Ipswich 1 Barnsley 0
Ipswich extended their unbeaten home run to eight matches as Daryl Murphy’s second-half strike earned them victory over Barnsley in the npower Championship.
Paul Jewell’s side were in control for large spells against an off-form Tykes outfit who struggled to threaten at all until late in the game.
When the sides met at Oakwell in December there were goals aplenty as Ipswich fought back from 2-0 down to win 5-3. There was no sign of a repeat on this occasion as the hosts, despite having most of the possession, were largely restricted to long-range shots before the break.
Jay Emmanuel-Thomas struck an ambitious early effort which Jimmy McNulty bravely blocked behind for a corner. Andy Drury’s delivery found Damien Delaney but his header drifted wide.
Emmanuel-Thomas was in the thick of the action again moments later when he volleyed Aaron Cresswell’s cross just wide of the target.
The Tractor Boys continued with their shoot-on-sight policy as Lee Martin, Emmanuel-Thomas and Drury all tried their luck from distance but David Button was only called into action once.
Midway through the half the lively Emmanuel-Thomas found himself in space from Drury’s corner but Scott Wiseman was alert to block his goalbound header.
With Barnsley struggling to retain possession the home side continued to press forward and when Drury’s cross found Murphy, the Irishman fired an acrobatic effort just over the bar from the heart of the penalty area.
A rare foray forward for the Tykes ended fruitlessly as David Cotterill failed to work Arran Lee-Barrett with a 20-yard drive.
Keith Hill was forced to make a change before half-time when Matty Done limped off to be replaced by Kallum Higginbotham.
Three minutes after the interval Jewell’s side claimed a deserved lead. Michael Chopra teed up Murphy and he found the bottom corner with a left-footed strike from the edge of the box.
They almost doubled their advantage before the hour when Emmanuel-Thomas rattled the bar from 35 yards before seeing another long-range strike fly just over.
The beleaguered Tykes initially offered little by way of a response and Craig Davies’ wayward shot never looked likely to threaten.
Better efforts followed in the 76th minute when, in quick succession, Frank Nouble and Davies tested Lee-Barrett but he was equal to the challenge on both occasions.
Ipswich comfortably saw out the remainder of the game as their visitors succumbed to their fifth defeat in six matches.