This wasn’t the sort of start to the season that Felix Magath would have scripted. The German surprised everyone by selecting eight debutants for Fulham’s return to the second tier of English football at Portman Road, but the lightweight Londoners were brushed aside by Mick McCarthy’s men as Ipswich eased to a comfortable win.
Daryl Murphy scored one and made another as Ipswich’s greater experience at this level eventually told. The hosts might not have had as much of the ball as Magath’s new-look side but they made the clearer chances and played with far greater intensity. Murphy exemplified this by brushing aside Shaun Hutchison to reach Luke Hyam’s through ball and fire ruthlessly past Jesse Joronen just after the half hour mark. Town had already passed up a number of presentable chances to take the lead, with Cole Skuse twice volleying wide and Christophe Berra going close with a header.
Fulham, who strangely started with centre back Cameron Burgess as a holding midfielder, were largely restricted to long-range efforts like those from Kostas Stafylidis and Chris David. When Dean Gurken fumbled the Dutch midfielder’s effort from just outside the area, the Ipswich goalkeeper made amends by blocking Moussa Dembele’s follow-up with his feet. Ross McCormack was on the periphery for the 57 minutes that he was on the pitch as Ipswich’s stout defence stood firm – and McCarthy’s men doubled their lead shortly after the Scot had been replaced.
Murphy breezed past Hutchison down the left and his half-cleared cross fell kindly for McGoldrick, who marked his first appearance since February with a firm finish. The Suffolk side should then have wrapped up the points but Anthony Wordsworth spooned over with thirteen minutes to play from a very presentable position. The visitors perked up when England youth international Patrick Roberts came off the bench and set up Tim Hoogland’s deflected drive – but a point would have been underserved on a desperately disappointing day.
IPSWICH TOWN: Gerken; Chambers, Mings, Berra, Hyam (Bru 82); Skuse (Wordsworth 70), Hewitt, Tabb, Smith; Murphy, Bajner (McGoldrick 44). Subs (not used): Bialkowski, Henshall, Nouble, Marriott.
BOOKED: Mings, Hyam, Berra.
GOALS: Murphy (32), McGoldrick (62).
FULHAM (4-1-2-1-2): Joronen; Hoogland, Stafylidis, Hutchinson (Roberts 74), Bodurov; Burgess; Parker, Hyndman; David (Eisfeld 45); McCormack (Woodrow 57), Dembele. Subs (not used): Bettinelli, Burn, Fotheringham, Rodallega.
GOAL: Hoogland (86).
REFEREE: Steve Martin.