Murphy’s double enough to beat Fulham

Fulham 1 Ipswich Town 2

Fulham suffered their third defeat in four Championship matches courtesy of Daryl Murphy’s first-half double.

The Championship’s leading scorer nodded Ipswich in front early on and grabbed his second with a composed finish just before the break.

Fulham reduced the arrears 16 minutes from time when Ross McCormack pounced on a missed clearance to slot home.

But they struggled to break down promotion-chasing Ipswich, who were denied a third late on by a superb goalline clearance by Kostas Stafylidis.

Fulham boss Kit Symons had previously talked of fading play-off hopes, but after a four-match winless streak they will now be looking over their shoulders at the relegation zone again.

Ipswich, who started the day in fourth, took just five minutes to go in front. Murphy met a cross from former Brentford man Jay Tabb and his header squirmed between keeper Marcus Bettinelli and Stafylidis.

Fulham were too ponderous on the ball in the first half hour but did up the tempo for a brief period, Alex Kačaniklić forcing a near-post save from Bartosz Bialkowski.

But Ipswich continued to ask questions of Fulham’s defence and Bettinelli had to make saves from Sears and Teddy Bishop.

Shortly before half-time, Murphy – whose first goal was his 20th of the season – doubled the lead as he controlled a cross before picking out the far corner with an elegantly placed shot.

The Whites needed a response after the break but Ryan Tunnicliffe’s early shot, Hugo Rodallega’s header and Ross McCormack’s free-kick all failed to test Bialkowski.

Bryan Ruiz, whose proposed move to Levante collapsed this week, played the last quarter of the game in an attempt to inject some quality into the misfiring Fulham attack.

However it took a defensive howler to let the Whites back into the game, as Tommy Smith made a complete hash of a hopeful Stafylidis ball and McCormack stabbed the loose ball home.

Fulham pressed for an equaliser but they were almost undone again eight minutes from the end, as Stafylidis threw himself superbly at a Mings shot and Bettinelli turned the follow-up from Christophe Berra over the bar.

Fulham: Bettinelli; Richards, Bodurov, Hutchinson, Stafylidis; Parker; Tunnicliffe, Christensen (Woodrow 64); Kačaniklić (Roberts 85); Rodallega (Ruiz 68), McCormack.
Subs not used: Kiraly, Grimmer, Burn, Fofana.

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