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Ipswich Town 0-1 Cardiff City - Match Report
Wednesday, 21st Feb 2018 22:01

Kenneth Zohore’s 65th minute goal was enough to give Cardiff City a 1-0 victory over the Blues at Portman Road. The Dane netted at the second attempt after initially missing his volley and the ball striking his hand, the visitors having improved after the break after Town had been on top in the first half.

The Blues made five changes to the team which drew 1-1 at Carrow Road on Sunday with Joe Garner and David McGoldrick missing out through injury, and Martyn Waghorn dropping to the bench.

Manager Mick McCarthy stuck with the three-man backline of Cameron Carter-Vickers, skipper Luke Chambers and Adam Webster, while Jordan Spence returned at right wing-back for Dominic Iorfa, who dropped to the bench, and Jonas Knudsen continued on the left.

Cole Skuse was joined by Luke Hyam, making his first league start since May 2016, in midfield with Callum Connolly and Stephen Gleeson among the subs. Mustapha Carayol was a late withdrawal due to illness. Grant Ward, Bersant Celina and Freddie Sears formed a front three.

Cardiff made three changes to the team which beat Middlesbrough 1-0 at the weekend with Armand Traore and Callum Paterson missing out through injury, and Joe Bennett due to illness. Nathaniel Mendez-Laing, Matthew Connolly and Loic Damour came into the team. Ex-Blues keeper Brian Murphy was among their subs.

The Bluebirds might have gone ahead after a minute at a very quiet and noticeably empty Portman Road with the crowd of 13,205 the lowest for a home league game since 11,596 watched a 3-0 victory over Bradford in September 1998.

After Town had made heavy weather of clearing a corner, the ball fell to Connolly, who scuffed wide when he will feel he ought to have done better.

Marko Grujic shot over the top for the Bluebirds on 12 but chances were virtually non-existent in an opening 20 minutes in which the sides battled to gain the upper hand.

Town began to get on top as the game approached the 25-minute mark, Adam Webster nodding a right-wing Celina cross wide from beyond the far post.

The Blues went nearer to an opening goal on 27 when Sears cleverly fed Ward, who struck a low 20-yard shot which Cardiff keeper Neil Etheridge bundled past his left post.

Following the corner, Spence brought the ball back towards the area from deep before hitting an effort which was blocked and then unconvincingly cleared.

Hyam saw a shot deflect up into Philippines international Etheridge’s hands off Sol Bamba on 36.

A minute later the Blues went close again. Spence sent Sears away on the right and the former West Ham striker, who is without a goal in 30 matches, cut in and hit a shot which looked goal-bound until it deflected wide.

Town continued to look the more likely scorers playing the better football and in the 38th minute Spence flicked a header towards goal but without getting much power on it and Grujic cleared from in front of the line.

Cardiff were forced into a change in the 40th minute, skipper Sean Morrison making way for Greg Halford.

Three minutes later, Skuse played a deft ball into the path of Celina but the on-loan Manchester City’s man’s touch past the advancing Etheridge took the ball out of play.

Town were applauded off at the end of a half in which they had been the better side and had come closest to scoring through Sears, who was unfortunate to see his strike deflect wide.

The Blues had begun to get the upper hand midway through the half and were in control and passing the ball around with increasing confidence at the whistle.

Under-par Cardiff’s only significant chance came in the opening moments through Connolly with Bartosz Bialkowski in the Blues goal untested.

The Bluebirds swapped Grujic for Gary Madine ahead of the second half but it was Town who went closest to a goal in the early moments after the break.

Ward won a corner on the right, Celina whipped it over and Webster headed over at the near post when he will feel he might have done better.

The Blues continued to look the more dangerous side, Ward doing well to find himself space on the right before sending in a low ball which deflected behind off a Town player.

However, Cardiff gradually began to get on top with sub Madine making an impact. On 63 Damour screwed a shot wide from distance.

Two minutes later, the Bluebirds took the lead. Joe Ralls’s freekick was won in the air by Madine and knocked back to Zohore. The Dane missed his first strike but recovered - after the ball inadvertently struck his hand - to slot low to Biakowski’s right.

Zohore went close to a second in the 68th minute but sent his header from Junior Hoilett’s freekick over the bar. On 74 Connolly replaced Hyam for the Blues.

Town hadn’t threatened since the early stages of the second half, but in the 75th minute Celina broke forward before finding Ward on the right. The ex-Spurs man cut in but shot across the face of goal.

Two minutes later, Celina took the ball past two Cardiff defenders not far outside the Bluebirds’ box but shot straight at Etheridge.

Town were beginning to get back on top and in the 78th minute Skuse saw what looked a goal-bound shot blocked.

Moments later Cardiff defender Connolly turned Ward’s dangerous right-wing cross over, prior to Waghorn taking over from Spence, Carter-Vickers moving to right-back. Damour’s 84th minute shot deflected wide, before Kevin Bru replaced Ward for the Blues.

As the game moved into its final scheduled five minutes, Waghorn hit a shot against a defender, then Craig Bryson replaced goalscorer Zahore for the visitors.

In injury time, referee Andy Davies frustrated the Blues’ players by awarding a freekick against Carter-Vickers as he tussled with Halford as a corner came across from the left. Bryson was booked for time-wasting.

The Blues continued to push for an equaliser in the remaining minutes but never convincingly and the referee’s whistle confirmed a first defeat in four, leading to muted boos from some sections of the Town support.

Having been the better side in the first half, the Blues started the second in the same manner but the visitors eventually got on top without ever dominating and eventually profited from the one break in either box, with neither keeper overly tested throughout. Once again Town ended up defeated in a game which had had little in it.

The Blues, who are without a goal in their last three home games and have scored two in their last seven at Portman Road, drop to 14th, below Norwich, who claimed another last-gasp draw against Wolves, now nine points off the top six.

Town are next in action at ninth-placed Preston, who have now lost just once in the league in 18 matches, on Saturday.

Town: Bialkowski, Spence (Waghorn 79), Chambers (c), Webster, Carter-Vickers, Knudsen, Ward (Bru 85), Skuse, Hyam (Connolly 74), Celina, Sears. Unused: M Crowe, Kenlock, Gleeson, Iorfa.

""Cardiff: Etheridge, Morrison (c) (Halford 40), Manga, Ralls, Zohore (Bryson 86), Bamba, Connolly, Mendez-Laing, Damour, Grujic (Madine 46), Hoilett. Unused: Murphy, Feeney, Pilkington, Wildschut. Referee: Andy Davies (Hampshire). Att: 13,205 (Cardiff: 371)

Photo: TWTD

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StringerBell added 22:02 - Feb 21
If the season so far was a log that refused to flush, it's definitely disappeared round the u-bend now. Decisively disposed of by the crock of sh!te that is McCarthy. The sooner he fecks off the better.

Spanishblueblood added 22:03 - Feb 21
As Nan would say....
"What a load of shlt"

Superblue95 added 22:03 - Feb 21
Don't think many will be surprised by this after seeing the line up. Our old favourite 14th place looks ready and waiting for us come May

HALLSJ added 22:05 - Feb 21
Town just lost me £558 for a quid- tossers

yungblue added 22:06 - Feb 21
Certainly not one to win the fans back to Portman Road. A dire football match, end of.

Conolly for Hyam whilst Waghorn remained on the bench...? Don't help yourself MM.

Sooner the season ends the better.

Gatehouse added 22:06 - Feb 21
Honestly did anyone expect anything else than a score beginning Ipswich 0 . I leave games now ever more depressed this is total joyless football

TimmyH added 22:07 - Feb 21
Season low 14th in the league and now Norwich and even Millwall above us - sounded like we played ok 1st half but generally never keep it up for 90 minutes.

Wish it was May instead of February...

dirtydingusmagee added 22:07 - Feb 21
beaten by a Cardiff team that were poor on the night. Bru ! where did he appear from ? Well so much for bouncing back , Next .

DallianAttkinson added 22:08 - Feb 21
I must admit I've not been too watch Town since Boxing Day, the same happened last year, both games where dire! I am putting aside all of what has gone on recently but I feel we are always seem to fall away after Christmas I am just questioning the fitness coach and training methods cannot remember a decent second half of a season or a game for that matter. Thoughts guys?

baxter7 added 22:09 - Feb 21
One of the worse teams to play here this season how they are in the top 2 I don't know and we still can't beat them but then again with 7 defenders on the pitch we wasn't likely to Warnock is probably buying mcarthy a few drinks and saying thanks Mick lowest league attendance in years when is it going to end and to top it all the budgies go above us mcarthy out

bobble added 22:09 - Feb 21
the end is nearing..

blueboy1981 added 22:10 - Feb 21
..... no excuses (happy clappers) - we lost to a poor Cardiff side. And the Carrot Crunchers passed us round the outside, 4th bend, last lap, in so doing. Happy with that ? - I'm NOT.

Cardiff as poor as they were - were good enough to take all 3 points back with them.

So please - NO excuses.

blues1 added 22:13 - Feb 21
To be fair, it wasn't the worst performance. A decent 1st half and started the 2nd half quite well. However once Cardiff started to take a bit of control and then scored there was only going to be one result. Until we learn to pass the ball and move for each other we'll struggle to trouble teams. Just 1 shot on target at home yet again. Cardiff never really had too get out of 1st gear to beat us. The lack of goals lately is becoming a concern too.

Sporall added 22:13 - Feb 21
I give up. Someone let me know when my club are back.

martin587 added 22:14 - Feb 21
A team set out not to win but stifle the opposition and we nearly succeeded.First half was ok but second was the same old story.Huffed and puffed without an end result.14 th and on this form that's just about where we deserve to be.!!

ITFC_Cotton added 22:15 - Feb 21
As bad as it sounds but does anyone actually care that much? I can't get to that many games due to working in Plymouth but at the moment I probably check my phone twice a half and honestly when I saw we were 1 down had zero emotion. Unless something drastically changes within this club I can see League 1 within the next 5 years, truly is sad.

ShropshireBluenago09 added 22:16 - Feb 21
Great, MM leaves top scorer on the bench ALL GAME, and plays Sears - 'Mr not scored in 3 years!'. We may have played ok in patches, but we are no where near good enough for top 6 and got to be the most boring team in the whole football league. MM please go.

StringerBell added 22:16 - Feb 21
Sorry Superblue95 - meant to hit up button rather than mark you down. Wholeheartedly agree with your comments about the mediocrity of another 14th (or worse) finish. God help us.

blueboy1981 added 22:17 - Feb 21
........ however you look at it, if you know the game - we started again, at home, with a seven man defence. Eight !! ... with the GK.

This is all McCarthy knows - he cannot, and most definitely WILL NOT change.

Stop making excuses for the Dinosaur.

runaround added 22:17 - Feb 21
No surprise we lost, especially with the baffling team selection although it doesn't sound as though we played too badly. I expect us to win very few games between now and the end of the season as club is in limbo until we know what's happening with McCarthy. Letting it drift like this is only damaging the club further & a decision needs to be made sooner rather than later. I can see no way back for Mick but how he & Evans see it god only knows. It's both heartbreaking yet fascinating to see the club like this & none of us know how it will end

BraveDave added 22:18 - Feb 21
We were reasonable first half, and overall a draw would have been a fair result. But we always seem to go in at half time reasonably optimistic, then come out second half and look like a different team. Not sure what is said at half time, or whether the opposition just always works us out, but it baffles me the number of times it happens. Probably needed to change things as soon as we went a goal down, as at that point we were not creating anything. Feel sorry for the players - no lack of effort, but just feels a bit stale. I think we all just want the end of the season now, whatever that brings.

SheptonMalletBlue added 22:19 - Feb 21
This excuse of a manager is worse than Keane and Jewell put together!!!!!!!

ipswichthickandthin added 22:21 - Feb 21
When will this nightmare end?? He plays a striker that hasn't scored all season in place of our best striker and two holding midfielders who haven't got the bottle or energy to cross the halfway line it's unbelievable how boring and negative this is and he wonders why everyone boos. By all accounts Cardiff were there for the taking and we bottled it again and again and again. We are as bad as the pitch.

Wicksy added 22:26 - Feb 21
ITFC Cotton - 5 years to League 1? Sadly I can see being a lot sooner than that.

midastouch added 22:26 - Feb 21
Yawn, wake me up when the season is over! Everything is becoming so boring and predictable at Portman Road. As much as I love seeing Bart as our No.1 the fact he keeps getting player of the season tells you everything about the way we have played in recent years under Mick. It would be lovely to see a striker get player of the season but it's coming less and less likely under Mick's watch. Since Murphy there's not been much to get excited about up top apart from a brief moment of uncharacteristic exotic formations with 4 up top early in the season during which Waghorn in particular was getting me excited. But then wait for it, Mick in his wisdom decided to reinvent the Waghorn Wheel and we all know where that ends. Out in the cold or more like out in the wilderness on the wing! And I think it's safe to say that Freddie Sears is out of the running again this year for player of the season! As soon as a player has the audacity to hit 10 goals Mick likes to stick them out on the wing until their good for nothing but a free transfer to Colchester!

I can't help remember the start of the season (was it just a dream!) when we were scoring goals for fun, it was looking promising but then Mick Almighty decided to reset to factory settings again (the tried, tested and failed!) and it's been a yawn a minute ever since!

Season over folks... Same ol' same ol'!!!

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