Ipswich 0-2 Middlesbrough: Boro cruise to victory
Mo Besic and Stewart Downing score as Middlesbrough win at Portman Road.
Last Updated: 02/10/18 11:01pm
Middlesbrough climbed a place to second in the Sky Bet Championship table with a 2-0 victory over Ipswich.
The goals came during a four-minute spell in the first half from Mo Besic and Stewart Downing, and resulted in the home side remaining in the bottom three.
The win for Boro ended the hosts' unbeaten home record for the season and left them still waiting for their first win of the campaign.
Both sides were playing fluent football in the opening 10 minutes but failed to create any clear-cut chances until midfielder Besic put the visitors in front in the 12th minute.
Ipswich were caught upfield following an attack and the Bosnian player picked the ball up on the halfway line and made his way towards the visitors' penalty area. His initial shot was blocked by former Shrewsbury defender Toto Nsiala but Besic collected the rebound to comfortably stride forward and beat Town 'keeper Dean Gerken.
Ipswich were the makers of their own downfall four minutes later following some wretched defending. Skipper Luke Chambers played the ball straight to Downing 30 yards from goal. The Middlesbrough winger then shot from just inside the penalty area and his effort took a faint deflection off Janoi Donacien to end up in the net.
The North East side were dominating the play as the first half drew to a close but in the 42nd minute Ipswich almost pulled a goal back. It followed a high cross from the right by Accrington loanee Donacien which was headed just over the bar by full-back Jonas Knudsen.
Ipswich introduced Freddie Sears for Kayden Jackson and Gwion Edwards for Jordan Graham at the start of the second half and almost reduced the arrears in the 47th minute when a cross from the right by Donacien was headed narrowly wide by Shrewsbury signing Jon Nolan. Then Sears latched onto a through ball from Grant Ward three minutes later and fired just over Darren Randolph's goal.
Ward failed to connect with a penetrating cross from Trevoh Chalobah in the 59th minute. A minute later Middlesbrough defender Daniel Ayala's header from a corner was cleared off the line by Cole Skuse before West Ham loanne Jordan Hugill's shot went just wide of Gerken's left-hand post.
Jinking play by Edwards on the edge of the penalty area in the 72nd minute resulted in the ball rebounding to Chalobah, whose shot from outside the penalty area was turned round the left-hand post by Randolph.
There were big cheers from the home fans when Andre Dozzell came on to replace Nolan and another fizzing cross by Donacien in the 79th minute just evaded raiding full back Knudsen.
Chambers came to the rescue of the Town defence and Edwards' shot from just outside the penalty area in the 87th minute was goalbound but struck Skuse and went wide.
Paul Hurst: "Overall I'm pleased with some of the character shown in the second half but I can't keep saying that. It was far too easy and you don't want to give them goals to start with, certainly not against a team with the defensive record that they have, and it made it very difficult for the players.
"The atmosphere changes and it's a very difficult night and that was the message at half-time, you are really going to have to stand up - and in fairness we had a couple of good individual performances. We're now on to Saturday and we need people to really step up."
Tony Pulis: "It was as good as we have played all season. The big disappointment was that we got sloppy in the second half Ipswich got the ball up the sides in the second half and I knew this was going to be more of a football game with a slick, quick pitch.
"The team has done absolutely fantastic when you think we are through to the last 16 of the Carabao Cup and a couple of points away from Leeds. I am really pleased."