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Ipswich Town 1-0 Preston - Half-Time
Saturday, 4th Nov 2017 16:04

Martyn Waghorn’s freekick in injury time has given Town a 1-0 half-time lead over Preston North End at Portman Road.

Waghorn, David McGoldrick, Callum Connolly, Adam Webster and Jordan Spence returned to the Town side with Dominic Iorfa, Grant Ward and Kevin Bru dropping to the bench having started at Cardiff in midweek, along with Tommy Smith and Flynn Downes, who were left out of the 18.

On-loan Everton man Connolly, primarily a defender, started in central midfield alongside Cole Skuse, while McGoldrick, Waghorn and Bersant Celina began the game behind lone out-and-out frontman Joe Garner, who was facing his old club.

Irish international striker Sean Maguire had joined Preston’s lengthy injury list with a hamstring injury with six Lilywhites defenders among those already sidelined.

Town centre-half Webster required treatment for a head injury in the fourth minute having clashed heads as he won the ball in the area, referee Andy Madley somewhat harshly awarding a freekick against the former Portsmouth man.

Preston carved out a chance on six, one-time Town target Jordan Hugill feeding Ben Pearson to his right. The former Manchester United trainee hit a shot which Bartosz Bialkowski saved and Spence turned behind before the Lilywhites were able to react, referee Madley in any case awarded a freekick to the Blues for a foul.

McGoldrick found some space on the right of the Preston area a minute later but his strike was deflected behind.

On 17 Preston keeper Chris Maxwell almost presented a golden opportunity to Celina on the edge of his box when he tapped the ball further in front of him than he intended as he looked to kick clear but recovered before the Kosovan international could reach it.

The first 20 minutes were a rather stop-start scruffy affair with a number of interruptions as players suffered head injuries with referee Madley generally over-fussy, although Preston striker Hugill was lucky to avoid a yellow card for a series of fouls on Webster.

However, the former Port Vale man’s luck ran out on 23 when he pulled Webster over once again on the edge of the Town box.

The Blues began to get on top of what had been an evenly balanced game and in the 25th minute they had the ball in the net.

Celina cut in from the left and crossed to Garner, who was in an offside position on the right of the area. The former PNE man hit a shot across goal which McGoldrick turned in at the far post with the flag having already been raised. The Ireland international was subsequently booked for kicking the ball away in frustration.

A further injury break followed soon afterwards with Skuse having picked up a knock on the edge of the Town box and Garner and Lilywhites skipper Paul Huntington clashing heads in the centre circle.

After briefly trying to continue Skuse made his way off on the half hour with Bru replacing him in the centre of midfield.

After another scruffy period the Blues again began to gain the ascendency as the half moved towards its final 10 minutes, McGoldrick almost pulling off a clever turn as he took down a 34th minute Knudsen cross from the left.

But another stoppage soon followed, Preston’s Darnell Fisher eventually coming off and Marnick Vermijl replacing him at right-back.

Town’s most fluent passing move of the half yielded a freekick 25 yards out as the half moved into five minutes of injury time - which seemed conservative given all the stoppages - Bru and McGoldrick having combined before Waghorn was tripped by John Welsh, who was booked.

Waghorn got the nod ahead of Celina, perhaps surprisingly given the on-loan Manchester City man’s brilliant strike at Burton last week, but the summer signing from Rangers proved himself equally adept at set pieces, curling the ball around what looked to be a poorly placed Preston wall and into the net, the Town number nine’s eighth goal of the season.

The visitors came close to an equaliser moments before the whistle, Daniel Johnson bringing the ball in from the right before hitting a shot which scuffed the top of the bar.

Given the constant stoppages, the half had unsurprisingly been very disjointed. As soon as the game started to flow, it was again brought to a halt.

Town had looked to go long far too often with the goal indirectly coming from their best passage of play of the period.

It was a half which desperately needed Waghorn’s goal, Town’s top scorer making the most of Preston’s lack of organisation for the freekick to give the Blues a lead which saw the players applauded off at the break despite what overall was a less than engaging first 45 minutes.

Town: Bialkowski, Spence, Chambers (c), Webster, Knudsen, Skuse (Bru 31), Connolly, Waghorn, McGoldrick, Celina, Garner. Subs: Gerken, Iorfa, Ward, Sears, Nydam, Bru, Kenlock.

Preston: Maxwell, Fisher (Vermijl 37), Huntington (c), Boyle, O’Connor, Welsh, Barkhuizen, Pearson, Browne, Johnson, Hugill. Subs: Hudson, Horgan, Harrop Gallagher, Mavididi, Robinson. Referee: Andy Madley (West Yorkshire).

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