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Ninian Park (ATT 19,129) 25th April 2009 - Kick off 15:00 Ref: S Mathieson

Cardiff Cardiff City vs Ipswich Town Ipswich

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Winning start for Keane

Ipswich claim 3-0 triumph in Cardiff's last game at Ninian Park

Last Updated: 25/04/09 5:18pm

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Keane: Perfect bow

Keane: Perfect bow

Roy Keane picked up a superb victory on his first afternoon as Ipswich manager to ruin the last ever regular-season Championship game at Ninian Park for Cardiff.

Pablo Counago scored 10 minutes before half-time to put Ipswich in charge after Ross McCormack's penalty miss for the hosts.

McCormack missed a spot-kick in last weekend's 6-0 thrashing at Preston and was the villain from the spot again as former England goalkeeper Richard Wright pulled off a top-class save.

David Norris then grabbed the second early in the second half before Jon Stead added a late third as Cardiff's end of season party fell apart.

A point for Cardiff would have secured a place in the play-offs as the club celebrated the end of 99 years at their current home, but it was Keane who again stole the headlines.

However Stead deserves credit for masterminding the victory after coming off the bench.

Perfect

Stead was sold by Keane during his tenure at Sunderland but came on to replace the injured Alex Bruce and made the first two goals before grabbing the third to cap a perfect afternoon for Keane.

Keane made a surprising change as Matt Richards came in at left-back for his first appearance for the club in over two years but it was Dave Jones' side who should have gone ahead in the 11th minute.

Ivan Campo was judged to have fouled Roger Johnson in the area as he defended a set-piece and referee Scott Mathieson pointed to the spot.

McCormack stepped up confidently and struck the ball well to Wright's right but the goalkeeper dived full length to tip the ball away for a corner.

Stead then entered the fray fresh from scoring during last weekend's derby win over Norwich and was involved as Ipswich took the lead in the 34th minute.

Stead centred the ball from the right and Counago was on hand to drive high into Tom Heaton's net from around the penalty spot.

Counago had an early effort on goal in the second period but Heaton was behind the strike this time.

Lurking

Ipswich did double their lead in the 51st minute and Stead was again involved, this time on the left.

After he shook off two men he laid the ball off to Norris who was lurking on the edge of the area.

Norris caused controversy earlier this season but ensured he started life under Keane on the right foot by swerving a right-footed drive past Heaton and into the far corner.

Chris Burk forced Wright to make a smart save with a powerful shot from the edge of the area before McCormack was replaced by Michael Chopra.

Chopra was sent to Cardiff on loan from Sunderland by Keane and the striker came close to proving his former boss wrong with a powerful drive from the edge of the box which had Wright flapping but passed wide of the post.

Stead then grabbed a deserved third in the 89th minute.

Campo hit the post with a free-kick from 25 yards but the rebound fell straight to Stead who made no mistake from four yards to ensure that Cardiff must wait to confirm their place in the top six.

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Table

Sky Bet Championship

Sky Bet Championship
Pos Team P Pts
1 Bournemouth 22 42
2 Ipswich Town 22 41
3 Brentford 22 40
4 Middlesbrough 22 39
5 Derby County 22 39
6 Watford 22 38
7 Norwich City 22 34
8 Blackburn Rovers 22 34
9 Nottingham Forest 22 31
10 Wolverhampton Wanderers 22 31
11 Cardiff City 22 30
12 Charlton Athletic 22 30
13 Fulham 22 28
14 Sheffield Wednesday 22 28
15 Birmingham City 22 28
16 Bolton Wanderers 22 26
17 Reading 22 25
18 Leeds United 22 24
19 Rotherham United 22 24
20 Huddersfield Town 22 24
21 Millwall 22 23
22 Brighton and Hove Albion 22 19
23 Wigan Athletic 22 17
24 Blackpool 22 13

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