Ipswich Town 1-2 Derby County - Match Report
Saturday, 30th Dec 2017 17:12
Joe Garner headed his seventh goal of the season for the Blues after Sam Winnall had scored twice for Derby as the Blues ended 2017 with a 2-1 home defeat to the Rams. Winnall nodded the visitors in front in the 13th minute as they dominated the first half, then added the second three minutes after the break. Town were better in the second half but were only able to respond with Garner’s goal on 65.
Bersant Celina, Jordan Spence, Kevin Bru and Grant Ward all returned to the Town starting line-up with David McGoldrick, Dominic Iorfa and Freddie Sears dropping to the bench, while Teddy Bishop is out for the season due to a hamstring injury which requires surgery.
Bru joined Callum Connolly in the centre of midfield with Spence coming into his usual right-back role and Celina and Ward either side of Martyn Waghorn in the trio behind lone striker Joe Garner.
Derby, who arrived at Portman Road late, made five changes with Winnall, ex-Blues loanee Tom Lawrence, Andre Wisdom, George Thorne, Johnny Russell all starting.
Former Canary Bradley Johnson and Wales international Joe Ledley both missed out with back problems, while Town nemesis David Nugent - scorer of 15 goals in 16 games against Town and 10 in eight matches at Portman Road - Chris Baird and Andreas Weimann dropped to the bench.
Garner struck the game’s first shot as the 10th minute approached after an uneventful opening to the game. However, the former Forest man’s shot deflected harmlessly through to Scott Carson in the Derby goal.
Three minutes later, the Rams went in front via their first attempt of the match. Lawrence sent over a deep corner from the right, Sam Winnall reached the ball ahead of Jonas Knudsen and the striker’s guided header just crept into the corner of the net.
The former Barnsley and Sheffield Wednesday frontman’s sixth goal of the season looked like one the Blues really ought to have prevented.
Derby should have made it 2-0 almost immediately after skipper Luke Chambers and Adam Webster left a Rams through ball for one another just inside the Town half, allowing Matej Vydra a free run on goal. The former Watford man looked certain to double their lead but as Bartosz Bialkowski advanced he shot wildly over. It was a major let-off for the Blues.
Connolly looped a header towards goal from a Celina freekick on the left in the 18th minute, Carson claiming before he was fouled by Garner.
But the visitors were continuing to present the greater threat with Vydra finding space to shoot from the right of the area a minute later, however, Bialkowski was able his effort away.
On 26 Thorne unleashed a ferocious strike from distance which flew only just over Bialkowski’s bar.
Derby continued to dominate and Lawrence went close to adding to their lead three minutes later. Russell cleverly cut the ball back to him from the byline on the right and Chambers dived in to make a vital block from the ex-Town loanee’s goal-bound strike.
Town weren’t far away from an equaliser as the match reached the half-hour mark. Waghorn sent over a corner from the right and Connolly, who scored the only goal when the teams met at Pride Park last month, sent a looping header towards goal only for Lawrence to nod off the line.
Vydra diverted a cross from the right well wide on 36, then a minute later Huddlestone hit Winnall with a shot from the edge of the box, referee Oliver Langford irking the Blues players by pulling play back for the freekick when they were breaking.
The Town goal was at times living a charmed life. In the 39th minute Vydra cut the ball back from the right from the byline inside the six-yard box and Spence was able to clear from just in front of the line ahead of Winnall.
A minute later Town threatened on the break for the first time, Celina taking the ball forward at pace before turning inside and eventually hitting a shot not too far wide of Carson’s left post.
Soon after, Connolly struck another effort which deflected behind for a corner which the Derby keeper claimed at the second attempt.
But Derby were still looking the most likely scorers of the second goal and on 40 Winnall hit a shot from an angle on the right which Bialkowski helped wide. Webster was subsequently booked for a foul on Vydra in the build-up.
After one minute of injury time the half-time whistle was greeted by boos from some sections of the Blues support.
Derby had dominated the half, were good for their lead and really ought to have been even further in front given the chances they had created after Winnall’s opener.
Town had toiled for the most part, struggling to get out of their own half for long spells with Celina’s long-distance effort and Connolly’s looping header the nearest they had come to an equaliser.
Ward struck the first shot of the second half soon after the restart but Carson claimed confidently down to his right.
But in the 48th minute Derby finally scored their second goal. Winnall picked up a loose ball on the Rams left, brought it inside and smashed an unstoppable 25-yard strike beyond Bialkowski to take his season’s total to seven.
The visitors weren’t too far away from a third in the 53rd minute, Bialkowski doing well to cut out and then claim Russell’s cutback from the left.
Town gradually began to make some headway, Connolly hitting a 25-yard strike wide off a team-mate on 55.
Winnall spurned a chance to complete his hat-trick on the hour, screwing his shot over from inside the area on the left after being found by Vydra.
A minute later, Thorne struck a low effort which Bialkowski pounced on to his left, then Lawrence shot only just over from 30 yards.
Town, with Celina now in the middle of the trio behind Garner, almost pulled a goal back in the 63rd minute when Ward crossed from the right and Bru headed wide when unmarked at the far post as he broke into the area from deep.
And three minutes later, the Blues did get on the scoresheet. Waghorn whipped in the third of three corners from the right and Garner headed into the net from close range. It was the first goal the Rams had conceded since losing to the Blues at Pride Park a month ago, 601 minutes of football ago.
Having got a foothold in the game the Blues began to look more confident going forward. In the 69th minute Knudsen cut in from the left and hit a right-footed shot which was deflected behind.
The Rams failed to deal with the resultant corner but the ball wouldn’t fall to a Town player and eventually referee Langford awarded a foul against a Blues player.
On 70 McGoldrick replaced Bru for Town, Weimann having taken over from Lawrence for the visitors.
Two minutes later, the Town number 10 almost made a dramatic impact, flicking a near-post header across the face of goal but wide from a Waghorn corner on the right.
Blues defender Webster went down having suffered a knock - worrying it appeared to his ankle - following the flag-kick and was replaced by Dominic Iorfa with Spence joining Chambers at the centre of the defence.
As the game moved into its final 10 minutes Town were having most of the ball but finding it tough to create an opening against Derby’s resilient backline.
The visitors were still having chances, however, Bialkowski doing well to force Weimann wide after he was played in on the right of the box by Richard Keogh. On 81 Marcus Olsson replaced Vydra.
Ward shot over on 85 with the Blues continuing to push for an equaliser. Four minutes later Derby swapped two-goal Winnall for Chris Baird.
The fourth official indicated five minutes of additional time as Town took a freekick on the left. Eventually Ward’s cross from the right reached Knudsen at a tight angle at the far post but the Dane’s header hit the side-netting.
Town were unable to threaten again before referee Langford brought the game to an end to cheers from the visiting fans in the Cobbold Stand. In contrast to the half-time boos, the Blues players were applauded off by their support.
Having been very much second best in the first half, and fortunate to be only a goal behind, Town were much better in the second, but after the Rams had already doubled their lead via Winnall’s brilliant second of the afternoon.
Garner’s goal got the Blues back in the game and they kept pushing until the whistle but without carving out the chance which would have won them a point.
Former Town loanee Jack Colback, these days with Newcastle, was in the crowd, understood to have been a guest of his former Sunderland team-mate Waghorn.
The defeat - the seventh successive game between the Blues and the Rams to be won by the away side - sees Town drop to 11th but still five points off the play-offs ahead of Tuesday night’s game at Fulham, who are one place behind them on goal difference alone following their 2-2 draw at Hull City this afternoon.
Town: Bialkowski, Spence, Chambers (c), Webster (Iorfa 74), Knudsen, Connolly, Bru (McGoldrick 70), Ward, Waghorn, Celina, Garner. Unused: M Crowe, T Smith, Sears, Kenlock, McDonnell.
Derby: Carson, Wisdom, Davies, Keogh (c), Forsyth, Huddlestone, Thorne, Russell, Vydra (Olsson 81), Lawrence (Weimann 69), Winnall ( Baird 89). Unused: Mitchell, Martin, Pearce, Nugent. Referee: Oliver Langford (West Midlands). Att: 18,267 (Derby 1,389).
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