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Ipswich Town’s lead on third-placed Leeds United cut as Kieran McKenna’s side blown away at Elland Road





Ipswich Town saw the gap to third in the Championship cut to seven points as Leeds United thrashed the Blues 4-0 at Elland Road.

Pascal Struijk, a Leif Davis own-goal and Crysencio Summerville set the hosts on their way with goals in the first-half to put the result beyond doubt by the halfway stage.

The dominant nature of the game continued in the second-half, where Joel Piroe was on target as the West Yorkshiremen romped to their 10th win in 14 matches in style.

Leif Davis scored an own goal at Elland Road Picture: Barry Goodwin
Leif Davis scored an own goal at Elland Road Picture: Barry Goodwin

In what was comfortably the Blues’ worst performance under Kieran McKenna, the Suffolk side failed to register a shot on target as they suffered only their second defeat in 19 league games.

Town boss McKenna made one change from the East Anglian derby draw with Norwich City last weekend. That came in defence, with Axel Tuanzebe replacing Luke Woolfenden.

Dominic Ball replaced Dane Scarlett on the bench in what was the only change to the matchday squad.

Ipswich Town were left frustrated at Elland Road as they could not register a shot on target Picture: Barry Goodwin
Ipswich Town were left frustrated at Elland Road as they could not register a shot on target Picture: Barry Goodwin

Captain Sam Morsy was making his 100th league appearance for the club, while his midfield partner Massimo Luongo made his 50th Town appearance.

Leeds manager Daniel Farke, who has never lost to the Blues, named an unchanged team from his side’s home draw with Coventry City last Saturday.

Inside the opening 30 seconds, the Whites thought Dan James was through on goal after being sent away by Georginio Rutter, but the Welsh international was flagged for offside.

That got the home crowd, already lively after a rendition of Marching on Together, well up for the occasion.

Ipswich Town fell to their third defeat of the campaign Picture: Barry Goodwin
Ipswich Town fell to their third defeat of the campaign Picture: Barry Goodwin

The Elland Road faithful were soon celebrating the opener. Vaclav Hladky produced a superb initial save to deny Piroe from a corner, but Whites captain Struijk headed home the rebound.

The Suffolk side, who have conceded the most goals in the division in the opening 15 minutes, once again found themselves on the wrong end against the side who have scored the most.

Leeds, with their tales up, again utilised the pace of James down the right but his promising run ended in a rushed effort being slammed over the bar.

Ipswich Town are now seven points ahead of third-placed Leeds United Picture: Barry Goodwin
Ipswich Town are now seven points ahead of third-placed Leeds United Picture: Barry Goodwin

Town were looking to Wes Burns to get crosses into the box at every opportunity, Joe Rodon cleaning up the danger whenever called upon as the Blues searched for their first effort on goal.

That effort came on 23 minutes after Ethan Ampadu had fouled Conor Chaplin on the edge of the box. Advantage was played and Nathan Broadhead fired just wide of Illan Meslier’s goal.

Three minutes later, the Whites doubled their lead. Summerville got past Morsy and Harry Clarke far too easily before his cutback was turned into his own net by former Leeds full-back Davis.

Within a minute of the goal, the Blues were the woodwork away from an instant response. Davis’ ball across found Chaplin on the edge of the area, who rifled a right-footed effort against the outside of the post.

Clarke was the first man into book of referee Stephen Martin for a handball when Summerville was in space behind.

The first Leeds yellow card of the afternoon then went the way of James for bringing down Davis as Town looked to break at pace.

Luongo produced a superb lunging tackle to relieve the danger after James, who looked a constant threat, broke through in a central position.

Moments before half-time, things got worse for Town as the hosts were awarded a penalty. Davis’ afternoon got no better as he brought down Summerville after James had played him through in the area and the referee was pointing to the spot.

The Whites’ top scorer got up himself made no mistake from 12 yards for his 11th goal of the season, leaving the Blues three behind at half-time.

And within three minutes of the restart, it could easily have been four as Leeds continued their dominance. Piroe’s powerful effort smashed the underside of the bar after Rutter had broken away from Tuanzebe.

Soon enough, the Whites struck again. Record signing Rutter won the ball after some lacklustre defending from Tuanzebe, then Piroe danced his way past Clarke and found the bottom corner.

Tuanzebe was booked for fouling Summerville on the edge of the area, after the Dutchman had raced beyond him.

The Blues continued to be frustrated, with Broadhead the next in the book for a late lunge on Archie Gray.

Town skipper Morsy, a booking away from a two-game suspension and in the thick of things all afternoon, was taken off for Ball on 67 minutes.

George Hirst, Broadhead and Burns were also withdrawn for Kayden Jackson, Marcus Harness and Omari Hutchinson.

Once again, the woodwork was struck and once again it was Leeds. Djed Spence played it back for Rutter, whose effort deflected off the crossbar as the Whites searched for a fifth.

Davis’ disastrous return to Elland Road was brought to an end with six minutes remaining as he was replaced by Brandon Williams in Town’s final change.

Ball was booked for fouling Leeds substitute Wilfried Gnonto on the halfway line in the closing moments of the contest.

Five additional minutes came and went before the final whistle put Town out of their misery, marking the heaviest defeat in McKenna’s two years in charge.

The Blues, still with a healthy buffer inside the top two at Christmas, return to Portman Road on Boxing Day evening to take on league leaders Leicester City having now reached the halfway point of the Championship season.

Leeds United (4-2-3-1): Meslier; Spence (Firpo 73), Struijk (c), Rodon, Gray; Kamara (Gruev 73), Ampadu; Summerville, Piroe (Bamford 82), James (Gnonto 61); Rutter (Joseph 82). Subs: Darlow, Cooper, Poveda, Gelhardt.

Booked: James.

Ipswich Town (4-2-3-1): Hladky; Davis (Williams 84), Burgess, Tuanzebe, Clarke; Luongo, Morsy (c) (Ball 67); Broadhead (Harness 67), Chaplin, Burns (Hutchinson 67); Hirst (Jackson 67). Subs: Walton, Woolfenden, Ladapo, Taylor.

Booked: Clarke, Tuanzebe, Broadhead, Ball.

Referee: Stephen Martin (Staffordshire).

Attendance: 36,758.