David McGoldrick came off the bench to ease the pressure on Ipswich manager Mick McCarthy in Saturday’s Championship action.
Having opened the scoring, Ipswich were pegged back to 1-1 at Wigan when McCarthy turned to McGoldrick.
Things got worse before they got better as the Latics struck again but McGoldrick then got to work, teeing up Brett Pitman for the equaliser before securing a vital 3-2 victory with a glancing header two minutes from the end.
The dramatic win lifted Ipswich eight points clear of the drop zone and McCarthy admitted it was a big three points. “If we’d have lost that our demeanour would have been so different,” he said. “Our fans would have rightly been thinking: ‘We’re in a relegation scrap’. Now we’re on 28 points and it all looks a better place.”
Reflecting on Ipswich’s overall form this season, McCarthy added: “We’ve not been that far away. We’ve not been great, but we’ve not been rubbish either. It looked today like it was going to go against us again, but if it’s the team spirit and togetherness that’s got us through then great.” The former Ireland boss played down the criticism he received from the travelling fans when Ipswich fell behind.
“They’ve been giving me stick for months,” he said. “That doesn’t have me breaking down crying when I go home. I’m doing my best to turn that around. I don’t like producing turgid, horrible displays of football that don’t win games. We’re not doing great and I’m getting a bit of stick, but I probably deserve it.”
Things have gone far more smoothly for Chris Hughton this season and the Brighton boss saw his side dig out another big result on Saturday as they struck twice in the final eight minutes for a 2-1 win over Birmingham.
Victory keeps Brighton within a point of leaders Newcastle and the first two are now nine and eight points clear of third-placed Reading.
“Credit to my players,” Hughton said. “Sometimes when you are winning 1-0 and the opposition come back to 1-1 you see the game out. But there was real momentum on the part of my players to get the winner. We have quality and a great spirit in the team and we continually do what it takes to win away from home.” A header from Alex Pearce 15 minutes from the end rescued a 2-2 draw for Derby at Fulham.
Pearce said: “It was a great ball from Incey (Tom Ince) and I was there to just nod it in. It was a great feeling to get the point in the end because it was a very tough game.
“It was an enjoyable moment. They don’t come around too often for me, but when they do I make sure that I enjoy it.”
Joy quickly turned to despair for Anthony Pilkington in Cardiff’s clash with Barnsley. He thought he had rescued a point for the Bluebirds when he made it 3-3 after 88 minutes but there was a sting in the tale as Barnsley struck a dramatic late winner deep into stoppage time.
Elsewhere, a Paddy Madden brace inspired Scunthorpe to a 3-0 win that lifted them back them back to the top of League One while, in League Two, James Collins netted in Crawley’s 3-1 win over Newport.
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