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Ipswich Town 0-0 Leeds United - Half-Time
Saturday, 13th Jan 2018 16:05

Bersant Celina hit the post late on but Town’s home game against Leeds remains 0-0 at the break with the Whites down ti 10 men following Eunan O’Kane’s red card.

Dean Gerken started in goal for the Blues for the first time in the league this season with regular keeper Bartosz Bialkowski out with a minor calf injury.

Cole Skuse, Joe Garner and Martyn Waghorn came back into the starting line-up for Luke Hyam, Kevin Bru and Freddie Sears, who were all subs.

Young defender Chris Smith was on an inexperienced bench having been recalled from his loan spell at Chelmsford.

Leeds made seven changes from the side which lost 2-1 to Newport County in the FA Cup last week.

Prior to kick-off there was a minute’s applause in tribute to Blues legend Ted Phillips, who died earlier in the week aged 84.

Town claimed a penalty in the fifth minute when striker Joe Garner was caught by a Leeds boot inside the area. Referee Robert Jones waved the protests away, appearing to indicate that Garner, who subsequently required lengthy treatment, had handled the ball prior to receiving the kick.

The Blues started slightly more brightly than the Whites, who went into the match six places and seven points above the hosts, in a quiet opening but without creating a serious chance.

In the 15th minute Gaetano Berardi crossed from the Leeds right wing and Gerken collided with Kemar Roofe as he sought to punch. The loose ball fell to Ezgjan Alioski, but he scraped wide.

Three minutes later, Skuse fed Celina on the left and the on-loan Manchester City man cut the ball back towards a number of Town players breaking into the box but a Leeds defender toed the ball back to keeper Felix Wiedwald.

The West Yorkshiremen went closer on 19 when Pablo Hernandez cut back from the right to Pawel Cibicki, but the Swede mishit wide when he ought to have done better.

Three minutes later, Celina played in McGoldrick on the right of the Leeds box but Garner was unable to direct his chipped ball on target beyond the far post.

Leeds were forced into a sub on 28 with Hadi Sacko replacing Cibicki, who had undergone treatment a few minutes earlier following a tackle by Iorfa.

There was a scare for the Blues in the 32nd minute when Roofe escaped down the right and cut into the box. Jonas Knudsen, playing at left centre-half, held the ex-Oxford man up before slipping, but skipper Luke Chambers blocked the striker’s subsequent shot.

Leeds were getting on top and were beginning to dictate the game but in the 37th minute they were reduced to 10 men.

Myles Kenlock saw the ball out of play on the right and was shoved unnecessarily by O’Kane. Knudsen appeared to remonstrate with the Irishman, who lashed out with an elbow, flooring the Danish international. Referee Robert Jones, who was close to the incident, immediately showed the ex-Bournemouth man a red card.

There was little complaint from the Leeds players as O’Kane very slowly made his way towards the tunnel and Knudsen underwent treatment at length before continuing.

Two minutes before the scheduled end of the half Waghorn hit the outside of the post with a corner from the right.

Now with a man advantage the Blues began to dominate. Celina cut a dangerous ball back from the left which Vurnon Anita turned behind ahead of Garner, although referee Jones awarded a goalkick.

In injury time, Celina was inches away from opening the scoring, the Kosovan international curling a brilliant 25-yard strike past Wiedwald but off his left post. Callum Connolly was first to the rebound but his shot was deflected wide, referee Jones again erroneously giving a goalkick.

Moments later the official’s whistle ended a half which had really only burst into life in the closing stages.

Town just about shaded the opening but Leeds had created the better chances and had started to get on top when O’Kane needlessly got himself sent off.

The Blues had begun to make their numerical advantage tell as the break approached with Celina unlucky not to have broken the deadlock with his late strike.

Town: Gerken, Iorfa, Chambers (c), Knudsen, Kenlock, Skuse, Connolly, Waghorn, McGoldrick, Celina, Garner. Subs: M Crowe, Hyam, Sears, Drinan, Bru, McDonnell, C Smith.

Leeds: Wiedwald, Berardi, Jansson, Cooper (c), Anita, Phillips, O'Kane, Cibicki (Sacko 28), Hernandez, Alioski, Roofe. Subs: Lonergan, Lasogga, Grot, Dallas, Sacko, Shaughnessy, Klich. Referee: Robert Jones (Merseyside).

Photo: TWTD

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