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Kieffer Moore adds to own goal as Ipswich Town see off Plymouth Argyle to go back into top two





Kieffer Moore was on target as Ipswich Town gave a huge boost to their automatic promotion chances with a 2-0 victory over Plymouth Argyle at Home Park.

Two second-half goals from the Blues, which began courtesy of a Brendan Galloway own-goal, returned Town to the top two in the Sky Bet Championship table following favourable results elsewhere.

Moore’s fifth goal in seven matches since joining on loan from Bournemouth sealed the deal after a scrappy first half, a result which sees the Blues record five straight second-tier victories for the first time since October 2003.

Kieffer Moore (left) scored his fifth goal in seven matches Picture: Barry Goodwin
Kieffer Moore (left) scored his fifth goal in seven matches Picture: Barry Goodwin

The Blues are now two points clear of third-placed Leeds United, and just three points behind Leicester City following their third defeat in a row.

Town boss Kieran McKenna made three enforced changes to the side that beat Birmingham City last weekend, with Nathan Broadhead and Wes Burns missing with muscle strains and Massimo Luongo out with illness.

They were replaced by Jeremy Sarmiento, Omari Hutchinson and Lewis Travis, with George Edmundson, Dominic Ball and Jack Taylor coming onto the bench.

Axel Tuanzebe, having impressed last time out, started back-to-back league games for the first time and continued at right-back.

Meanwhile, Plymouth head coach Ian Foster named an unchanged line-up from the Pilgrims’ victory at Middlesbrough last Saturday, with former Norwich City midfielder Adam Forshaw returning from injury among the substitutes.

The hosts began the game on the front foot, causing Vaclav Hladky problems inside the first five minutes. Morgan Whittaker’s dangerous cross was punched away by the Czech before he saw Darko Gyabi fire just wide of his near post from the edge of the area.

Moments later, Ryan Hardie latched onto a long ball forward and won the footrace against Hladky in no man’s land, but Tuanzebe did well to deal with the threat.

The Suffolk side threatened for the first time on 14 minutes, when Hutchinson’s left-footed cross was glanced towards the bottom corner by Moore, but Conor Hazard did well to tip behind.

After a quieter period of play, in which a blocked shot from Hutchinson was all to trouble either defence, the Pilgrims created another few openings.

First, Hardie struck a first time effort over the bar from the edge of the area, then the hosts saw a huge chance go begging with Whittaker again at the heartbeat.

Plymouth’s star man found Mickel Miller in acres of space inside the penalty area and his volley beat Hladky, but not Luke Woolfenden, whose last ditch block prevented Argyle from taking the lead.

Moore then wriggled his way through the penalty area before a block deflected off the frontman and into the safe arms of Hazard.

The final action of the half saw Adam Randell’s weak shot on the backfoot cleared away following neat work from Gyabi and Miller, as the two sides went into the interval goalless.

The first action of the second half saw Whittaker fail in an attempt to lob Hladky from 40 yards, moments before a Plymouth corner resulted in somewhat of a scramble but the Blues were able to clear.

Then it was Town’s turn to come forward. Moore exchanged passes with Leif Davis to latch on to the end of a cross and, after winning the aerial duel, the Wales international saw his downward header bounce comfortably for Hazard.

Just before the hour mark, Sarmiento became the first man into the book of referee Josh Smith for a high boot on Julio Pleguezuelo.

Hutchinson’s footwork then created an opening for the Blues as his ball across the face of goal was palmed away by Hazard. Conor Chaplin reacted quickly to head back into Moore, but the final finish was nodded over the crossbar.

Town were ahead in fortunate circumstances on 63 minutes. Sam Morsy’s lay-off to Chaplin allowed him to shoot from outside the box, which cannoned in off Galloway and into his own net, sparking joyous scenes among the 1,700 away fans behind the goal.

Chaplin almost caught out Hazard trying his luck from the halfway line, then Sarmiento was withdrawn for Marcus Harness.

Chaplin was then booked for stopping a breakaway from Galloway, before the Plymouth defender returned the favour and joined him in the book for lunging in on the Town forward as tensions began to rise.

The Blues doubled their lead with little over 15 minutes remaining. After Davis’s deep cross was kept in by Cameron Burgess, Chaplin’s lay-off was slammed home by Moore for his fifth goal since joining the club on loan from Bournemouth on deadline day.

In light of the second goal, Travis was then booked for delaying the restart of a goal kick.

The hosts looked for an immediate response and nearly found it had it not been for Hladky and the woodwork. Miller’s shot was saved low by the Town goalkeeper onto the post before Whittaker fired over.

McKenna turned to his bench again as the game entered the final 10 minutes, replacing Chaplin and Moore with birthday boy Harry Clarke and Ali Al-Hamadi.

The final change in stoppage time saw Travis replaced in midfield by Dominic Ball as Town comfortable saw out the remaining minutes to cap off a near perfect afternoon in Devon.

The Blues begin a busy week as they return to Portman Road on Tuesday to face Bristol City (8pm).

Plymouth Argyle (3-4-2-1): Hazard; Galloway (Phillips 81), Gibson, Pleguezuelo; Miller, Houghton (c) (Forshaw 65), Randell (Devine 81), Sorinola (Edwards 65); Gyabi (Bundu 75), Whittaker; Hardie. Subs: Cooper, Mumba, Sousa, Waine.

Booked: Galloway.

Ipswich Town( 4-2-3-1): Hladky; Davis, Burgess, Woolfenden, Tuanzebe; Travis (Ball 90), Morsy (c); Sarmiento (Harness 68), Chaplin (Clarke 80), Hutchinson; Moore (Al-Hamadi 80). Subs: Walton, Edmundson, Harness, Taylor, Jackson, Humphreys.

Booked: Sarmiento, Chaplin, Travis.

Referee: Josh Smith(Lincolnshire).

Attendance: 16,871 (1,735 Ipswich).

SuffolkNews Man of the Match: Conor Chaplin. Plenty of contenders for a strong second-half display, but Chaplin had a hand in both of the crucial goals at Home Park. His strike deflected off the unfortunate Galloway to give the Blues the lead, and his knock-down led to Moore sealing the points.