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Town 4-2 Barnsley - Match Report
Saturday, 6th Aug 2016 17:14

Half-time sub Grant Ward became the first Town player to score a hat-trick on his debut since Colin Viljoen in March 1967 as the Blues beat Barnsley 4-2 in their opening day game at Portman Road. The 21-year-old netted with his first touch seconds after coming on at the break, made it 2-1 after ex-Blue Conor Hourihane had equalised for the Tykes, then added the fourth to seal it after David McGoldrick had converted a penalty and Marley Watkins had added a second for the South Yorkshiremen.

Boss Mick McCarthy handed Adam Webster his Town debut alongside Christophe Berra at the centre of the defence with Tommy Smith, a regular next to the Scottish international last season, dropping to the bench.

McGoldrick partnered Daryl Murphy up front with Freddie Sears at left midfield and Teddy Bishop in the right and new wide signings Grant Ward and Grant both on the bench. Kevin Bru was alongside Cole Skuse in the centre of midfield.

Paul Digby was on the bench against his old club, while Hourihane, who was with the Blues between 2010 and 2011 without making a senior appearance, skippered the Tykes.

Barnsley were forced into a replacement in only the fourth minute after striker Sam Winnall went down with what looked like a pulled hamstring and immediately indicated he wouldn’t be able to continue. Marley Watkins took over.

A Jonas Knudsen long throw from the left almost fell for Murphy on eight and soon afterwards the Irishman had the first serious chance of the game.

Bru played the Town number nine in on goal behind the Barnsley backline but just as he was about to pull the trigger Marc Roberts got back to stab the ball behind.

The Mauritian international, a scorer of last season’s opening goal in the 2-2 draw at Brentford, scraped wide from the edge of the box on 12 after good work from Murphy on the right.

Town had got themselves on top and threatened again a minute later when Barnsley keeper Adam Davies punched Bru’s left-sided corner to Bishop, but his shot was blocked.

Barnsley had been little threat in the opening minutes but on 19 they might have taken the lead. However, Tom Bradshaw headed sub Watkins’s right-wing cross straight at Bartosz Bialkowski.

Moments later, Teddy Bishop was booked for a foul on Adam Hammill, then on 27, after a spell in which the game had been even but uneventful, Watkins joined the Blues midfielder in the book for pulling Bru back by his shorts.

On 32 Hammill, signed by Town boss McCarthy during his time at Wolves, curled a dangerous strike from distance only just wide. Six minutes later, Bru was booked for a foul on Bradshaw as Barnsley broke.

Town had their best chance of the half in the 39th minute when McGoldrick broke following a Tykes attack and fed Sears but the former Colchester man scuffed to Davies. Had he made a decent contact then the Blues would probably have been in front.

Soon after, the already-booked Bru was spoken to after fouling Ryan Kent, who joined him in the book for a revenge challenge a few minutes later.

Applause rang round the ground on 42 in tribute to Clacton-based fan Wayne Double, who died over the summer.

Barnsley would have been in front in the 43rd minute but for a superb Bialkowski stop. A ball into the box hit Berra and fell to Bradshaw, who seemed certain to score but somehow Town’s Polish keeper, who once had a spell on loan at Oakwell, reacted and diverted it wide.

The Blues looked the more threatening side in the early stages of a scrappy first 45 minutes but with their only serious opportunity Murphy’s chance from Bru’s excellent pass.

Barnsley got more into the game as the half wore on and will feel Bradshaw might have done better with his two chances, while Sears will similarly feel he should have taken his opportunity from McGoldrick’s break.

Overall, it hadn't been a half which would have persuaded many of the 1,000 or so fans who failed to renew their season tickets that they had made a mistake with the Blues’ performance - and style of football - much like many of those last term.

Boss McCarthy was clearly unimpressed and switched Bishop, who had failed to make too much of an impact in his wide right role, and Bru, who was walking a red card tightrope, for debutants Ward and Grant and moved to 4-3-3.

And within seconds, and like 1970s striker Keith Bertschin, Ward scored with his very first touch in a Town shirt.

Murphy flicked Knudsen’s throw on the left towards McGoldrick but the former Tottenham man burst in behind him to slam a low shot past Davies before celebrating with his new team-mates.

But the Town lead lasted only three minutes. Hammill’s cross from the Barnsley left was cleared to the edge of the area where the bandage-headed Josh Scowen beat Grant in the air, sending the ball into the box and Watkins nodded on to one-time Blue Hourihane, who beat Bialkowski from close range.

Hourihane, perhaps inevitably the goalscorer against his old club, was yellow-carded for a foul, then Webster came close to an astonishing debut goal with a 40-yard return header which caught Davies unawares and only just flew past his left post.

But another goal from a debutant wasn’t too much longer in coming, and again Ward was the man on target. Murphy crossed from the left following good work from Knudsen and, after McGoldrick had challenged in the air, the ball fell to Ward, who took a touch before lashing home off Scowen.

The new signing’s celebration was more muted on this occasion, perhaps due to the deflection or maybe he’s already taking goals at Portman Road in his stride.

Two minutes later, it was 3-1. Murphy broke into the area on the left and was tripped by Roberts. Referee Keith Stroud pointed straight at the spot and there was little argument from the Tykes’ players. McGoldrick rolled the ball into the corner of the net, sending Davies the wrong way.

Barnsley weren’t far from pulling one back when Hourihane’s corner from the right bounced across the six-yard box, but the Blues continued to look the more threatening side.

In the 66th minute McGoldrick was dispossessed just as he looked to pick out Sears, then the scorer of Town’s third goal broke through on the left but shot weakly to Davies.

On 71, after Ward had been sent flying by Scowen, Grant looked to get on the debut goals act with a powerful strike from distance but his effort was too close to the Tykes’ keeper.

Three minutes later, after Barnsley had swapped Kent and Bradshaw for George Moncur and Stefan Payne, the visitors made it 3-2.

Hourihane sent over a freekick from midway inside the Town half on the right and Watkins rose high to flick into the corner of the net.

After a Barnsley appeal for a penalty after Payne and Chambers had tangled as they ran into the box, Brett Pitman replaced McGoldrick for the final nine minutes.

And a minute later, Ward completed his dream debut. A Grant corner from the right was half-cleared to the edge of the area from where Monday’s signing from Tottenham hit a low shot through a crowd of players and the arms of keeper Davies and into the net.

Barnsley again looked to get back in the game, Bialkowski claiming at close range from Payne as the game moved into injury time.

But Town weren’t to be denied an opening day victory - manager McCarthy’s first against his hometown club since taking charge of the Blues - by 4-2, the scoreline they beat the Tykes in the 2000 Wembley play-off final.

The result was also the same the last time a Town player had netted a hat-trick on his debut, Viljoen’s treble having come in a defeat of Portsmouth at Portman Road.

For Ward it was a brilliant Roy of the Rovers-style debut from the moment he smashed in his opening goal seconds after coming on as a sub.

The former Spurs youngster took his opportunities with great confidence and composure and in addition had an excellent all-round game.

After the final whistle, the day’s star man was handed the match ball then applauded all four stands before spending a lengthy spell signing autographs at the front of the East of England Co-op Stand.

The Blues were much better after the break, creating a number of opportunities in addition to the goals, although there will be concerns about the two they conceded.

But Town fans will go home very happy having seen a very special debut and their side, who are second in the first-day Championship table, get their season off to a winning start.

Town: Bialkowski, Chambers (c), Webster, Berra, Knudsen, Bishop (Ward 46), Skuse, Bru (Grant 46), Sears, Murphy, McGoldrick (Pitman 81). Unused: Gerken, Smith, Digby, Douglas.

Barnsley: Davies, White, Roberts, Scowen, Hammill, Hourihane (c), Winnall (Watkins 4), Yiadom, Bradshaw (Moncur 73), Mawson, Kent (Payne 73). Unused: Townsend, Bree, Lee, Nyatanga. Referee: Keith Stroud (Hampshire). Att: 17,370 (Barnsley: 1,117).

Photo: Action Images

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Charlie_pl_baxter added 17:15 - Aug 6
Grant Ward - instant PR legend!

groovyASH added 17:16 - Aug 6
God, to think we blew £600k on Grant Ward!....

Great start to the season; sure there will be concerns over conceding two soft goals, and the by contrast 2015-16 style first half. But the second half showed what we can do with a bit of natural quality width, to score 4 goals at home is a welcome change and hopefully a standard setter of intent to how we will go about business at Portman Road this season.

Mick doesn't need millions, but back him with a bit of money and he can pull off a quality deal. For all the multi-millions spent in Championship close season, this weekend belongs to Grant Ward.

tractordownsouth added 17:16 - Aug 6
Great result! Surely both Grants have to start at Brentford if fit. We have some potentially exciting attacking options now, still want one more though, COYB good start

Daz added 17:18 - Aug 6
Great start town.

Subs made due to cards and not a great first half then one of our own comes on and get a hat trick. Well done grant

How this comment section could have been so different.

2nd coyb

Daz added 17:19 - Aug 6
So nice to say ours. No loans that go bk injured

iaintaylorx added 17:19 - Aug 6
What a bargain, what a player!!

Wonky added 17:20 - Aug 6
Four goals at home and some reasons for optimism, I'll take that.

bushbaby7 added 17:21 - Aug 6
I just can't see where the goals are gonna come from in midfield this season......

Great game, shades of last season in the first half but a great half time sub changed tha!
More of the same please boys!

bluearmy4life added 17:23 - Aug 6
What a great feeling it is to win your first game of the season in style!
Grant Ward what a player and what a signing! Up the town!

MicksZzzTactics added 17:25 - Aug 6
Hallelujah!!! We finally have a new slogan -- and one that every single Ipswich Town fan should be able to subscribe to, I'm pretty sure :') -- "IN GRANT WE TRUST" .... and High Fives all around. Hallelujah!!!

howdonblue added 17:26 - Aug 6
Cant ask for more than that on debut !!

See the benefit of spending cash on a half decent player mr evens !

Please back the manager with a few more and get us up the right end of the table please !


ElephantBlue added 17:30 - Aug 6
Great start - 4 goals COYB

runningout added 17:31 - Aug 6
Great win.. Sitting back on any lead is a no no as we know...

Kirbmeister added 17:34 - Aug 6
Hold on - all through the summer nearly everyone on here was slagging off MM and ME constantly. We've had one win. What's the situation now regarding both? Let's clear that up first then we can move on.

TimmyH added 17:35 - Aug 6
Comfortable but expected win for Town after yet another scrappy dull first half. Ward was at the heart of everything Rotherham did well against us in april so not that surprised he did well 2nd half (should have started) but a hat-trick will go down ine the record books.Not getting carried away there are far better teams than Barnsley in this league and again our defense doesn't look that sound.

Good start well done all!

NoCanariesAllowed added 17:36 - Aug 6

In your dreams.

Tractorboy1985 added 17:36 - Aug 6
Grant.. Grant will tear u aaappppart AGAIN!! WOW!! What a 45 min debut! Still away on holiday but can't wait to see him in the flesh! Fist pumped every goal in a bar in Portugal! Hope this sort of player gets bums back on seats! Fraser was a player but wasn't ours so I'm delighted we have a player on OUR books who can take it to thee opposition! Bring on naaaaaarrrich.. In grant.. We trust!! COYB!!!! Spooky how it was 4-2.. Same score line at Wembley in 2000!

BlueandTruesince82 added 17:39 - Aug 6
6 goals, 4 for us, Micks new signings make an immidate impact, a new PR hero, Bart in goal and Douglas not on the pitch.

That is quite literally everything people have been asking for, I know it's only one game but.....


Whinge about that if you can....

jas0999 added 17:39 - Aug 6
Great news that we won our first game of the season. First half was a disappointment, not helped by several players being played out of position. Dull.

Second half was much better and entertaining. I have been saying for a while, that for a modest fee, it opens up more options and generally buys you better quality. In Grant Ward you can see that. Credit MM for decent substitutions, Bru looked off to pace again for me. We played much better and scored four goals which is great. Defensively not so good and that will need improving. I still think we need a proper right back and personally rate Smith who I thought we missed. Could just be me though!

Not taking anything away from the result, but playing promoted opposition was clearly a decent start as all three from league one last term struggled today. There will be much bigger tests to come and time will tell if we have a big enough squad and sufficient quality to cope with the better sides. But the second half today was a massive improvement. Well done all.

OwainG1992 added 17:40 - Aug 6
Well done Mick bringing in Grant Ward! Honestly when i saw his name i thought well he might do well but wasn't sure! Got me all excited for this campaign now....please can we go up?

paris_mitchell_in_oz added 17:41 - Aug 6
Top two!! Going up! Going up! Going up!

TotalBlue added 17:43 - Aug 6
Hark now hear the moaners sing ooooo can't hear a single thing coyb!!!!!!

kuyski added 17:43 - Aug 6
Great Ward,legend was making now ! HAPPY and ENJOY,HA HA


Mick_Mills_Tache added 17:46 - Aug 6
Didn't understand MM's starting 11 to tell you the truth....however, what a find in Grant Ward. Seems a real talent (although it is only day 1 week 1) and seems a proper professional in signing autographs pitch side after the final whistle.

How did Webster look today?

Hourihane sounds like he had a good game and was a bit of a thorn in our side, nice to see an ex Town youngster doing well. More of the same (minus what sounds like a bit of dodgy defending) against Brentford please!

Bluetone added 17:47 - Aug 6
Less like the first half; more like the second half please.

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