|Ipswich Town 3 v 0 Preston North End|
Saturday, 4th November 2017 Kick-off 15:00
Ipswich Town 3-0 Preston North End - Match Report
Saturday, 4th Nov 2017 17:03
Goals from Martyn Waghorn, David McGoldrick and Bersant Celina saw the Blues to a 3-0 home victory over Preston North End at Portman Road. Waghorn curled home a freekick in first-half injury time, McGoldrick headed the second four minutes after the break and Celina sealed what in the end was a very comfortable Town victory with a superb strike on 64.
Waghorn, 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 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, Spence eventually turning behind as referee Madley 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.
Four minutes after the restart, the Blues doubled their lead. Bru showed composure on the ball on the edge of the box before feeding Spence in space on the right from where the former West Ham man whipped over a deep cross to the far post and McGoldrick rose above Vermijl to nod his seventh of the season past Maxwell.
Having gone two goals in front, the Blues began to look a far more confident side and in the 51st minute Spence crossed from the right, Bru flicked on and Knudsen headed wide at the far post, the Dane clearly feeling he should have done better.
Four minutes later, McGoldrick deftly played in Connolly on the left of the area, the loanee lobbing the advancing Maxwell, but the ball was cleared from the line and away from the breaking Bru by Preston defender Kevin O’Connor, who was making his first Championship start.
At the other end, Tom Barkhuizen first shot wide from an angle on the left then straight at Bialkowski from a more central position.
Match Gallery: 11 photos
But the second half had been almost all Town and on 59 Waghorn’s cross from the right was cleared to Knudsen, whose powerful shot from the 18-yard line scraped the top of the bar.
Six minutes later, the Blues made it 3-0 with the goal of the afternoon. Spence and Celina exchanged passes deep inside the Town half after a Preston attack had broken down, the Kosovo international sending the right-back away at pace. Spence returned the ball to Celina, who had continued his run, and, with everyone anticipating a cross, the loanee smashed his sixth goal for Town into the roof of the net.
There was no repeat of last week’s shirt throwing, instead he celebrated with a fan in the front row of the Cobbold Stand.
Connolly was warmly applauded off as Grant Ward replaced him in the Town midfield in the 66th minute, before McGoldrick shot not too far wide from well outside the area to the left. On 70 Paul Gallagher took over from Welsh for Preston.
Hugill headed over or the visitors on 72 and and 74, then a minute later was fortunate not to see a second yellow card when he jumped into Webster, appearing to catch the Town defender with an elbow.
Three minutes later, Waghorn was replaced by Tristan Nydam, the first goalscorer receiving a warm ovation from the Blues support as he made his way to the touchline and then down the tunnel.
After Preston’s Pearson had been booked for dissent, McGoldrick shot through to Maxwell on 85 with the Blues seeing out the final minutes confidently.
As the game moved into three minutes of injury time Hugill beat the Town offside trap on the left before cutting in and hitting a shot which Bialkowski saved.
But a Preston comeback had never looked on and the Blues saw out the final moments to beat a side in the top half of the table for the first time this season.
After scoring the goals either side of the break, the win was never really in question and Town might have added more than Celina’s brilliant strike to their total.
The Blues have now gone 15 games at the start of a season without a draw for the first time in the club's history, beating a record of 14 established in the 1954/55 campaign. Overall Town haven't drawn for 22 matches with the club record 26.
The victory, Town’s fifth at home this season, sees the Blues up to seventh, just a point off the play-offs, going into the international break.
Town: Bialkowski, Spence, Chambers (c), Webster, Knudsen, Skuse (Bru 31), Connolly (Ward 66), Waghorn (Nydam 78), McGoldrick, Celina, Garner. Unused: Gerken, Iorfa, Sears, Kenlock.
Preston: Maxwell, Fisher (Vermijl 37), Huntington (c), Boyle, O’Connor, Welsh (Gallagher 70, Barkhuizen, Pearson, Browne, Johnson (Harrop 63), Hugill. Unused: Hudson, Horgan, Harrop Gallagher, Mavididi, Robinson. Referee: Andy Madley (West Yorkshire). 14,390 (Preston: 435).
Photo: Action Images
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