Ipswich battle back to thwart Yeovil after Grant put them ahead
Ipswich Town 2 Yeovil Town 1
Two goals in nine second-half minutes earned Ipswich Town a deserved – but fortuitous – Championship victory over Yeovil Town, ending any brief hope of an unlikely away win.
Joel Grant had given the Glovers a stunning interval lead with a 20-yard pile-driver for his first strike in green and white hoops, coming against the club that also courted his interest in the summer.
However, first Daryl Murphy and then Aaron Cresswell enjoyed the rub of the green that Mick McCarthy's men had lacked in the opening 45 minutes to register a lead more befitting of the hosts' attacking superiority.
Byron Webster served the first of a three-match ban for his red card at Sheffield Wednesday, Liam Fontaine replacing him at the heart of the Yeovil defence.
Although taking time to threaten, Ipswich started brightly and took little time to ensure they were bossing the tempo of the game and their opposition.
Their first genuine chance came on 17 minutes when David McGoldrick was afforded a yard on the edge of the box and casually side-stepped Danny Seaborne.
The striker brought a fine diving save from Wayne Hennessey, who gathered at the second attempt.
Yeovil responded almost immediately when Luke Ayling's deep free-kick was half-cleared by the hosts and Grant saw his shot deflected behind. Ed Upson's corner was poor but the ball came straight back at Ipswich and Andy Williams was inches away from the final ball.
On 29 minutes McGoldrick was again the thorn in Yeovil's side, jinking down the right wing before cutting infield and sending a rasping drive inches beyond the far post.
Ryan Tunnicliffe skipped past Upson on the left after 34 minutes, picking out Murphy.
Unfortunately the striker delayed his shot, allowing Seaborne to get back into position and block.
Moments after Ipswich headed wide from the corner, Aaron Cresswell drilled straight at Hennessey from distance.
However, it would be the Glovers who would break the deadlock in stunning style two minutes before the interval. With the small but hearty travelling faithful imploring someone to shoot, Grant duly did, giving former Bristol City goalkeeper Dean Gerken no chance with a rasping drive from 25 yards.
Buoyed by the goal, Yeovil were the quickest out of the blocks in the second half, Williams latching on to a fine through ball only to shoot into the side-netting.
Space opened up for Luke Hyam to shoot from 20 yards on 49 minutes, Fontaine's unconventional block with his head, having thrown his body into the line of fire, preventing it from testing Hennessey.
Ipswich's deserved goal finally arrived on 52 minutes as they stretched the visitors.
A cross from the right was headed back across goal and when Murphy's initial header bounced off the turf and against the crossbar, he made no mistake with the close-range rebound.
They then forged ahead nine minutes thanks to a combination of luck and second-best defending.
Cresswell's run into the box was picked out by an accurate pass and when his fizzed cross came back to him he reacted quickest to powerfully side-foot home.
On 77 minutes Hyam nearly caught out Hennessey from 18 yards, his shot initially spilled but then falling kindly back into the keeper's arms.
Substitute Kieffer Moore was adjudged to get the final touch on a whipped 81st-minute free-kick as Murphy towered above the Glovers' defence.
The same attacker was then one of three hosts to step ahead of a dormant Yeovil back line, only denied by Hennessey's superb reaction save.
Gerken thwarted Yeovil's last chance in the dying minutes, getting his body behind Joe Ralls' shot from inside the box after Williams had broke to the byline and crossed.
Ipswich Town (4-4-2): Gerken; Chambers, Smith, Berra, Cresswell; C Edwards, Skuse, Hyam, Tunnicliffe (Tabb 78); McGoldrick, Murphy. Substitutes (not used): Loach (gk), Hewitt, Wordsworth, Veseli, Taylor, Nouble.
Goals: Murphy 52, Cresswell 61.
Yeovil Town (4-4-2): Hennessey; Ayling, Fontaine, Seaborne, McAllister; Grant (Hoskins 78), Upson, J Edwards (Davis 70), Ralls; Hayter (Moore 62), Williams. Substitutes (not used): Dunn (gk), Dawson, Foley, Nana.
Goal: Grant 43.
Referee: Darren Deadman (Peterborough).