Norris strikes as Ipswich show their promotion credentials
David Norris' first-half winner enhanced in-form Ipswich's promotion pedigree
and extended their unbeaten run to six League matches.
The former Plymouth midfielder drilled home in the 42nd minute to settle
an entertaining encounter at Bloomfield Road.
Blackpool had lost only one of their previous nine matches but Norris' first
goal of the season was enough to give Jim Magilton's men a hard-earned victory.
The game began at breakneck pace and Blackpool could have led inside the
opening minute when Ipswich midfielder Alan Quinn fouled on-loan Rangers forward
Alan Gow and Claus Jorgensen delivered a dangerous free-kick from the right
Defender Rob Edwards met the ball with a firm header from 12 yards but his
effort flew over the crossbar.
The lively opening continued in the fourth minute when Norris collected possession
20 yards from goal and struck a low, left-footed shot narrowly wide.
Three minutes later, Quinn dragged a right-footed shot wide from the edge
of the 18-yard box and then Ipswich frontman Jon Walters warmed Paul Rachubka's
hands with a shot from distance.
The visitors fashioned another opening in the 14th minute when Kevin Lisbie
headed over the bar from six yards and six minutes later they again went close.
Quinn crossed dangerously and defender Gareth McAuley rose highest to head
straight at Rachubka from 12 yards.
However, the pendulum swung towards Blackpool halfway through the opening
period and in the 26th minute Ben Burgess headed another Jorgensen free-kick
wide of the target from only six yards out.
Norris and Quinn then fired over with long-range efforts but Ipswich took
the lead in the 42nd minute.
Owen Garvan delivered a dangerous, inswinging corner from the right flank
and although Jorgensen cleared Richard Naylor's header, Norris followed up
by drilling home a low shot from 12 yards.
Blackpool manager Simon Grayson made a tactical switch at half-time, replacing
David Vaughan with Adam Hammill in a bid to inject more urgency into his side's
However, Burgess failed to hit the target in the 50th minute when he rifled
wide from 18 yards as Ipswich's defence remained largely untroubled.
Ipswich goalkeeper Richard Wright was underemployed throughout the match,
although Blackpool midfielder Keith Southern fired straight at him from 25
yards in the 52nd minute.
Ipswich remained a threat on the counter-attack and Walters drew a smart
stop from Rachubka in the 54th minute.
Shaun Barker then headed straight at Wright from 12 yards and Gary Taylor-Fletcher
volleyed wide from a similar distance as Ipswich held on.