Two goals from Jason Euell and one from substitute Matt Paterson secured an impressive away victory for Southampton that severely dents Ipswich’s playoff hopes.
The visitors also had two goals disallowed in a game that they completely dominated from start to finish, and on this display you would be forgiven for thinking that it was Mark Wotte’s side who were chasing a playoff spot!
Ipswich boss Jim Magilton made one change from the weekend’s 3-2 loss to Preston, bringing in Pim Balkestein for Moritz Volz, who was ruled out through injury.
For Southampton, Morgan Schneiderlin replaced Adam Lallana, despite the fact that the England Under-21 international was declared fit after shaking off an injury sustained in the 1-0 win over Cardiff.
Once again, Southampton started the game brightly, and it was the visitors who had the first effort on goal when Andrew Surman’s 20-yard drive was deflected wide.
Marek Saganowski nearly broke the deadlock after latching on to a long ball from Schneiderlin, but the Polish striker’s tame lob fell straight into the arms of Ipswich goalkeeper Richard Wright.
Ipswich almost fell behind with 29 minutes played after referee Andy D’Urso disallowed Jan-Paul Saeijs’ header from a Surman free-kick for a foul on Ipswich defender Balkestein.
However, the Saints didn’t have to wait long before they broke the deadlock, with Jason Euell heading home from another Surman free-kick just a minute later.
The goal seemed to spark Ipswich into life, with David Norris having an effort cleared off the line, whilst Alex Bruce saw his shot deflected onto the cross bar.
On the stroke of half-time, Jon Stead almost levelled the tie with an acrobatic attempt from a Gareth McAuley knock-down.
Town boss Magilton was clearly unimpressed with his side’s first-half display, as he made two substitutions at the interval, bringing on Kevin Lisbie and Jonathan Walters for Stead and Luciano Civelli.
Despite the changes, Southampton continued to dominate with David McGoldrick keeping ex-Saint Wright on his toes with a 30-yard drive.
In the 70th minute, Wotte’s side had another goal disallowed as the referee blew for a foul prior to Chris Perry knocking the ball into the back of the net from a Simon Gillett corner.
Kelvin Davis was called into action for the first time in the second-half with 74 minutes on the clock. Lisbie broke free from the Saints defence, before firing wide from distance.
A last-ditch tackle from Perry prevented David Wright from getting his side back into the game after he was about to shoot from close range.
At the other end, Wright saved sharply at the feet of Saganowski after the striker jinked past two Ipswich defenders.
Euell then had a great chance to seal the win for the south coast club, but he could only fire wide from close range after good work from Surman and McGoldrick.
But Euell made amends in the 85th minute after latching on to a weak header back from Balkestein after a Gillett long ball. The Jamaican striker kept his composure by rounding Wright and slotting home into an empty net, much to the dismay of the Ipswich faithful.
With the home crowd now venting their anger at their team’s display, Matt Paterson rubbed salt into the wounds by making it three in the 87th minute. After coming off the bench, the young striker dispossessed Norris in the Ipswich midfield before driving home from the edge of the box to complete the rout.
This result means Southampton remain in the bottom three, despite picking up maximum points from their last three games. However, they are now just two points from saftey with a game in hand over a number of their rivals, with a tricky away day to Birmingham next up for Mark Wotte’s side.
As for Ipswich, the result leaves them five points off the playoffs, although they remain in 10th position. After back-to-back defeats, Jim Magilton’s side will be hoping they can get back to winning ways as they travel to Molineux to take on table-topping Wolves.
Richard Wright, Bruce, McAuley, Balkestein, David Wright, Norris, Miller, Quinn (Garvan 61), Civelli (Walters 46), Counago, Stead (Lisbie 46).
Subs not used: Supple, Campo.
Davis, James, Perry, Saeijs, Skacel, Schneiderlin (Wotton 78), McGoldrick (Paterson 87), Gillett, Surman, Euell (Liptak 89), Saganowski.
Subs not used: Bialkowski, Smith.