Winning start for Keane
Ipswich claim 3-0 triumph in Cardiff's last game at Ninian Park
Last Updated: April 25, 2009 5:18pm
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.
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.
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.
Sky Bet Championship
Sat 25th Apr
Blackpool1 - 1N Forest
Bristol C1 - 1Sheff Wed
Cardiff0 - 3Ipswich
Sheff Utd1 - 0Swansea
Southampton2 - 2Burnley
Barnsley1 - 1Wolves
Coventry2 - 3Watford
Derby1 - 0Charlton
QPR0 - 0Plymouth
Doncaster2 - 0C Palace
Birmingham1 - 2Preston
Sky Bet Championship
|2||Queens Park Rangers||18||38|
|11||Brighton and Hove Albion||18||25|