How the Irish fared: Murphy and Tabb make McCarthy happy

Goals from Daryl Murphy and Jay Tabb gave Mick McCarthy an early Christmas present on Saturday as a 2-0 win over fellow promotion hopefuls Middlesbrough lifted Ipswich to second in the Championship.

How the Irish fared: Murphy and Tabb make McCarthy happy

Murphy, the Championship’s leading marksman, grabbed his 14th of the season after 25 minutes before the diminutive Tabb headed home a second on the stroke of half-time.

“If I had been asked what I wanted for Christmas, then three points today would have been the answer,” McCarthy said.

“Tabby’s goal was awesome, but he is excellent in the air. He could have left in the summer, but he said he wanted to stay and I am delighted he has. His attitude has been fantastic.”

Tabb said: “The lads are all giving me a friendly bit of stick for my goal and it’s not often I score with my head! But despite my height I’ve always had a good leap on me.”

McCarthy characteristically refused to get carried away by Ipswich’s form but spoke of his pride at their current position.

“It’s nice to be in the top two but there are 24 games left so we will keep going and see what happens,” he said.

The former Republic of Ireland boss was less pleased with referee James Linington after the official booked David McGoldrick for simulation when he should instead have awarded a penalty. “It was disgusting decision to book Didz (McGoldrick). It was a stonewall penalty,” McCarthy fumed.

Bournemouth continue to lead the way in the Championship, with former Republic of Ireland U19 midfielder Harry Arter scoring for the third successive weekend in the 6-1 rout of lowly Blackpool.

Brentford climbed to third after a 3-2 win at Cardiff but saw Jonathan Douglas forced off with a calf injury. Goalkeeper Darren Randolph kept another clean sheet as Birmingham’s renaissance continued with a 1-0 win at Huddersfield.

In League One, it was a weekend to forget for Derrick Williams as the defender was sent off for two bookable offences in Bristol City’s 1-0 defeat to Crewe. The Robins remain top despite the defeat but that fact won’t spare Williams a fine.

Furious Bristol City boss Steve Cotterill said: “Derrick Williams deserved to be sent off because it was stupid of him to go to ground after he’d already been booked. It was stupid and it was lazy – he’ll be fined and punished for it.”

It was a happier weekend for Conor Hourihane as his 10th goal of the season paved the way for Barnsley to Leyton Orient 2-0.

Elsewhere, Jimmy Ryan hit the winner as Chesterfield beat Gillingham 3-2. John Egan was among the scorers for the Gills.

Darren Potter was one of six different scorers as MK Dons hammered Oldham 7-0 to climb to second.

Conor Henderson was another Irish player on the scoresheet but his late effort proved a mere consolation as Crawley lost 2-1 at home to Port Vale.

It was a quiet weekend for the Irish in League Two although Sean Maguire did score in Accrington Stanley’s 1-1 draw with Wycombe.

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