Ipswich climb via Clapham

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The Independent Online

George Burley was the first to remind his players of the rigours that certainly lie ahead as they seek a foothold in the Premiership but there was no hiding the smile of satisfaction illuminating the Ipswich manager's face after Jamie Clapham's 89th-minute free- kick made victory secure. After three consecutive away wins and five matches unbeaten, Burley's well-organised newcomers now rub shoulders with the top six.

George Burley was the first to remind his players of the rigours that certainly lie ahead as they seek a foothold in the Premiership but there was no hiding the smile of satisfaction illuminating the Ipswich manager's face after Jamie Clapham's 89th-minute free- kick made victory secure. After three consecutive away wins and five matches unbeaten, Burley's well-organised newcomers now rub shoulders with the top six.

They were forced to defend desperately in the second half as Bradford sought to cancel out Dan Petrescu's first-half own goal but eventually the home side's efforts fizzled out and their supporters' urgings turned to boos. Clapham put the issue beyond doubt when he curled a left-foot shot beyond the defensive wall and Matt Clarke's dive.

Ipswich had arrived as favourites, a reflection in part of Bradford's poor start but also of their own promising one. Theirs was the more inventive football yesterday, although the home side's more muscular approach threatened to disturb their composure. Bradford's game was one-dimensional, seemingly designed to exploit the strength of Dean Windass and Ashley Ward rather than the more intricate skills of Benito Carbone, who continues to look forlornly out of place.

Although they battled with characteristic vigour, Bradford made only one clear chance before half-time and while Ipswich were fortunate in the manner of the goal they were not undeserving after Marcus Stewart, Clapham and Jermaine Wright had all threatened Matt Clarke's goal. After Carbone had given away the ball in midfield, Matt Holland sprinted away down the left and though what followed was obviously a cross Petrescu's outstretched foot turned it into a goal.

Bradford did improve. Indeed, in the second period there were times the Ipswich goal was under siege and some inspirational defending revealed Herman Hreidarsson and John McGreal as a formidable barrier in the middle.

Richard Wright was needed when Stuart McCall unleashed a rising drive from 25 yards and when Carbone, at last making an impression, uncoiled a bicycle kick, although the Italian squandered his best chance, set up by Windass, by dragging his shot wide.

But Ipswich countered with a header from David Johnson stunningly saved by Clarke before Clapham deepened Bradford's gloom and sent fledgling manager Chris Hutchings away to wonder what the future holds for him after winning only one match in 10.

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