Ipswich Town 2 Blackpool 1: Sumulikoski adds lift to Ipswich's forward drive

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Velice Sumulikoski, the Ipswich Town midfielder, seems to have found a perfect excuse for not driving to work on match-day mornings.

The Macedonian international scored the opening goal in this win over a tough Blackpool side and then gave credit to his "unofficial taxi driver".

The £600,000 purchase from the Turkish side Bursaspor, making his first home start since his move last month, ran to the bench to celebrate, not to embrace his manager, Jim Magilton, but the reserve goalkeeper Nick Colgan, who had offered him a lift to Portman Road that morning.

"I came with Nick to the ground and there was a little bit of banter between us," Sumulikoski said. "He said that he wanted me to score in the game, so this is why I ran over to him. I will now go to every game with him."

The striker Jon Walters scored the second to seal an enjoyable victory which, though Paul Dickov pulled a goal back late on, should be credited to a team effort by an Ipswich side high on confidence and playing attractive football.

"I came here because I like English football and I know that Ipswich has a long history," said Sumulikoski. "It has always been an ambition to come to England and I was excited when I heard that Ipswich wanted to sign me."

The home side were unchanged after winning at Crystal Palace and the visitors' hopes were torn asunder in the opening half-hour, when their central defenders, Ian Evatt and Michael Jackson, were injured.

Still, the second half was five minutes old by the time Ipswich took the lead, Danny Haynes finding Alan Lee who, with his back to goal, set up Sumulikoski's rasping drive. Walters added a second on 58 minutes, outmuscling Keith Southern before slotting the ball home. Dickov, Blackpool's veteran striker, rounded Stephen Bywater in the final minute to pull a goal back, but by then Ipswich were home and dry.

Magilton noted with pleasure that his players "were starting to believe in themselves" and that a play-off place, or even an automatic promotion spot, is now possible.

"The aim at the start of the season is to finish in the top six," added the defender Jason de Vos. "As you get nearer the end of the season, you think maybe we can nick one of those top two places. That is in our sights now."

Goals: Sumulikoski (50) 1-0; Walters (58) 2-0; Dickov (89) 2-1.

Ipswich Town (4-4-2): Bywater; Bruce, Naylor, De Vos, Harding; Norris, Sumulikoski, Miller, Haynes (Quinn, 71); Walters, Lee (Counago, 71). Substitutes not used: Colgan (gk), Garvan, Wright.

Blackpool (4-4-2): Rachubka; Barker, Evatt (Coid, 11), Jackson (Green, 31), Hills; Taylor-Fletcher, Jorgensen, Southern, Hoolahan; Dickov, Burgess (McPhee, 62). Substitutes not used: Gerrard (gk), Morrell.

Referee: F Graham (Essex).

Man of the match: Sumulikoski.

Attendance: 21,059.