Ipswich Town 1-0 Newcastle United - Half-Time
Monday, 17th Apr 2017 16:06
Freddie Sears’s fourth goal in four games has given the Blues a deserved 1-0 half-time lead over Newcastle United at Portman Road.
Town named an unchanged side lining up in the same 4-3-3 system employed at the start of Friday’s 2-1 win at Burton, while former Blue Daryl Murphy began the game up front as the lone striker in a 4-4-1-1 system for the Magpies, one of five changes.
DeAndre Yedlin, Grant Hanley, Mohamed Diame and Christian Atsu also returned to the team, while ex-Town loanee Jack Colback was on the bench.
On Sir Bobby Robson Day, the game got under way with both sets of fans singing in tribute their legendary shared manager.
The Blues were first to threaten, winning a second-minute freekick which ultimately came to nothing
On six Myles Kenlock did well to win a tackle midway inside the Magpies’ half before feeding Freddie Sears to his left but the ex-Colchester man’s cross was grabbed by Newcastle keeper Karl Darlow.
Town were having most of the ball in the early stages with Newcastle looking to catch them on quick counter-attacks whenever they lost possession.
The Blues had the ball in the net in the 12th minute after a Tom Lawrence freekick from the left midway inside the visitors’ half beat everyone including Darlow. However, referee Tim Robinson had already blown his whistle for a foul by skipper Luke Chambers.
In the 17th minute Sears was sent away into the area by Emyr Huws but was crowded out. The loose ball fell to McGoldrick to his left but too close to Darlow, who claimed at his feet.
A minute later, Bartosz Bialkowski powerfully punched a Jonjo Shelvey freekick from the left clear, then Murphy, who was given a warm welcome back to Portman Road by his old fans, flicked a header wide off Chambers from Atsu’s right-wing cross.
From the resultant corner from the right, Paul Dummett shot powerfully wide of Bialkowski’s left post.
Soon after Magpies’ midfielder Isaac Hayden underwent treatment after suffering a knock and the rest of the players went to the sidelines for drinks on what was a very warm afternoon when in the sun.
The Blues, with their front three regularly switching roles, continued to look the more threatening side and on 25, after good work from McGoldrick, Lawrence sent over a cross from the right which wasn’t too far away from Sears and Huws.
Three minutes later, a Huws cross from the left was nodded out to McGoldrick on the edge of the box but with the ball slightly behind him the Irish international hit his shot well into the stand.
Newcastle began to look more dangerous just after the half hour, Jordan Spence cutting out a Murphy pass towards Atsu who had switched from right to left, before Bialkowski comfortably dealt with a Shelvey shot from distance.
The former Swansea and Liverpool man tried his luck again on 37 when Huws headed a cross following a corner clear to him not far outside the box, but Bialkowski did well to get down to his left to save his volley.
Although by no means dominant, the visitors were starting to create opportunities as half-time approached and on 41 they weren’t far away from going in front. Dummett crossed from the left and Ritchie arrived at the far post where he headed into the ground and over.
Almost immediately, Town took the lead. Kenlock won the ball on halfway and fed Lawrence, who brought it forward into the area unchallenged before laying it off to Sears to his left from where the striker lashed into the roof of the net off a defender to send Portman Road wild.
The Blues weren’t too far away from a second three minutes later when Huws diverted a Sears cross from the right to McGoldrick, whose shot was deflected over for a Town corner.
Town continued to press as half-time approached having grown in confidence after going in front but were unable to create another chance during two minutes of injury time.
The Portman Road crowd cheered their side off at the whistle after an impressive first 45 minutes from the Blues, who thoroughly deserved their lead.
Town had been on top for most of the half, but the visitors were just starting to look dangerous prior to the Blues’ goal with Ritchie having come close from Newcastle’s first real chance of the game.
Following the goal the momentum was very much back with Town in the final minutes and they might well have gone in having added to their advantage prior to the whistle.
Town: Bialkowski, Spence, Chambers (c), Berra, Kenlock, Skuse, Huws, Ward, Lawrence, Sears, McGoldrick. Subs: Crowe, T Smith, Pitman, Bru, Emmanuel, Diagouraga, Samuel.
Newcastle: Darlow, Dummett, Hanley, Lascelles (c), Ritchie, Shelvey, Hayden, Diame, Yedlin, Atsu, Murphy. Subs: Elliott, Colback, Perez, Mbemba, Gouffran, Gamez, Mitrovic. Referee: Tim Robinson (West Sussex).
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