Fulham triumph over toothless Tractor Boys
Fulham moved to the cusp of the Sky Bet Championship play-off places after cruising to a 2-0 victory over toothless Ipswich at Portman Road.
Chris Martin's exquisite free-kick and Ragnar Sigurdsson's strong downward header was the difference in a match completely dominated by the impressive visitors.
An uneventful opening saw Fulham almost take the lead with 17 minutes on the clock when Stefan Johansen set Floyd Ayite clear but his goalbound shot was brilliantly blocked by Ipswich centre-back Christophe Berra.
They went even closer when Johansen and Scott Malone combined with the latter's cross poked goalwards by Chris Martin, but Bartosz Bialkowski did brilliantly to save with his feet.
The ensuing corner found Kevin McDonald at the far post but he scuffed a close-range shot wide under heavy pressure from Cole Skuse.
The possession, and pressure, finally counted for the visitors when Martin curled a delightful free-kick into the bottom corner from 25 yards out.
Martin and Johansen then combined to tee up Sone Aluko, whose goalbound shot was blocked by Jonas Knudsen before another dangerous corner was once again almost seized upon by McDonald, who was blocked in the six-yard box.
Ipswich's best chance of the half came in the final minute, from a Fulham player, when away defender Michael Madl met Tom Lawrence's cross and his header towards his own goal was pushed around the post by the diving David Button.
Ipswich boss Mick McCarthy responded to a woeful first-half performance by introducing David McGoldrick and Leon Best at half-time and switching to 3-5-2.
But it was the visitors who almost made it two in the 59th minute when Adam Webster's ball out of defence was charged down by Aluko, allowing Ayite to round Bialkowski, but the angle was against him.
Freddie Sears and Knudsen combined to cause a rare moment of panic in the Fulham box soon after but the impressive Malone cleared.
The visitors should have wrapped up the victory with 21 minutes left when Malone and Johansen exchanged passes before the midfielder's low cross found the unmarked Ayite who somehow missed the near post.
Fulham always looked the most likely to add to their tally but Ayite was again guilty of missing a golden chance after a quick break saw him released smartly by Denis Odoi, but his shot was hit straight at Bialkowski.
Minutes later, the second goal finally came when Johansen's corner was met by substitute Sigurdsson, who found the bottom corner with a strong header.
Tom Cairney had a smart 20-yard shot stopped at the second attempt by Bialkowski, with the Ipswich keeper also denying Martin in stoppage time as Ipswich were roundly booed at the final whistle.
Source : PA