|Ipswich Town 1 v 2 Northampton Town|
Tuesday, 9th August 2011 Kick-off 19:45
Town 1-2 Northampton
Tuesday, 9th Aug 2011 22:00
Town crashed out of the Carling Cup at the first round stage as League Two Northampton deservedly came from behind to win 2-1 at Portman Road. Jay Emmanuel-Thomas put the Blues ahead with a first half cross-shot but goals from Ben Tozer and Paul Turnbull either side of half-time sealed the Cobblers’ place in round two.
Boss Paul Jewell named the expected young side with Arran Lee-Barrett in goal, Aaron Cresswell and Jaime Peters the full-backs, Jack Ainsley and Tommy Smith the centre-halves and Luke Hyam in the holding role in a four-man midfield.
Colin Healy and Andy Drury were on the left and right of a diamond with Jay Emmanuel-Thomas at the most advanced point behind strikers Nathan Ellington and Jason Scotland.
Schoolboy Byron Lawrence, a 15-year-old midfielder, was named on the bench along with second-year scholar Cody Cropper.
Northampton, wearing what looked like a Bradford kit, were forced into a change before the game had even kicked off. Striker Adebayo Akinfenwa appearing to pick up a calf strain as the players made their way on to the field. Referee Michael Naylor spoke to Town manager Jewell before allowing Bas Savage to take his place from the start.
Despite the disruption to their line-up, the Cobblers enjoyed a couple of the early attacking moments, Ainsley doing well to come across to dispossess Jake Robinson as he was bearing down on goal in the fourth minute, then Savage flicked a header wide of Lee-Barrett’s goal.
Town went ahead with their first chance of the game in the 11th minute, although there seemed little sign that a goal was on the cards when Emmanuel-Thomas received the ball on the left from a throw. The ex-Arsenal man looked up and sent the ball powerfully over Northampton keeper Sam Walker, a former Town season ticket holder, and under the bar.
If it was a shot, it was a brilliant goal, although there was a hint that the 20-year-old’s first goal for his new club might have been intended as a cross.
After what had been a rather disjointed start, the goal settled the Blues down and they were playing some good, intricate stuff in and around the area with Emmanuel-Thomas at the heart of much of it.
On 22 the former England U19 international came close to his second of the game when he completed a wall pass with Healy on the edge of the box and hit two powerful strikes. The first struck a defender and the second flew narrowly wide.
A minute later, there was a scare for the Blues when Smith failed to deal with a cross from the right, the ball ricocheting off Ainsley to Robinson, who blazed over when he should have done much better.
Arron Davies shot wide for the visitors on 25, then in a moment reminiscent of the goal the Cobblers scored in last season’s tie between the two clubs, Nana Ofori-Twumasi’s 25-yard shot deflected up in the air and just over, unlike Liam Davis’s strike which dipped under in the fourth round match.
The Blues were allowing Northampton to create more than the odd chance and an equaliser wouldn’t have been a shock. However, on 33 Town almost increased their lead when Emmanuel-Thomas made a strong run down the right before playing a crossfield ball to Jason Scotland but the Trinidadian’s shot from the edge of the box was stopped by Walker.
Town should have added to their lead on 37 when Drury whipped in a superb cross from the right but Healy was unable to direct his six-yard header under the bar.
The Cobblers not entirely surprisingly restored parity in the 39th minute. Ben Tozer played a one-two with Robinson on the edge of the area and hit a low shot which Lee-Barrett stopped but couldn’t hold on to, the former Newcastle man tapping home the loose ball. It was a well-worked goal and not undeserved given the number of chances the League Two side had created.
The Blues looked to restore their lead before the break, Hyam screwing a shot well wide, then Drury hitting the sidenetting with a low effort from a tight angle on the right.
The 1-1 scoreline was probably fair at half-time. Town had been a threat going forward but hadn’t tested keeper Walker often enough, while their much-changed defence – with Jaime Peters having been given a difficult half by the impressive Michael Jacobs - had been opened up on a number of occasions and looked constantly at sixes and sevens.
In order to address the situation, Jewell replaced Hyam with Grant Leadbitter at the break, the Blues’ sub hitting a shot just over within a minute of taking to the field.
Town started the half strongly, Ofori-Twumasi’s toe preventing Scotland from going through one-on-one with Walker on two occasions and Smith flicking a header from a corner wide. Robinson shot well wide for Northampton, then Leadbitter did much the same for Town.
More catastrophic defending from Town led to the Cobblers going in front in the 54th minute. Jacobs again got the better of Peters and sent in a low cross which Robinson flicked on across the edge of the six-yard box. Miscommunication between Smith and Lee-Barrett saw the New Zealand international in advertently guide the ball away from his keeper to Paul Turnbull, who gleefully accepted the gift.
Tozer headed a freekick from the left wide on the hour with the visitors looking more likely to add to their lead than the Blues to get back on terms at this stage. Presumably with a view to remedying this, Lee Martin replaced Drury.
The former Manchester United man made his presence felt four minutes after coming on, making a run in from the left and teeing up Ellington, whose shot was blocked. Emmanuel-Thomas, much quieter after the break, played the ball back in from the right but Martin scraped wide at the near post.
But the visitors were still on top for the most part and in the 69th minute Jacobs shot over and four minutes later they were even closer to a third when Savage cut in from their left flank and hit a low shot which Lee-Barrett did well to save with his toe.
The Blues finally created another decent opportunity with 12 minutes remaining, Cresswell whipping in a cross from the left and Emmanuel-Thomas heading wide at the far post with a defender perhaps getting a touch on the way over. Martin shot wide, then a low Emmanuel-Thomas ball across the box managed to evade everyone.
As the game entered its final eight minutes, the Blues were throwing everything forward. Cresswell curled a freekick disappointingly over after Emmanuel-Thomas was fouled.
The ex-Arsenal youngster had a chance of his own from a freekick moments later. His initial strike cannoned off the wall but his extremely well hit rebound was superbly stopped by Walker.
Town continued to throw everything forward but without much quality with the inevitable late substitutions breaking up the game.
Referee Naylor’s whistle signalled the end without Walker really having been tested in the closing stages other than Emmanuel-Thomas’s strike and the Blues’ Carling Cup run, which had ended at the semi-final stage a year ago, came to a first round close.
Town looked like the much-changed team they were and it’s was clear why Paul Jewell still feels he needs to sign more players, particularly defenders.
Defensively it was one error after another with Northampton having had a number of opportunities before netting their equaliser before the break, while their second was as bad a goal as you’ll see.
In the first period, the Blues were at least a threat going forward, even if only Emmanuel-Thomas’s goal was the only chance taken. After the break, Town fan Walker was rarely tested and in the end Northampton were good for their victory.
Town: Lee-Barrett, Peters, Cresswell, Smith, Ainsley, Hyam (Leadbitter 46), Healy, Drury (Martin 61), Emmanuel-Thomas, Scotland, Ellington. Unused: Cropper, O’Connor, Murray, Whight, Lawrence.
Northampton: Walker, Corker, Tozer, Webster, Davies, Robinson (Young 79), Savage (Langmead 90), Turnbull, Ofori-Twimasi, Jacobs (McKoy 90), Westwood. Unused: Hall, Thornton, Purcell. Referee: Michael Naylor (South Yorkshire). Att: 9,401 (Northampton: 399).
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