Burton Albion 0-0 Ipswich Town - Half-Time
Friday, 14th Apr 2017 20:45
The Blues’ away game at Burton Albion remains 0-0 at half-time, Myles Kenlock having had a goal ruled out for offside.
Top scorer Tom Lawrence and midfielder Cole Skuse returned to the Town starting line-up for the Blues’ first ever competitive game at the Pirelli Stadium.
Tommy Smith and Toumani Diagouraga dropped to the bench as the Blues switched to 4-2-3-1 system with Skuse, who missed the previous two games due to a concussion, alongside Emyr Huws in central midfield with Grant Ward ahead of them and Lawrence on the left and Freddie Sears on the right, and David McGoldrick the lone striker.
Michael Crowe was the sub keeper with Dean Gerken presumably having picked up a knock.
For Burton, former Blues striker Luke Varney and one-time loan keeper Stephen Bywater were both on the bench.
Blackburn’s 1-0 win at Nottingham Forest earlier this afternoon meant the Blues went into the game with the gap to the relegation zone only six points.
On a wet surface following a downpour an hour or so before kick-off and further steady rain as the game began, Burton struck the first shot of the game after a scrappy and frenetic opening 10 minutes.
John Brayford played the ball in from the right to the edge of the area and on-loan Fulham striker Cauley Woodrow, understood to have been a January Town target, was allowed to get in a shot on the half-turn but hit it too close to Bartosz Bialkowski.
Brewers keeper Jon McLaughlin was forced into a more serious stop two minutes later when McGoldrick struck a low effort across the wet turf and the former Bradford man did well to get down to his right to palm away from goal. Brayford cleared the loose ball.
On 16 Huws sent Sears away down the right with a well-weighted pass and the former Colchester man sent over a deep cross which McLaughlin claimed ahead of McGoldrick.
Six minutes later the Town number 10 flicked a Jordan Spence long ball into the path of Sears on the right from where he cut the ball back to McGoldrick, who shot over from the edge of the box.
The Blues were on top and on 24 a defender’s misreading of a bounce on the edge of the box almost saw Sears in on goal but the ball got caught under his feet. A minute later, following a corner on the left, Lawrence shot wide from distance.
Town had had most of the chances but on 26 the home side went close when skipper Luke Chambers looked to see the ball back to Bialkowski and Woodrow dispossessed him and crossed into the area where Huws turned it over.
Right on the half hour the Blues thought they’d gone in front but were denied by a linesman’s flag. Lawrence brought the ball in from the left and it deflected out to Ward, whose shot was turned in by Kenlock, who briefly celebrated his first senior goal before spotting the flag, which video evidence suggested had been raised incorrectly with the 20-year-old onside.
Town should have gone in front in the 33rd minute when McGoldrick fed Sears in space on the right of the box after good work from Lawrence but the ex-West Ham striker blazed over when he should at least have hit the target.
Soon after, Burton claimed a penalty when a diving Chambers blocked a Woodrow shot but the ball appeared to have hit the Town captain in the face.
Huws stuck a low shot from distance through to McLaughlin on 38, then Kenlock did well to head away in front of Woodrow from a Lloyd Dyer cross from the right.
McGoldrick was immediately sent away on goal between two defenders at the other end but having got on the ball the striker slipped under the attention of Brayford before he could get in a shot.
There was a scare for Town on 41 when Ben Turner stabbed a loose ball over following a corner, before the Blues switched to a 3-5-2 system with Spence the third centre-half and Ward the right wing-back. Lawrence took up a central role behind strikers Sears and McGoldrick.
With the rain by now falling heavily, referee Oliver Langford ended what had been an entertaining half in which both sides had had chances.
The Blues had had more of the opportunities, although overall it had been an even game.
Kenlock will feel aggrieved that what would have been his first ever senior goal had been ruled out, while Sears will believe he ought to have done better with his chance, while McLaughlin had been the more tested of the two keepers with Bialkowski at the other end yet to make a serious stop.
Burton: McLaughlin, Flanagan, Brayford, Mousinho (c), Turner, Sordell, Dyer, Woodrow, Kightly, Murphy, Irvine. Subs: Bywater, Akins, McCrory, Naylor, Varney, Christiansen, Barker.
Town: Bialkowski, Spence, Chambers (c), Berra, Kenlock, Skuse, Huws, Ward, Lawrence, McGoldrick, Sears. Subs: Crowe, T Smith, Pitman, Bru, Emmanuel, Diagouraga, Samuel. Referee: Oliver Langford (West Midlands).
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