|Ipswich Town 2 v 0 Bolton Wanderers|
Saturday, 16th September 2017 Kick-off 15:00
Ipswich Town 2-0 Bolton Wanderers - Match Report
Saturday, 16th Sep 2017 17:16
Second-half goals from Cole Skuse - his first in 29 months - and David McGoldrick saw Town to a 2-0 home victory over bottom-of-the-table Bolton Wanderers. After first period in which chances were rare at either end, Skuse’s deflected strike - only his second goal in his four years at the club - put the Blues in front three minutes after the break, then McGoldrick added the second in the 89th minute.
The Blues returned to the 3-5-2 system in which they started the season with skipper Luke Chambers returning after his ankle injury and midfielder Tom Adeyemi making his first start for the Blues. However, Jonas Knudsen missed out having picked up an injury in training earlier in the week.
Skipper Chambers was joined in a back three by Jordan Spence and Dominic Iorfa with home debutant Callum Connolly at right wing-back and Myles Kenlock on the left. Bartosz Bialkowski was in goal.
Adeyemi was in central midfield alongside Cole Skuse with Grant Ward ahead of them, while David McGoldrick joined Joe Garner up front.
Martyn Waghorn and Flynn Downes dropped to the bench having started at QPR last week alongside Freddie Sears, Bersant Celina, who didn't train for several days this week due to a dead leg, and Tristan Nydam, who is back after suffering a knock while away with the England U19s.
After a scruffy start, the Blues hit the game’s first shot in the 11th minute. McGoldrick found Kenlock to his left on the edge of the area and the wing-back hit a right-footed shot which deflected behind. From the resultant corner, Garner and Bolton keeper Ben Alnwick both required treatment after a clash of heads.
Bolton, who had started in a 3-4-3 formation, threatened for the first time a minute later, Filipe Morais whipping over a dangerous freekick from the left which David Wheater was close to reaching before Garner eventually cleared.
On the quarter hour Iorfa won the ball just inside the Town half and brought it forward at pace but overhit his pass to McGoldrick to his right. The striker turned back to the on-loan Wolves man who fouled a Bolton defender as he looked to find space to shoot. At the other end, Noone hit a shot from the edge of the box over the bar.
The former Cardiff man struck an effort straight at Bialkowski when given space just outside the box on 21, then Kenlock worked himself an opportunity at the other end but his strike, again with his less-favoured right foot, was blocked.
Noone continued to be Bolton’s main threat, hitting a shot which deflected wide on 25 with Chambers doing well to get his head to the corner. McGoldrick eventually cleared by leaving a Wanderers player in his wake with a clever bit of skill on the edge of the box before almost finding Garner with a 40-yard cross-field pass but a defender cut it out.
Skuse made an important interception for the Blues on 27 after Chambers had misjudged a bouncing ball in the centre circle and surrendered possession to Wheater. The former England U21 international defender fed Madine, who looked to play skipper Jem Karacan in on goal but Skuse had tracked back and slid in to cut out his pass.
Bialkowski was forced into his first serious save of the game in the 33rd minute, the Pole pawing Madine’s snap shot from 25 yards out on the left behind at his near post.
The Blues weren’t too far away from opening the scoring in the 41st minute when Iorfa rose highest to meet a Ward corner from the left. The England U21 international nodded the ball into the ground but wide.
In the final scheduled minute of the half, the season-long loanee from Wolves won the ball in the air again, this time from a Ward freekick on the right - awarded after Antonee Robinson had clattered into Connolly’s ankle from behind - but his header was straight at Alnwick.
Following a Bolton corner, from which Connolly picked up another knock as he looked to clear, referee Andy Madley ended what had been an evenly balanced half.
It had been largely a battling midfield-dominated period of few chances with neither keeper particularly tested.
Town had looked at their most dangerous when McGoldrick got on the ball in the Bolton half, while Kenlock had been a threat on the left.
Connolly, who had suffered those knocks late in the half, was replaced by Celina ahead of the second half as the Blues moved to 4-4-2 with Iorfa moving to right-back and Ward to right midfield.
Two minutes after the restart the Blues took the lead via an unexpected source. After good work from Celina, McGoldrick cut the ball back and Skuse hit a 25-yard shot which deflected off Josh Cullen and beat Alnwick.
The former Bristol City man, whose only other Town goal in his 175 starts and one sub appearance came in the 3-1 home victory over Cardiff in April 2015, reeled away in celebration in front of the Sir Bobby Robson Stand, while Madine picked up a yellow card for dissent.
Bolton almost hit back immediately, Bialkowski saving low to his left from Karacan, before Celina and then Iorfa both put the Blues under pressure by needlessly surrendering possession in their own half.
There was a big scare for the Blues in the 59th minute when a cross from the right was dummied by Morais, which wrong-footed Iorfa leaving Madine and Wheater in space inside the area. As Town defenders got back to cover, Wheater hit a shot goalwards but Spence dived in to make a superb block.
Bolton threatened again a minute later, a ball over the top down the right channel somehow found Madine, who looped his shot over when he ought to have done better.
At the other end, McGoldrick broke towards goal rising a Wheater tackle when it appeared his touch had given the ball to the ex-Middlesbrough man and hit a low shot which Alnwick palmed behind.
On 67, after Iorfa had made an important interception from a Noone cross from the right, Celina made a pacy run at the Bolton defence and was cynically felled by Wheater, who was booked.
After on-loan Newcastle striker Adam Armstrong had replaced Mark Little, Robinson sent over a deep cross from the left which Madine headed well over at the far post.
A minute later, Adeyemi broke into the area on the right and cut the ball across the six-yard area but no one was on hand to add the final touch and it was turned behind at the far post.
As the half moved into its final scheduled quarter of an hour, McGoldrick found Celina on the left and the on-loan Manchester City man hit a shot which deflected behind.
Match Gallery: 7 photos
The Kosovo international took the resultant corner, the ball was cleared back to him and he cut in and hit a shot which Alnwick punched away.
On 78 Bolton made a double change, Aaron Wilbraham and Adam Le Fondre taking over from Madine and Morais.
Town might have doubled their lead a minute later when Garner knocked down Celina’s freekick from the left. With the goal gaping, McGoldrick couldn’t quite get on to the loose ball but it deflected out to Ward behind him, however, his shot was blocked.
In the 82 McGoldrick tricked his way into the box on the left with a trademark piece of sublime skill but blazed over. Burke was subsequently booked for a foul on Celina in the build-up.
Having got into the position he had, the Ireland international will feel he should have scored, but in the 89th minute the Blues number 10 sealed the three points.
Garner flicked on a ball down the middle, McGoldrick cleverly worked himself space before deftly beating Alnwick to notch his fourth goal of the season.
Downes replaced Ward, then McGoldrick made way to a standing ovation, Nydam taking over.
There was just time for Garner to pick up a booking before referee Madley confirmed the Blues’ third home Championship victory over the season.
On the strength of the second half Town deserved the three points having had chances to add to their lead before McGoldrick’s late second.
Skuse’s goal, which owed much to the deflection, came at the right time for the Blues, forcing Bolton to take the game to them and giving Town - and particularly Celina - the opportunity to counter-attack.
The Kosovan will be pleased with the impact he made having come on, the goal soon after half-time having added to his effectiveness, although he rather drifted in and out of the game and gave the ball away in dangerous areas on a couple of occasions.
Bolton, bottom without a win in their first eight Championship matches, will feel they should have got something out of the game, making little of the opportunities they had.
The match was watched by only 14,164, the lowest Portman Road crowd for a home game in the league since 13,212 attended Town's 1-0 victory over Swindon in October 1998.
The result sees the Blues move up to fifth, two points off the top with a game in hand on leaders Leeds, who lost 1-0 at Millwall today, who Town face at Elland Road next Saturday.
Town: Bialkowski, Spence, Chambers (c), Iorfa, Connolly (Celina 46), Skuse, Adeyemi, Ward (Downes 90), Kenlock, McGoldrick (Nydam 90), Garner. Unused: Gerken, Waghorn, Sears, Woolfenden.
Bolton: Alnwick, Wheater, Burke, Beevers, Little (Armstrong 70), Karacan (c), Cullen, Robinson, Noone, Madine (Wilbraham 78), Morais (Le Fondre 78). Unused: Howard, Taylor, Dervite, Pratley. Referee: Andy Madley (West Yorkshire). Att: 14,164 (Bolton: 337).
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