from the Portman Road faithful.
Curtis Davies thought he had given his side hope of an unlikely comeback after volleying home soon after the restart, only for the effort to be ruled out for offside.
The result sees Ipswich move up to 17th, six points clear of the relegation zone, and just one place behind Leicester.
Having lost ten of their previous 13 matches, much of the pre-match attention had been centred around the position of Roy Keane as Ipswich manager, though his side looked the hungrier right from the very start, and made their superiority count after just six minutes when Rory Fallon cushioned a ball perfectly into the path of Norris, who drilled the ball home through a pack of bodies in the Leicester area.
Fallon almost went from hero to villain after heading the ball onto his own post from a dangerous Leicester free-kick soon after, though the Foxes struggled to create anything from open play, with Darius Vassell looking isolated in attack.
Ipswich doubled their lead on 27 minutes, following a bad mistake from Leicester’s Andy King. The midfielder was caught in possession, and Ipswich moved the ball quickly to Scotland on the left flank, who was afforded time to stride forward before drilling a low shot into the bottom right-hand corner.
The match was effectively wrapped up five minutes before half-time when Scotland bagged his second of the game, though all of the hard work was done by Shane O’Connor on the left wing. The Irishman beat Kyle Naughton with a beautiful piece of skill, before winning a tussle with Yuki Abe, and squaring a perfect ball for Scotland to smash home from close range at the near post.
The ground staff managed to clear the lines and goal areas to a certain extent at half-time, though within 12 minutes of the restart play was called to a halt in order to allow the pitch to be cleared once again. Arguments and debates ensued on the touchline between coaching staff from both sides, though after 15 minutes play resumed.
Within two minutes Leicester had the ball in the back of the net through Davies, though his well-timed volley was ruled out for a marginal offside decision.
Leicester did enjoy their best spell of the match in the period following the interruption, though they failed to genuinely test Ipswich ‘keeper Marton Fulop, and with 15 minutes to go and a comeback looking almost impossible, their heads began to drop.
Ipswich sent on highly-rated youngster Connor Wickham, and the striker almost set up a fourth for his side, though Norris was inches away from connecting with the youngster’s ball across goal.
Kirkland then denied Grant Leadbitter, before Leicester substitute Matt Fryatt came as close as any of his team-mates to scoring in injury-time, seeing a low shot curl just the wrong side of the far post.