Fantastic goals from Izzy Brown and Christopher Schindler sealed a well-deserved home win over Ipswich Town at the John Smith’s Stadium on a chilly January afternoon.
Brown broke the deadlock with a splendid first goal in the opening 45 minutes before centre back Schindler netted his second goal against the Tractor Boys this season in front of just over 19,000 fans.
That completed a first double over Ipswich since the 1996/97 season as David Wagner’s men bounced back from a first defeat in nine games in style.
Ipswich started the game well, pressing the Terriers high up the pitch as they tried to play out. As early as the second minute, the pressure saw the returning Jonathan Hogg trip dangerman Tom Lawrence on the edge of the box; thankfully the Leicester loanee’s free kick was tame and easy pickings for Danny Ward.
However, Wagner’s men settled into their Terriers Identity and started to control the game. Another player returning from injury, Rajiv van La Parra, forced Gerken into his first work with a tame shot in the 11th minute before one of the Championship’s most dangerous pairings – Smith and Kachunga – almost combined to score another goal, with the German’s header being tipped over by the goalkeeper.
Town fans in the Britannia Rescue Stand wanted a penalty for a possible handball in the box in the 20th minute as a defender blocked another effort from the lively van La Parra, but Town kept the ball alive and Brown chipped a cross onto Kachunga’s head that the Ingolstadt loanee headed over; his blushes being spared by the Assistant Referee’s flag.
The Terriers’ crossing kept Ipswich’s defenders on their toes throughout the first half, with another Brown pull-back finding Nahki Wells leading to another sharp block as the Bermudian pulled the trigger on his left foot.
Ipswich’s January recruit Jordan Spence, playing right wing back, caused a threat on occasion; the first being a low cross that Smith saw wide just after the half hour mark.
Phil Billing had his best game of the season in the heart of Town’s midfield and he started another move three minutes later, finding van La Parra on the left. He stood up a good cross to the back post where Kachunga outmuscled left back Knudsen to get the header in, but Gerken pounced upon it with ease.
The breakthrough eventually came in the 41st minute – and was well worth the wait.
Chelsea loanee Brown – playing in the number 10 role in the absence of the suspended Jack Payne and injured Kasey Palmer – received a pass and turned beautifully in one motion to run away from Dozzell just inside the Ipswich half. He assessed his options as he advanced on the penalty area before curling a seemingly effortless shot around the stationary Gerken for his first goal in Town’s blue and white stripes.
Town continued to control the game in the second half and the next goal followed just before the hour mark. Löwe’s free kick after a Bru foul was initially cleared, but Schindler kept it alive and found van La Parra.
His reverse pass allowed Billing to stride forward and drive a powerful low shot goalwards that was well saved by Gerken, but Schindler reacted to steer a left-footed effort into the roof of the net for his first goal on home soil.
Ipswich’s best chance came through Spence’s work down the right two minutes later. After playing a one-two to get around van La Parra, he skipped past Schindler’s challenge – only to drive the ball wide of the far post again.
At two goals down, Mick McCarthy started throwing on forwards, with Kieffer Moore and Brett Pitman joining the fray. However, the flow of the game didn’t change; instead Kachunga miscued a header just wide but van La Parra had similar luck with a shot.
Ipswich went long in a final throw of the dice with 10 minutes to go, with centre back Paul Digby to head a corner wide from a very narrow angle.
Michael Hefele should have done better with a gilt-edged chance with nine minutes left, missing his header entirely when completely unmarked in the middle of the Ipswich box from Kachunga’s lifted ball.
Moore tested Ward with a low shot as the minutes ticked down and Jonathan Douglas should have done better, with his poor touch seeing a chance evaporate as Schindler’s defensive header landed in the middle of the box.
Overall, Town kept hold of the ball well to see out the game and compete a first league win by over a one goal margin in the season.
Town’s team (4-2-3-1):
Danny Ward; Chris Löwe, Christopher Schindler, Michael Hefele, Tommy Smith (c); Philip Billing, Jonathan Hogg (Dean Whitehead, 85’); Rajiv van La Parra, Izzy Brown (Joe Lolley, 76’), Elias Kachunga; Nahki Wells (Mark Hudson, 89’)
Joel Coleman, Harry Bunn, Martin Cranie, Jon Gorenc Stanković