Ipswich Town 2-2 Nottingham Forest - Half-Time
Saturday, 2nd Dec 2017 15:59
Callum Connolly and Dominic Iorfa both gave the Blues the lead but Town’s home game against Nottingham Forest stands at 2-2 at half-time, Kieran Dowell and Tyler Walker having netted equalisers for the visitors.
Iorfa returned to the side for suspended skipper Luke Chambers and started at right-back with Jordan Spence joining Adam Webster at the centre of the defence.
Otherwise the Blues were unchanged from the team which won 1-0 at Derby on Tuesday. Myles Kenlock was on the bench having overcome a hamstring injury which saw him miss training earlier in the week.
Forest included ex-Blues striker Daryl Murphy from the start and former loanee Stephen Henderson on the bench. They made one change from the team which lost 2-0 at Cardiff last weekend with Liam Bridcutt returning from suspension and replacing Barrie McKay in midfield.
Martyn Waghorn curled a freekick over the bar in the fourth minute after stand-in skipper Cole Skuse had been tripped by Bridcutt.
On seven Grant Ward won another freekick 25 yards out from which Town, who had dominated the opening minutes, took the lead.
Skuse tapped the kick to Waghorn, who hit low strike past the wall. Forest keeper Jordan Smith got down to his right and saved but could neither hold on nor push the ball away and Connolly followed up to smash his second goal in two games - and his first at Portman Road - into the net from close range.
Murphy headed a Ben Osborn cross over for the visitors on 10 but the Blues were continuing to look the more threatening side and on the quarter-hour they created another decent opportunity.
Huws brought the ball in from the left and fed Connolly, who turned it on to Ward breaking into the right of the box but the former Spurs man blazed over when he had time to bring the ball in closer to goal.
There was a big scare for the Blues on 17 when Dowell escaped down the left and cut the ball back to Murphy, who turned a low shot goalwards.
Bartosz Bialkowski saved to his left but the loose ball fell to Walker, who stabbed a weak effort towards the net, but the Blues keeper got back across to claw it away from just in front of the line.
The ball was cleared to the edge of the box and Eric Lichaj hit a powerful strike wide of Bialkowski’s left post.
But it was still mainly Town, who were keeping possession far better than in recent games, with Huws starting to look his old self in midfield. On 23 Skuse saw an opportunity for a strike but scuffed his effort wide.
However, just before the half hour the visitors got back on terms. Iorfa fouled Osborn 25 yards out, just to the left of centre and Dowell stepped up and curled his freekick over the wall, beyond Bialkowski to his left and just inside the post.
The game was more open and end to end following Forest’s equaliser and in the 36th minute Waghorn had the ball in the Forest net but with the linesman’s flag raised after Knudsen had strayed offside.
But Town fans only had to wait two more minutes for a second goal. After an Armand Traore cross from the left had been cut out, Iorfa headed clear from the edge of the Town box to Waghorn on halfway. Huws moved it on to Celina, who broke forward before playing in the overlapping Knudsen behind him.
The Danish international crossed deep to the far post where his fellow full-back Iorfa rose highest to head his first Blues goal into the net.
Huws hit a powerful strike not too far over on 41 as Town went looking for a third. However, the Blues’ second lead of the afternoon lasted only six minutes.
Bridcutt played a deft pass over the Town backline for Walker, who got in behind Webster on the right of the area, shot across Bialkowski and into the net before Spence could get across to cover. From the Blues’ perspective it was another poor goal to concede.
Dowell was booked for a late challenge on Iorfa as the half moved into three minutes of injury time in which neither side was able to threaten again.
The Blues had started the game very strongly with Forest rarely in it until they scored their first goal.
Having regained their lead via Iorfa’s header, Town will feel they should have gone in ahead at half-time - a lead they would have deserved on the balance of play - with Forest’s second goal very preventable.
Town: Bialkowski, Iorfa, Spence, Webster, Knudsen, Skuse (c), Connolly, Ward, Huws, Celina, Waghorn. Subs: Gerken, Bishop, Sears, Nydam, Bru, Kenlock, Morris.
Forest: Smith, Lichaj, Mancienne (c), Worrall, Traore, Bridcutt, Vaughan, Walker, Dowell, Osborn, Murphy. Subs: Henderson, Mills, McKay, Clough, Carayol, Bouchalakis, Cummings. Referee: Darren Bond (Lancashire).
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