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21:43 21st March 2012


Momentum counts for much in football and while Ipswich have it in abundance, the Clarets are unable to halt a slide down the table which contined with defeat at Portman Road.

When Burnley thumped the Tractor Boys 4-0 at Turf Moor at the end of November to leave manager Paul Jewell seemingly teetering on the brink, it seemed inconceivable that the subsequent tale would unfold.

While the Clarets continued to soar towards the play-off places, Ipswich slumped ever nearer an apparent relegation scrap.

But now thanks to a seventh win in ten games, Jewell's revitalised side is above Burnley in the table after the Clarets' run of matches without a victory extended to six games.

Michael Chopra got the only goal nine minutes into the second half but his poacher's effort didn't truly reflect the difference between the two sides as Eddie Howe's jaded-looking side drew a blank in front of goal for the second game running.

Only a superb performance from Lee Grant prevented further damage as, bar a bright spell mid-way through the first half, Burnley didn't do anything like enough to arrest their decline.

Jay Rodriguez and Danny Lafferty go close in the first half

Howe had freshened up his attack in a bid to end the Clarets' barren run with Jay Rodriguez and former Town transfer target Charlie Austin both recalled to frontline duty.

But perhaps not surprisingly given Ipswich's streak of four successive home wins, it was the Tractor Boys who started on the front foot.

But despite the promptings of the lively Lee Martin, Burnley dealt well with the early threat as Ipswich were restricted to a solitary half-chance for Chopra, who failed to make contact on the volley with a deep cross from Daryl Murphy.

And with captain Chris McCann driving Burnley on in response, it was the visitors who almost broke the deadlock mid-way through the first half.

From Austin's knock-down, McCann and Rodriguez linked well with the Rodriguez almost beating goalkeeper Alex McCarthy to the ball as he raced into the box.

Lee Grant stands defiant

With Burnley growing in confidence, Kieran Tripper then burst foward to fire into the side-netting before Danny Lafferty advanced from the opposite flank to meet a Trippier free-kick with a header which drifted just wide.

For a side with the third best goal-scoring record at home, Ipswich created little until Lee Bowyer almost put them ahead ten minutes before half time.

Grant had just undergone treatment for a bang on the foot but showed no ill effects as he made a magnificent save to tip over a header from Bowyer as he nodded a Martin cross towards the top corner.

That heralded a renewed spell of Town pressure but with Bowyer's vociferous appeals for a penalty after tumbling in the box falling on deaf ears and Murphy firing over the top, Burnley reached the break intact.

However, there was no respite at the start of the second half and Grant had to come to the Clarets' rescue again as a well-worked free-kick routine ended with Grant Leadbitter letting fly with a fierce drive which the keeper got down to beat away.

Ipswich bag the points

Leadbitter then swung the ball wide for Jay Emmanuel-Thomas to cut in and lash a shot across the face of goal and with 54 minutes gone Ipswich finally struck.

Grant again looked as though he had denied them when he made a fine one-handed save to keep out an effort from Martin after Marvin Bartley's mis-placed pass had exposed the Clarets' back line.

But despite yellow shirts piling into block, Burnley couldn't clear the loose ball and leading scorer Chopra pounced to end his mini drought with a close-range finish.

Emmanuel-Thomas then crashed another shot just wide as Ipswich went for the kill and Howe responded by sending on Martin Paterson and Ross Wallace to try and reverse the flow.

Ben Mee had also come off the bench in place of Danny Lafferty, possibly feeling the effects of a recent hamstring strain, but was powerless to stop Thomas teeing up the impressive Leadbitter for another strike on goal which this time Trippier blocked.

Lee Grant and Michael Duff feel the pain of defeat

And while there was only one goal in it there always remained hope.

But in reality if any side was likely to score again it was Ipswich as only Grant stood in the way of a heavier defeat as he saved again from Leadbitter - who blotted his copybook with an injury-time dismissal for dissent - Chopra and Murphy to cap an outstanding individual display.

Burnley: Grant, Trippier, Duff, Edgar, Lafferty (Mee 53) , McCann, Marney (Wallace 59), Bartley, Stanislas, Rodriguez, Austin (Paterson 59). Subs: Paterson, McQuoid, Wallace, Jensen.

Ipswich: McCarthy, Edwards, Cresswell, Delaney, Smith, Leadbitter, Bowyer, Emmanuel-Thomas, Chopra (Sonko 90), Martin, Murphy. Subs:Stevenson, Drury, Carson, Sonko, Barrett.

Booked: Bowyer 30, Leadbitter 90

Sent off: Leadbitter 90

Referee: James Linington

Attendance: 16,564 (Burnley 211)

    Data provided by Press Association