Sky Bet Championship: Daryl Murphy brace earns Ipswich 2-1 win at Fulham
Last Updated: 15/02/15 4:54pm
Daryl Murphy scored twice to bring Ipswich to within two points of the automatic promotion places as they secured a deserved 2-1 win over Fulham at Craven Cottage.
With Middlesbrough and Derby's involvement in the FA Cup fifth round this weekend it gave Mick McCarthy's side an opportunity to apply some pressure to the sides above them.
And they managed to achieve it thanks to two strikes from Murphy in the opening half, moving the Republic of Ireland forward's tally to 21 goals so far this campaign.
Fulham grafted manfully in the second half and were rewarded when Ross McCormack scored his 12th goal for the club since making his £11million move from Leeds over the summer.
After an inconsistent run of results in recent weeks, McCarthy will feel that this away victory will underline Ipswich's promotion credentials having bounced back from a defeat at Rotherham with a mid-week victory over Sheffield Wednesday before securing a successive victory here.
Fulham will now feel concerned that they are being dragged back into a relegation scrap and by the time they visit Millwall next Saturday, they will have been without a victory in a month.
Ipswich looked like a side sat fourth in the Championship table from the off, with Freddie Sears shooting straight at Fulham keeper Marcus Bettinelli from 10 yards out after good work down the left from Murphy.
A Sears cross from the right then had to be lifted over his own bar by defender Shaun Hutchinson.
Jay Tabb whipped in the resulting corner and Murphy rose highest and directed his fifth-minute header towards the far post before it squirmed in off Bettinelli.
Fulham grew restless in their pursuit of an equaliser and only succeeded in going close when Scott Parker curled just over the bar from the edge of the box.
And Murphy struck his second with just seconds remaining of the opening 45 minutes as the impressive Tyron Mings crossed from the left and he found space to the right of goal to place his curled effort into the bottom left corner with such precision that Bettinelli did not bother moving.
Fulham looked sharper immediately after the break but failed to channel their enthusiasm into creating any chances of major note, with Hugo Rodallega stretching to head an angled cross from Christensen just over the bar.
However on 74 minutes they were back in the game as Ipswich defender Tommy Smith took an almost inexplicably wild swipe at Konstantinos Stafylidis' cross and McCormack was left with a simple finish from eight yards out.
But it was Ipswich that looked more likely to add get a fourth goal of the game with a miraculous flying goal-line clearance from Stafylidis denying Christophe Berra's close-range drive.