Ipswich Town secured a huge three points in the Championship as they won 1-0 against Derby County at Pride Park on Tuesday evening.
It was the Rams who came into this match as the favourites following their recent run of form. They would have moved up to fourth in the league had they been able to secure the three points.
However, it was the away side who prevailed courtesy of Callum Connolly's header just five minutes into the match. The Tractor Boys were able to hold on to their advantage for the remainder of the match despite being put under intense pressure by the home side.
Connolly gives Ipswich a first-half lead
Gary Rowett opted to include Tom Lawrence in his starting line-up for this match after the 23-year-old featured for Ipswich last season on loan from Premier League side Leicester City. Rowett will have been desperate for his side to claim three points and consolidate their position in the play-offs.
However, it was the away side who made the brighter start to proceedings in this one and they took the lead within five minutes. Martyn Waghorn's cross caught the Derby defence off-guard and Connolly capitalised by heading in at the near post off the underside of the bar to make it 1-0. It was a superb start for Mick McCarthy's side who have their own play-off ambitions this season.
The Rams did respond well to going behind but despite dominating possession, they struggled to create many clear cut chances. Luke Chambers had to make a crucial challenge to deny in-form striker Matej Vydra a clear run at goal. Lawrence was also looking dangerous for the home side but was being frustrated by Ipswich's defensive resilience.
The 23-year-old was again involved just moments later but was booked by referee Scott Duncan for simulation after going to ground following a challenge from Jordan Spence. Lawrence then almost set-up an equaliser for his side just before half-time but Curtis Davies' attempt was cleared off the line as Ipswich managed to just about hold on to their lead heading into the break.
Ipswich hold out for big three points
Rowett decided to make a change at half-time with Chris Martin being introduced in place of David Nugent. This was followed by an end-to-end start to the second-half which saw big chances for both sides.
The first chance fell to the away side who could have put themselves in a great position to come away with three points. Grant Ward's cross was met by goalscorer Connolly at the back post but he was denied by a sublime save from Scott Carson. This opportunity then sparked the Rams into life and they could have drawn level but Tom Huddlestone's deflected strike was kept out by Bartosz Bialkowski.
Derby striker Vydra came into this game with 12 goals already to his name this season and he looked most likely to get the Rams back into the match. He came close with two free-kicks and was also denied by Bailkowski as he attempted to latch onto Joe Ledley's through ball. It was turning into a very frustrating evening for the home side who could just not breakthrough the Ipswich defence.
The game could have been decided with less than 15 minutes left to play after strong appeals for a penalty from the away side. Waghorn went down inside the area following a challenge from Davies but the referee decided not to point to the spot. It would have been harsh on the Rams considering the lack of chances that Ipswich had created in the second-half.
As expected, it was the Rams who had the bigger chances in the latter stages as they continued to search for an equaliser. Johnny Russell picked out Ledley at the back post but the Welsh international somehow blazed over when it looked easier to score.
McCarthy's side were then able to hold out in the final few minutes to extend Derby's 11-year wait for a home victory against the Tractor Boys.