Sheffield United 0 Ipswich Town 1
Ipswich Town moved into the top six for the first time this season, extended their unbeaten run to 12 games and ended a Sheffield United record of not losing at home which stretched back to last April.
Town were under pressure early on as managerless United made the running. Ian Rush hit the crossbar and then forced a fine save from Richard Wright.
It was somewhat against the run of play when Matt Holland put Town in front after 18 minutes. He met Bobby Petta's free-kick with a perfectly-placed header from around the penalty spot which went just inside the post.
The goal settled Ipswich down and they came very close to a second with a stunning 25-yard left-foot shot by Petta which hit the underside of the bar and bounced down just in front of the goal-line.
Just before half-time, David Johnson too was unfortunate with a header which was fractionally too high.
The second half saw very few real opportunities, substitute James Scowcroft perhaps coming closest to a further goal with a header just wide.
Sheffield United, as expected, tried to mount pressure in the last quarter of the game, but a very solid defence, well marshalled by Tony Mowbray and Jason Cundy, dealt capably with a succession of crosses.
It was a very sound rather than spectacular display by an Ipswich side brimful of confidence.
Every member of the team worked hard and did his job efficiently. Afterwards, manager George Burley, well pleased with the night's action, said he substituted Mathie with Scowcroft because with three good strikers, "it was Alex's turn to come off."
A return of four points from their tough Northern "tour" against two teams above them in the table, shows that the Ipswich challenge for a play-off place is well and truly on.
There are now 11 games left and with seven of them at Portman Road, Ipswich hold some advantage over their rivals.
It really is quite remarkable how this season is mirroring the last one, although with Birmingham, Stockport and Wolves breathing down their necks, it is essential that Ipswich maintain their sequence and form.
TEAM: Wright, Stockwell, Taricco, Dyer, Mowbray, Cundy, Clapham, Holland, Johnson, Mathie, Petta. Subs: Scowcroft (for Mathie, 55 minutes), Sonner (for Petta, 64), Tanner (not used).