Ipswich remain on the foot of the Sky Bet Championship table after defeat.
Last Updated: 08/12/18 5:56pm
Paul Lambert’s return to the bet365 Stadium was one to forget as goals from Tom Ince and Joe Allen secured Stoke a comfortable 2-0 win over Ipswich.
Ince’s sixth goal of the season opened the scoring for Stoke in first-half added time with a well-taken strike from inside the penalty area.
Gary Rowett’s side doubled their lead on the hour after Allen swept home Erik Pieters left-sided cross.
But Lambert, who spent five months in charge at Stoke as the club suffered relegation from the Premier League last season, could only watch his Suffolk side slip to another defeat, with Ipswich bottom of the Championship table having collected just 11 points so far this campaign.
Benik Afobe had an opportunity for the hosts within five minutes, profiting from an Ipswich defensive mix-up to run clear on goal, but with just stopper Dean Gerken to beat, the striker’s attempt trickled past the post.
The away side, backed by over 1,000 supporters who had made the journey up from Suffolk, went close when Jack Lankester drove into the penalty area from the right to force Jack Butland into a low stop, with the Potters goalkeeper turning the shot behind for a corner.
Referee Geoff Eltringham was then forced off injured towards the end of the first half, being replaced by fourth official Anthony Backhouse.
Stoke took advantage of the four minutes added time when Sam Clucas’ pass found midfielder Ince, who from the right-side of the penalty area drove his low right-footed shot through the legs of Gerken.
After the restart, Ipswich started positively in their pursuit to level the score on a gloomy winter afternoon in Staffordshire, with Lankester’s fizzing free-kick from the right deflected narrowly wide before Butland held Flynn Downes’ shot from 20 yards.
However, despite beginning the half on top, Ipswich were two behind with 60 minutes played after Pieters’ low cross from the left fell to Allen, who guided his left-footed shot into the bottom right-corner beyond Gerken’s despairing dive.
In the closing stages of the game, substitute Andre Dozzell struck his left-footed free-kick into the grasp of Butland, as Ipswich pushed for a route back into the contest in the Potteries.
Stoke’s win moves Rowett’s side up to 10th position in the second tier after a run of seven games unbeaten, while Ipswich are eight points adrift of safety following their fourth straight defeat.