McGoldrick double and Emmanuel-Thomas strike sees Blues claim an excellent three points against ten-men Leeds United at Portman Road
Town kicked off the Easter weekend in perfect fashion, by beating ten-men Leeds United 3-0 at Portman Road.
A brace from David McGoldrick either side of half-time set the tone for Blues, before Jay Emmanuel-Thomas came off the bench to seal the victory with a third goal.
The visitors played the majority of the game with ten men after defender Tom Lees was sent off for a reckless challenge on Town midfielder Jay Tabb.
Mick McCarthy handed a start to Scott Loach in goal, following Stephen Henderson’s return to West Ham, whilst Reece Brown was named as a substitute in place of the ineligible Patrick Kisnorbo.
It was the visitors who started the brighter of the two sides and they almost opened the scoring after 12 minutes when a Stephen Warnock corner evaded everybody in the area and came back off the post. Paul Green then saw his follow up effort blocked on the line by Luke Hyam.
Loach was keen to make an impression and he made a smart double save after 14 minutes to deny Leeds’ midfield duo Green and Michael Tonge.
The ‘keeper was certainly being kept busy and he had to be alert to tip a Luke Varney effort around the post after 26 minutes.
Neil Warnock’s side were creating all the chances and again went close just after the half-hour mark but Michael Brown could only watch his glancing header sail over the top of Loach’s crossbar.
However a minute later the game took a huge twist as Leeds were reduced to ten men by referee James Adcock.
Tabb was scythed down following a high, reckless tackle from Lees and the referee had no hesitation in brandishing the red card.
This incident seemed to spur Blues on and Town suddenly began taking control of procedures. First McGoldrick tested Paddy Kenny for the first time, with the stopper keeping out his powerful drive, before skipper Carlos Edwards dragged his shot well wide following some neat Town build-up play.
However it looked as though the visitors would end the half in front, after Varney’s wayward shot fell to the feet of strike partner Steve Morison in the six-yard box but somehow the former Norwich man lashed the ball high over the bar.
But on the stroke of half-time Blues did break the deadlock to see Town ahead at half-time. Midfielder Hyam rose highest in the box to meet Edwards’ centre, but his header came crashing back off the crossbar however McGoldrick was on hand to nod home from close range and celebrated wildly with the Blue Army.
The striker almost grabbed a second goal moments later but Kenny was equal to the effort before the referee called time on an eventful first-half.
However the striker was soon to grab a second goal of the afternoon four minutes after the restart. Great play from Hyam saw him cut in from the left before squaring the ball to the striker who lashed the ball home via a deflection of Lee Peltier.
The visitors almost pulled a goal back immediately through Morison, after being set u by former Blue David Norris, but the striker saw his effort first blocked by his own teammate Varney, before then being denied by Loach.
However McGoldrick was proving to be a real thorn in the Leeds side and he was only denied a hat-trick by a smart save from Kenny just before the hour mark.
At the other end, Loach stayed strong to deny Sam Byram at his near-post to keep his clean sheet intact.
And that proved to be a key save for Blues, as Town extended their lead soon after.
Emmanuel-Thomas had only been on the pitch for four minutes before he netted a third Town goal of the afternoon after 68 minutes, controlling the ball in the area before clotting the ball past Kenny and into the bottom corner.
The substitute was clearly enjoying himself on the pitch and he almost scored a second goal soon after, dancing his way past a couple of Leeds defenders before unleashing a left-footed volley that dipped just over the bar.
Blues were looking confident and a great darting run from Tabb saw him picked out by Emmanuel-Thomas in the area, but the midfielder was unable to slide the ball past Kenny after nicking the ball ahead of the ‘keeper, who made a smart recovery save.
To their credit, the visitors were still plugging away as they searched for a way into the game and Morison was unlucky to see his back-post header loop onto the roof of the net.
Town were still looking for more goals though and a fourth almost came with three minutes remaining. Substitues Frank Nouble and Michael Chopra combined well in the area but the latter was denied by an excellent sliding block from Jason Pearce.
But in the end it wasn’t to matter as Town comfortably saw out the game to claim an excellent three points and put Blues in confident mood ahead of Monday’s trip to Millwall.
Town: Loach, Stearman, Chambers, Smith, Cresswell, Edwards (Emmanuel-Thomas 64), Hyam, Drury, Tabb, Murphy (Nouble 77), McGoldrick (Chopra 77). Subs not used: Lee-Barrett, R. Brown, Hewitt, N’Daw.
Booked: Chambers, Cresswell
Leeds: Kenny, Byram, Peltier, Lees, Warnock, Green (Pearce 46), Norris, Brown, Tonge (White 69), Morison, Varney (McCormack 69). Subs not used: Ashdown, Austin, Dawson, Habibou.
Booked: Varney, White, Norris
Sent off: Lees
Att: 20,402 (1,823)