MICHAEL Chopra struck the only goal of the game as Ipswich gave their npower Championship survival hopes a boost by clinching their second win of the year against managerless Blackpool.
The Town striker turned home his fifth goal of the season after good work by Senegalese midfielder Guirane N’Daw early in the second half to lift his team four points clear of the relegation zone and condemn Blackpool caretaker-manager Steve Thompson to a third defeat in his sixth game in charge.
Mick McCarthy’s Ipswich, who had won only one of their previous six league games, secured back-to-back victories at Portman Road while the Seasiders, for whom Spanish midfielder Tiago Gomes hit the post in the first half, remain six points clear of the bottom three having now tasted success in only two of their last 10 in the Championship.
Ipswich midfielder Anthony Wordsworth made his first start since arriving from Colchester for £100,000 on transfer deadline day, but his work was cut short by injury 10 minutes before half-time and he was replaced by Chopra.
Blackpool’s own recent signing Matt Derbyshire, on loan from Nottingham Forest, made his first start and goalkeeper Matt Gilks returned from suspension.
Ipswich’s Carlos Edwards and Blackpool’s Chris Basham both fired off target in the opening exchanges and home strikers David McGoldrick and Daryl Murphy were both wayward with angled drives soon after.
Edwards and McGoldrick threatened again, with Gilks doing well to hold the latter’s effort from the edge of the area in the 24th minute, but Blackpool went closest to taking the lead two minutes later.
Gomes was denied his first goal for the Seasiders by the width of the post with a right-footed shot from inside the area and Ipswich goalkeeper Stephen Henderson was then at full stretch to turn away Alex Baptiste’s goalbound cross.
Blackpool defender Kirk Broadfoot headed the subsequent corner narrowly wide.
Derbyshire and Broadfoot again went close with headers, both from Gomes corners, while Murphy tested Gilks at the other end with a rasping drive but the score remained goalless at half-time.
Broadfoot limped out of the action shortly after the restart and was replaced in defence by Reece Wabara.
And Ipswich cashed in on uncertainty at the back when Guirane N’Daw cut the ball back from the byline and Chopra steered a shot, left-footed, into the bottom corner from 12 yards.
Thompson sent on substitute Tom Ince for Gomes just after the hour mark and opposite number Mick McCarthy responded by replacing McGoldrick with Frank Nouble.
Seasiders forward Nathan Delfouneso, on loan from Aston Villa, was next to step off the bench in a bid to salvage a point for the visitors in place of Gary Taylor-Fletcher, but in contrast to the first period both sides found goalscoring chances much harder to come by.
N’Daw cleared Baptiste’s goalbound header and visiting defender Basham saw two shots blocked as Blackpool pressed for the equaliser in the closing stages, but Ipswich’s defence held firm.