Ipswich 0-2 Middlesbrough: David Nugent strikes again to seal win
By Allan Valente
Last Updated: 05/12/15 1:16pm
David Nugent's incredible goalscoring run against Ipswich helped Middlesbrough to a 2-0 win at Portman Road, moving them top of the Sky Bet Championship.
Boro took advantage of playing before their promotion rivals this weekend with an assured second-half display that play-off hopefuls Town had no answer to.
Christian Stuani broke the deadlock in the 53rd minute, before Nugent scored his 15th goal in 14 career matches against Ipswich to make the game safe.
A dominant second-half performance by the visitors was in stark contrast to a tight first 45 minutes which saw neither side give an inch.
Half chances were shared as Nugent and Stuani both failed to trouble Dean Gerken, while at the other end Brett Pitman's long range effort was held by Dimitrios Konstantopoulos.
In the 23rd minute, Ipswich fashioned the game's first real chance when Pitman shared passes with Daryl Murphy but his shot from 20 yards was beaten away by Konstantopoulos.
Five minutes later, Town went even closer when Pitman turned provider. His deep cross was poked goalwards by Luke Chambers, but the Ipswich skipper's shot was straight at the relieved Boro goalkeeper.
A minute after the re-start, Ipswich again went close when Ben Gibson's sloppy pass was picked up by the impressive Ainsley Maitland-Niles.
His cross was missed by Daniel Ayala but Pitman's downward header lacked power.
Moments later, the visitors almost took the lead when Stewart Downing's cross was headed back by Albert Adomah and Grant Leadbitter's fierce, close-range shot was brilliantly deflected away by the alert Gerken.
It was Boro who broke the deadlock in the 53rd minute when Adomah found some space on the left-hand side before his dangerous cross was headed in at the back post by Stuani, despite the best efforts of Gerken.
Middlesbrough were bossing proceedings and Downing had Gerken sprawling to his left on two separate occasions before the visitors deservedly doubled their lead.
Downing's incisive pass inside found Nugent but the striker still had a lot to do, with his low shot taking a slight deflection off Tommy Smith before finding the net via the inside of the post.
Ipswich went close to pulling a goal back when Chambers' cross was met by the head of his fellow full back Jonas Knudsen, but Konstantopoulos was again equal to it.
Four minutes from time, it was almost three when Downing cut inside but his shot to the far corner was brilliantly tipped away and Nugent was unable to gobble up the rebound.
Adomah then should have added another but his shot was cleared off the line by Chambers.
Middlesbrough manager Aitor Karanka was delighted with his side's victory.
He said: "It was an amazing win. We haven't won here since March 1993 and Ipswich were the better team in the first half when they were comfortable, played with more intensity and had the better chances.
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"If they had scored the first goal, we would have had a problem. But we played better in the second half and we controlled the game."
Ipswich boss Mick McCarthy added: "They [Middlesbrough] are a very good side and will be competing for a top two place at the end of the season."