Town return to winning ways as Chopra strike sees Mick McCarthy's side see off Blackpool at Portman Road
Michael Chopra came off the bench to score the only goal of the game, as Town beat Blackpool 1-0 at Portman Road.
The striker sprung the offside trap to get on the end of Guirane N’Daw’s ball over the top, before holding off Alex Baptiste and firing emphatically into the bottom corner.
Mick McCarthy made one change to the side that lost to Blackburn last weekend, with Anthony Wordsworth making his first Town start in place of Aaron Mclean.
The game started at a quick pace, with both sides looking to grab a hold of the opening proceedings. However it was the visitors who created the first opening, with Matt Phillips’ cross for Matt Derbyshire expertly turned behind for a corner by Luke Chambers after seven minutes.
Blues did come into the game after that early scare and Wordsworth’s corner was met by Daryl Murphy, but the striker saw his prodded effort towards goal kept out by a fine reaction save from Matt Gilks.
The Celtic loanee then had another good opportunity to score after 18 minutes. A neat flowing move involving Luke Hyam, Wordsworth and David McGoldrick saw the latter play in Murphy, who fired over the bar from a tight angle.
Town went close again after 25 minutes, with more good football allowing Aaron Cresswell space to fire in a cross that Hyam managed to get on the end of, but he smashed his effort wide of the target.
However Blues were almost punished for that miss two minutes later. A superb through ball from the impressive Chris Basham picked out Tiago Gomes who had ran deep from midfield but the midfielder could only watch his shot cannon back off the post.
McCarthy suffered a blow to his plans after 35 minutes though, after the lively Wordsworth was forced to withdraw with a shoulder injury. Michael Chopra replaced the January signing, with Murphy moving out to the left-hand side of midfield.
The visitors were growing in confidence as the half went on and two minutes before the break Matt Derbyshire split the Town defence with a superb pass to find Alex Baptiste but the Tangerines skipper saw his effort flash wide of Stephen Henderson’s far post.
At the other end, a fine stop from Gilks denied Murphy’s left-footed drive on the stroke of half-time before the referee called time on the half with both sides at a stalemate.
However Blues made the perfect start to the second-half, breaking the deadlock just five minutes after the restart.
Substitute Chopra remained alert as Guirane N’Daw pumped a long ball over the top and the striker was onto it like a flash, shrugging off Baptiste before finishing emphatically into the bottom corner, leaving Gilks with no chance.
Chopra was almost presented with a chance to grab another goal after 72 minutes. Good pressure from fellow substitute Frank Nouble saw him steal the ball off a Blackpool defender, but ‘keeper Gilks was just able to gather the ball before Chopra pounced.
Nouble then proved his qualities at the other end, superbly clearing Baptsite’s header off the line with ten minutes remaining to ensure Town’s lead remained intact.
That proved to be the last threatening action of the match as Town held firm to claim all three points as Blackpool’s search for a win at Portman Road continues.
Town: Henderson, Stearman, Chambers, Smith, Cresswell, Edwards, Hyam, N’Daw, Wordsworth (Chopra 35), Murphy, McGoldrick (Nouble 69). Subs not used: Lee-Barrett, Hewitt, Kisnorbo, Drury.
Blackpool: Gilks, Broadfoot, Baptiste, Cathcart, Crainey, Basham, Gomes (Ince 63), Martinez, Phillips, Taylor-Fletcher (Delfouneso 71), Derbyshire. Subs not used: Halstead, Ferguson, Osbourne, Eccleston.
Att: 16,673 (394 Blackpool fans)