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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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woollyhattedliberal added 10:25 - Aug 2
I think we should by Letcshert and build our back line around him - liked the way Utrecht played the ball out from the back

Bluetone added 10:58 - Aug 2
Don't be silly woolly that would be too much like proper football for our current manager to get his head round..

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