How the Irish fared: Tractor Boys coming unstuck

Daryl Murphy continued the season of his life on Saturday but there’s now a real danger his goals — 23 and counting — will count for little at the end of the campaign.

How the Irish fared: Tractor Boys coming unstuck

Murphy’s close-range effort hauled Ipswich level in Saturday’s Championship clash at Middlesbrough but the hosts hit back to romp to a 4-1 win. The result means third-placed Boro are now one of three teams eight points clear of Mick McCarthy’s men.

And the manager conceded Ipswich’s hopes of automatic promotion are all but over: “I don’t see there’s any chance we’re going to win three games more than all of them.”

The fear now is that unless Ipswich, now seventh, get back on the winning trail quickly or even a play-off spot will be out of reach.

In League One, Conor Hourihane grabbed his 12th goal of the season as Barnsley maintained their play-off charge with a 3-1 win at Oldham.

Hourihane knew little about it as his attempted block struck him and ricocheted into the net. Nevertheless, Barnsley boss Lee Johnson was quick to hail the midfielder’s efforts.

“I thought Conor Hourihane was really assured today. He had a nice calm head when everything was going a bit crazy around him and that was good as he was the catalyst.”

Elsewhere, Jay O’Shea was on the mark in a losing cause as Chesterfield were defeated 3-2 at home to Coventry.

In League Two, a penalty from Damien McCrory put Burton Albion on course for a 3-0 win that lifted them three points clear at the summit.

It was also a good weekend for Barry Corr as his penalty helped Southend to a 3-1 win at Dagenham & Redbridge as they moved to within three points of the third and final promotion spot.

On Friday night, Adam Rooney hit the winner as Aberdeen came from behind to beat Motherwell 2-1 to move within three points of leaders Celtic, for whom Anthony Stokes picked up a League Cup winners’ medal yesterday.

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