Ipswich Town 4-2 Nottingham Forest - Match Report
Saturday, 2nd Dec 2017 17:14
Callum Connolly, Dominic Iorfa, Martyn Waghorn and Bersant Celina were all on target as Town beat Nottingham Forest 4-2 at Portman Road. Connolly netted his second goal in two games in the seventh minute, Forest equalised via Kieran Dowell’s freekick on 29, then Iorfa’s first senior goal restored Town’s lead in the 37th minute before Tyler Walker made the scoreline 2-2 six minutes later. Eight minutes after the break Waghorn made the most of some hesitant defending to make it 3-2 and Celina sealed a deserved three points on 67.
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.
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 above Traore to head his first senior goal for either the Blues or parent club Wolves 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 between Iorfa and Webster on the right of the area, shot first time across Bialkowski and into the net. While it was a clever ball into the box, 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.
Ex-Blues striker Murphy hit the second half’s first effort five minutes after the restart. The Irish international twisted and turned his way past Webster before hitting a right-foot shot from an angle on the right of the box which Bialkowski palmed over.
Forest had started the second period strongly but in the 54th minute Town went ahead for the third time.
Mancienne appeared to slip under pressure from Waghorn as he looked to see a ball played from deep by Connolly back to Smith and the Town striker seized on his error, took it into the area before confidently stroking his 10th goal of the season past the keeper.
Waghorn, unsurprisingly full of confidence having scored, shot over from a freekick on the right when he ought to have crossed in the 58th minute.
Murphy got behind the Town defence chasing a ball down the middle on 66 but shot straight at Bialkowski.
And a minute later, the Blues extended their lead to two goals for the first time. Forest gave the ball away just inside their half on the Town right and Huws brilliantly played in Waghorn.
The Town top scorer might have taken it on and shot himself, but instead he cut the ball across to the breaking Celina, who tapped home his seventh goal of the campaign.
Ahead of the restart, Forest made a double switch, Mustapha Carayol and Andreas Bouchalakis replacing Osborn and Vaughan.
Celina and Waghorn interchanged well again on 70, the former Leicester and Sunderland man shooting into the side-netting from a tight angle on the left. Moments later, Huws was replaced by Kevin Bru to warm applause from the Town support.
Waghorn was booked for a foul on Joe Worrall on 82, then two minutes later was replaced by Freddie Sears to a standing ovation from the Blues support.
Iorfa headed a Celina corner from the left wide at the far post, then Connolly was somewhat harshly booked for a foul when he looked to have won the ball.
In injury time Carayol saw a shot deflect over then from the corner Murphy powered a header goalwards but Bialkowski superbly palmed the ball onto the underside of the bar and it was cleared.
After Bridcutt was booked for a needlessly cynical foul on Ward as he broke - the game had effectively been over since Celina’s goal - referee Darren Bond blew the final whistle to confirm Town’s second win over East Midlands opposition in five days.
As is becoming familiar, Knudsen took on Sir Bobby Robson Stand fist-pump duties in the absence of skipper Chambers
Town were well worth their win - indeed they probably should have had the three points confirmed in the first half - with Forest never able to impose their patient passing game on the Blues.
Once Waghorn had clinically netted his 10th of the season - all in the league, more than top scorer Tom Lawrence netted last season - and Celina had scored his seventh the result and Town's first back-to-back wins since the five-game winning streak in August were in little doubt.
The victory sees the Blues up two places to seventh, three points off the play-offs ahead of next Saturday's game at Middlesbrough, who were beaten 2-1 at Bristol City in the day's later game.
Town: Bialkowski, Iorfa, Spence, Webster, Knudsen, Skuse (c), Connolly, Ward, Huws (Bru 67), Celina, Waghorn (Sears 84). Unused: Gerken, Bishop, Nydam, Kenlock, Morris.
Forest: Smith, Lichaj, Mancienne (c), Worrall, Traore, Bridcutt, Vaughan (Bouchalakis 68), Walker (McKay 81), Dowell, Osborn (Carayol 68), Murphy. Unused: Henderson, Mills, Clough, Cummings. Referee: Darren Bond (Lancashire). Att: 16,808 (Forest: 1,124).
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