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Ipswich Town 0-1 Sheffield United - Half-Time
Saturday, 6th Jan 2018 16:04

Nathan Thomas’s 25th minute goal has given Sheffield United a 1-0 half-time lead over the Blues in this afternoon’s FA Cup third round tie at Portman Road.

Tommy Smith was not included in a Town side featuring six changes. Jonas Knudsen came in at centre-half alongside skipper Luke Chambers with Myles Kenlock at left-back and Dominic Iorfa at right-back as Town started in a 4-3-3 system.

Luke Hyam made his first start for 19 months in midfield alongside Callum Connolly and Kevin Bru

Up front, Freddie Sears was on the right and Bersant Celina on the left of central striker David McGoldrick.

New signing Aaron Drinan was on the bench alongside young defender Pat Webber and midfielder or striker Shane McLoughlin, whose only senior appearances for the Blues came at Crystal Palace in the Carabao Cup earlier in the season.

The Blades made eight changes with former Town academy striker Caolan Lavery up front with skipper Billy Sharp, a regular Blues target over the years.

Town claimed an early penalty when Chambers headed the ball towards goal from a Celina corner from the right and it appeared to strike Daniel Lafferty on the arm. The Blues captain was adamant that the Blues should have been awarded a spot-kick but referee Mike Jones waved away the protests.

The home side had started the brighter of the two teams and in the seventh minute Celina brought the ball in a long way from the left before hitting a shot which deflected behind.

Town continued to look the better side with Iorfa proving a danger down the right, but on 15 Nathan Thomas hit the Blades’ first effort of the game wide from the edge of the box.

On 24 a corner on the right was played to Hyam on the edge of the area by Celina and the returning midfielder shot over. As the Blades prepared to take their goalkick, Chambers was booked for dissent claiming it had taken a deflection and ought to have been a corner.

A minute later, the visitors took the lead. Thomas, making only his second start for the South Yorkshiremen, was played the ball by Lavery 25 yards out and lashed a superb strike into the top corner of the net, Bartosz Bialkowski only managing to help it on with his right hand.

Town hadn’t threatened to get back on terms before the Blades went close to a second, Chris Basham cutting in from the left and shooting just wide in the 38th minute.

The Blues continued to having the lion’s share possession as half-time approached but without being able to carve out a chance. In the final scheduled minute Kenlock was played in on the left of the box but his low ball was cut out.

Just before the break Basham was booked for catching Bru in the head with a high boot, the Mauritius international subsequently requiring lengthy treatment.

Town had had plenty of the ball in a not overly enthralling first half but without creating anything of note, while the visitors had similarly carved out little at the other end. Thomas’s excellent goal had been rather out of place in the half as a whole.

Town: Bialkowski, Iorfa, Chambers (c), Knudsen, Kenlock, Connolly, Hyam, Bru, Celina, Sears, McGoldrick. Subs: M Crowe, Skuse, Waghorn, Garner, Drinan, Webber, McLoughlin.

Sheffield United: Blackman, Baldock, Basham, Thomas, Sharp (c), Wright, Carter-Vickers, Stearman, Lavery, Lafferty, Carruthers. Subs: Moore, Stevens, Fleck, O’Connell, Donaldson, Slater, Norrington-Davies. Referee: Mike Jones (Cheshire).

Photo: TWTD

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