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Town 1-1 Utrecht - Match Report
Saturday, 1st Aug 2015 16:55

David McGoldrick won and netted a final minute penalty as Town drew 1-1 with Dutch side FC Utrecht in their final pre-season friendly at Portman Road, French striker Sebastien Haller having put the visitors ahead in the 16th minute.

New Blues signing Jonas Knudsen was amongst the subs, along with centre-half Christophe Berra with skipper Luke Chambers partnering Tommy Smith at the heart of the defence. Scottish international Berra is suspended for next week’s opener at Brentford having been sent off in the play-off semi-final at Norwich.

Freddie Sears was alongside Daryl Murphy up front, while trialists Giles Coke and Larsen Touré were also amongst the subs. Jonny Parr was missing from the squad due to a slight knock.

The Blues started brightly and came close to going in front in the third minute when Ryan Fraser had a shot blocked and then Ainsley Maitland-Niles scuffed an effort wide after the visitors had failed to clear following a right-wing cross from the on-loan Arsenal winger.

Town continued to dominate proceedings and in the 11th minute Maitland-Niles hit a powerful strike from the edge of the box which highly-rated Utrecht keeper Robbin Ruiter palmed away from the danger zone.

Despite the Blues having had the better of it in the early stages, Utrecht went ahead with their first serious attack of the game in the 16th minute.

Right wing-back Sean Klaiber was given time and space to whip over a low cross and Haller reacted sharply to get in front of Josh Emmanuel and fire into the roof of the net before Bartosz Bialkowski could react.

On 23 Teddy Bishop curled an effort through to Ruiter, from just outside the box, but having gone in front the visitors had begun to play keep-ball, passing it around confidently with the Blues largely chasing shadows.

Bishop did well to cut in from the left during a rare Town foray forward in the 34th minute but was unable to find a team-mate.

Utrecht went straight up the other end and left wing-back Louis Nganioni crossed low and Haller flicked just over at the near post.

The Blues came close to getting back on terms in the 43rd minute when Sears latched on to a poor backpass from Mark van der Maal but Ruiter reacted impressively quickly to block. The loose ball ran to Fraser but his shot was deflected wide.

Moments later, Maitland-Niles battled his way on from the right and cleverly found Murphy inside the area but Utrecht defender Chris Kum made a superb challenge to dispossess the Irishman as he prepared to shoot.

The whistle went soon after with the scoreline a fair reflection of the half. After Town had made a strong start, once in front Utrecht dominated, passing the ball around for fun with the Blues often going for long spells without getting a touch.

New signing Knudsen was introduced for Tabb at left-back for the second half with both sides otherwise unchanged.

Five minutes after the break the Dutch side nearly added to their lead, Bart Ramselaar finding Andreas Ludwig, whose shot from a tight angle on the right of the area was pushed around the post by Bialkowski. From the corner, Kum headed wide.

Town fans got their first sight of new signing Knudsen’s famed long throw on the hour, the Dane sending in three in quick succession which the Utrecht defence didn’t deal with particularly comfortably, albeit without Town coming close to an equaliser.

The long throws livened up the crowd of 5,334 and the Blues threatened again soon afterwards, Emmanuel escaping down the right but putting too much on his cross.

Just after the hour came the usual group substitutions, Christophe Berra, David McGoldrick, Brett Pitman, trialist Giles Coke and Kevin Bru taking over from Emmanuel, Bishop, Maitland-Niles, Murphy and Sears.

Town almost got back on terms in the 74th minute when Coke cut the ball back from the left and the ball fell to Bru, whose initial shot was blocked. The rebound fell to the Mauritian international, who smashed over. Soon after, trialist Larsen Touré took over from Fraser.

As the game entered its final 10 minutes the Blues started to put the visitors under pressure. On 82 Knudsen saw a powerful strike blocked, then Touré was tripped as he took the loose ball past a defender. Bru smashed the freekick well over.

As the game moved into its 89th minute McGoldrick superbly skipped past a number of defenders and looked set to shoot when he was tripped by Utrecht skipper Willem Janssen. The Irish international took the penalty himself and rolled the ball to Ruiter’s right to net his third goal of pre-season. Neither side threatened again before referee Darren Deadman ended proceedings.

Having been thoroughly outplayed in the first half, the Blues were more in it after the break in a scrappier second period and should have equalised when Bru had his chance.

Town continued to look the more dangerous team in the closing minutes, albeit without testing the keeper prior to McGoldrick’s run that led to the penalty, which was worthy of the goal the striker netted to claim the draw.

Having been second best before the break, Mick McCarthy will be pleased with his side came back into the game in the second half.

The Blues open their Championship campaign proper away against Brentford next Saturday.

Town: Bialkowski, Emmanuel (Berra 63), Chambers, Smith, Tabb (Knudsen 46), Skuse (McDonnell 83), Bishop (McGoldrick 63), Maitland-Niles (Pitman 63), Fraser (Touré 76), Murphy (Coke 63), Sears (Bru 63). Subs: Gerken,Yorwerth, Kenlock, Robinson.

FC Utrecht: Ruiter, van der Maarel, Kum (Cortie 63), Ayoub, Janssen (c), Ludwig, Letcshert, Klaiber, Nganioni, Haller, Ramselaar. Subs: Bednarek, Strieder, Markiet, Diemers, Rubin, Peterson, Cortie, Barazite. Att: 5,334 (Utrecht: 65).

Photo: Action Images

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itfcsince1974 added 17:09 - Aug 1
Outplated in the first half but considerably better in the second. Impressed with Knudsen. Early days but initially looks like he could be better than mings at a fraction of the price. Buzzing for mext saturday. COYB

Vancouver_Blue added 17:09 - Aug 1
Why such a small crowd? What were the admission prices?

TractorBoy666 added 17:10 - Aug 1
I thought second half we were much more the better team and I must say I did like the look of Knudsen, he certainly has a left foot on him and his throw ins will cause most teams problems this season. All in all a decent final work out and looking forward to the new season! Would definitely take Coke, not too sure about Toure as yet as I haven't seen enough of him but with 2 new potential signings in before next week the squad is shaping up nicely. COYB!

GeorgeITFC24 added 17:11 - Aug 1
Has Ambrose moved on then since he wasn't involved today?

josh87phillips added 17:13 - Aug 1
it's worried me a little bit that Murphy hasn't scored in pre-season. Correct me if I'm wrong. Might just be me though

blues1 added 17:24 - Aug 1
Vancouver blue. Was £10 today.It was such a small crowd because it was a friendly. Its as simple as that. Many people just don't bother with friendlies as they tell u very little to how the season Is going to go. I went tho and it was a good match. They are a good side but we gave them a decent game. Knudsen looks a very good player.

Seasider added 17:32 - Aug 1
Josh87.Murph has played less pre season than rest as had extra 2 weeks+ off due to internationals;so don't think he is up to speed just yet.
Unable to go today unusually,although have managed 4 games so far including one U18 and one U21.Havn't been too impressed so far but the important games are now imminent;so we shall see then if there is any improvement.
Sounds like our new boy had good cameo appearance,must say he came over very well in filmed interview on website with good command of English Language;but from what he said gather Mick didn't have any competition;however looks like another brilliant move by our Manager.
With 2 players from Bournemouth and I each from Arsenal and Denmark,Mr Mc Carthy is certainly getting players that are used to playing football on the ground;and it is pleasing that we are getting players in from the continent as well as Eire.

ArnieM added 17:33 - Aug 1
Interesting that Mick hasnt played a recognised first 11 in any of the pre season games. Its felt very disjointed thoughout the close season games Tbh.

I just hope the first team are up and ready for this next sat and hit the ground running, cos there was no obvious " im ready for it" amongst the players today - i nearly fell asleep it as that mundane and slow.

budgieplucker added 17:47 - Aug 1
Typical pre season friendly, tempo suited the Dutch who for large periods of the first half comfortably kept the ball moving and we chased shadows for a bit. Does make you think what are their training techniques to look so comfortable on the ball. Yes they were a Dutch premiership club but the league is dominated by the likes of Ajax and PSV. Having said all that I thought we played much better after we made changes. Bru made a big difference for me and I would have him penned in as a regular starter for me.

4-4-2 didn't work today and thought Maitland-Niles and Fraser were quiet. Things a little better when we went 4-5-1 for a short period but seemed much better when we back to 4-3-3. Thought Coke looked useful and Knutson put in a polished performance with a couple of rasping shots.

Elmswell_Blue added 17:56 - Aug 1
Ambrose is currently away at Mr Bloo's School For Right Backs.

Shineyblueknives added 18:04 - Aug 1
Knudson looked quiet good today and I think if he continues to impress we will have a player who will be more popular than both mins and Cresswell.
Hopefully it means the tab experiment is over....

Shineyblueknives added 18:05 - Aug 1
Blooming auto correct.. I meant mings

dannyrr added 18:16 - Aug 1
A draw was probably a fair result. Felt that Tabb gave the ball away or didn't tackle enough and was at fault for their goal by not going to the player and easily skipped past. Bart was equally at fault as he could have come out to clear the cross. We had lots of chances ear
Y on in the first half and to be fair their goal came from their first attack. The new left back put in a good performance. Was unlucky not to score with two good shots which were blocked. He pressed and passed well. His Rory Delap throws will worry other teams as its like getting a free kick when we have a throw. Thought Fraser did well and speed will also scare defenders. McGoldrick's dance through three or four players to win the penalty was class. Reminded me today how joyous it is to watch him on the ball. It was a good game overall and both sides would have felt aggrieved had it not ended in a draw. Looking forward to the start of the season. COYB

Bluetone added 18:28 - Aug 1
A cheeky bid for Ruiter and a couple of their outfield players might not come amiss.

itsonlyme added 18:32 - Aug 1
Am I the only one who thought that despite their retention of the ball, they only had two efforts on target, albeit they scored with the first one? Also, I think we deserved a draw but are going to have to play a lot better when the serious stuff starts next week!

DerryfromBury added 19:11 - Aug 1
A lot of people are saying "we were much better second half" lets be honest we couldn't have been any worse, Its was one of the most lacklustre performances I've seen at PR for a long long while, okay I appreciate it was a friendly but that was no excuse, it reminded me so much of the Keane days when players where running all over the pitch without a clue of there positions and what the objective of the game is. HOWEVER, as its been said by so many, the 2nd half was completely different, and restored my faith in the club. Jonus Knudsen made all the difference, to be honest on todays performance he's by far and a way our best player, I was also impressed with Larsen Tour'e when he came on, same for Bru another one I think will stamp his claim to a regular start.

Bluefish11 added 20:03 - Aug 1
Knudsen was outstanding in defence and in attack, great left foot strikes, great long throws, all round 1st class performance who actually bought the stadium alive. Each time he got the ball the crowd were enthused and he had 5000 fans clapping in syncro when he took his throws. A new level of excitement and he is already a new fans favourite and if we do not go up he is a sure fire prem player next season and we will have £12 million+ back in the bank, this is of course assuming today was not a one off, which I doubt.

runningout added 20:29 - Aug 1
not bad second half... Shame it takes some players a while to wake up. This has been issue for sometime. That's a attitude glitch that can be sorted, hopefully

bluesi added 20:34 - Aug 1
Much better 2nd half.We just looked so much better,once Didz and Bruce came on.What a run from Didz for the pen!! He looked real sharp!!coyb

titanicclown added 20:48 - Aug 1
Great to see Didz picking the ball up deep and driving at defences. New boy Jonas looked v good too. Bit worried about Bishop not sure if hes fully fit or not but not too convincing today imo. Bru on the other hand looked the biz when he came on. Skuse and Bru in the mids v Brentford please Mick.

essexbluey added 22:40 - Aug 1
I have done most pre season games and we have done ok.
No team is going to break their balls for games the dont mean anything.
Top 6 again this season maybe top 2 if we get a bit of luck.
Cant wait for brentford.

gippeswyk added 23:02 - Aug 1
Really poor first half from Town.Tabb was poor, and I didnt think Bart, Bish or Chambers impressed. We gave Utrecht way too much space in midfield and didnt close them down and we didnt take our chances. The break couldn't come quickly enough as I needed to stand up to stop myself nodding off. Much better after the break especially when Knudson, Didzy, Berra and Bru came on. The new LB did really well considering he hadn't played with us before. I thought Jay Emmanuel did well too. Didzy looked sharp. I hope we can get a good keeper and a proper right back as I dont want to see Chambo stuck out there all season again.

jas0999 added 08:59 - Aug 2
Why we haven't signed a right back is beyond me. Defensively poor this pre season and could just have three senior defenders for Brentford. One of which is a new signing. Is it really unreasonable after flogging Mings to expect us to be able to field four senior defenders at Brentford?

BLUEBEAT added 09:43 - Aug 2
I'm having bacon, eggs and toast for breakfast this morning.

suffolkpunchdrunk added 10:06 - Aug 2
Not too much to be excited about in the first half yesterday as a Town fan but as a football fan it was great to see how FC Utrecht's players made us look very ordinary. Tabb was totally out of his depth at left back. Their players showed so much more composure on the ball, never rushed into a pass and always looking for a simple pass rather than a hopeful long ball. Their centre back Letcshert was so comfortable on the ball both in defence and in going forward. Ayoub was a little live wire in the centre of the pitch albeit very petulant when taken off in the second half. Thankfully in the second half with the introduction of Knudsen we started to show more promise. Knudsen looks a real prospect - strong in the tackle, good positioning, not afraid to get forward, a sweet and powerful shot and a Delapesque long throw which caused all sorts of problems for their defence. McGoldrick shone when he came on, has a real grace about his game and just danced his way his way through their players to win the penalty. Whilst Emmanuel shows promise, still too early for him to claim RB as his own. Stephen Kelly still without a club I think and just the experience we could do with.

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