Brace for Stead as Town down R's
Stead was only playing because Town appealed the red card he received at Crystal Palace on Boxing Day and he made the most of his reprieve with two second-half strikes. The first was a superbly taken effort from the edge of the area just after the hour and he doubled his tally 15 minutes later with a simple tap-in. Town were already ahead by the time Stead netted as they needed just four minutes to go in front after Jonathan Walters finished following a good solo run. It was a poor showing from Rangers, who tasted defeat under Paul Hart for the first time, although they wasted two good chances to level in the first half, Adel Taraabt the guilty party as he missed the target on both occasions. The much-needed win means Roy Keane's men end a poor year on a high, with just their third home win of the season, while QPR head into the new year hoping to put a turbulent 2009 behind them. Ipswich got off to the perfect start when they took the lead inside the opening four minutes. Stern John fed Walters and he ran towards goal, beat his full-back and fired past Radek Cerny into the bottom corner to notch his sixth goal of the season Keane's men continued their early dominance and had three golden opportunities to extend their lead. First Gareth McAuley headed over from a corner when unmarked, before Walters wasted a fine chance as he dawdled and after a scramble the ball hit the post and was cleared. And from the resulting corner Damien Delaney headed over when he should have at least tested Cerny. Having found themselves lucky not to be 3-0 down, QPR finally began to stir and fashioned out two fine chances to equalise, with both falling to Taraabt. The midfielder put the ball just wide of the post with a glancing header from a good position and 90 seconds later he fired over from close range. QPR were keen to get back into the game and controlled the opening period of the second half. However, they were unable to produce anything telling in the final third and Ipswich keeper Arran Lee-Barrett was not tested. And then Ipswich stuck the knife in when they doubled their lead just after the hour and it was a fine finish by Stead. Owen Garvan fed the ball into the striker's feet and he managed to turn his defender with ease before slamming home from the edge of the area. Ipswich then made sure of the three points when Stead got his sixth of the season by tapping the ball home after good work from Walters with 12 minutes remaining. And the former England Under-21 striker really should have bagged a hat-trick but he wasted two good opportunities late on in the game.
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