Ipswich Town 0-0 Sheffield United - Half-Time
Saturday, 10th Mar 2018 15:57
Town’s home game with Sheffield United remains 0-0 at half-time.
Myles Kenlock, Bersant Celina, Stephen Gleeson and Dominic Iorfa all returned to the Blues’ starting XI, while Jonas Knudsen missed out due to a tight hamstring and Mustapha Carayol with the groin problem he suffered at Sheffield Wednesday in midweek. Jordan Spence and Luke Hyam dropped to the bench.
Kenlock replaced Knudsen at left wing-back, Iorfa was in for Spence on the right, while Gleeson started in the midfield trio with Cole Skuse and Callum Connolly. Celina played off main striker Martyn Waghorn.
Cameron Carter-Vickers, who spent the first half of the season with the Blades, was again part of a back three with skipper Luke Chambers and Adam Webster.
For the visitors, Ched Evans and John Lundstram came into the team replacing Clayton Donaldson, who was on the bench, and Mark Duffy, absent due to a tight calf. Ex-Blues loanee Richard Stearman started in the Blades defence.
George Baldock struck the game’s first shot for the South Yorkshiremen in the second minute but Blues keeper Bartosz Bialkowski, fresh from receiving his first Poland call-up yesterday, got down to his right to save comfortably.
Bialkowski was in action again two minutes later when Lee Evans curled a not overly testing 25-yard freekick into his arms.
The Blues threatened for the first time in the sixth minute, Kenlock breaking and then sending Waghorn away down the left with a perfectly weighted pass. Town’s top scorer crossed and Jack O’Connell turned the ball behind.
A minute later, Waghorn, scorer of both the Blues’ goals at Hillsborough, hit his first shot of the afternoon, cleverly turning away from his man before shooting across the face and wide.
Ex-Blues loanee Stearman got his name in the book in the ninth minute after he had been caught in possession midway inside the Blades’ half by Waghorn, who he hauled back as he broke towards goal. Another defender was covering so the yellow card looked the right decision.
Waghorn took the freekick himself and floated the ball towards the far post from where Iorfa stooped to head goalwards from a tight angle, Jamal Blackman in the Blades goal diverting it behind.
Bialkowski snaffled John Fleck’s well-struck shot for the visitors on 12, then four minutes later Celina scraped an effort wide at the other end.
After an entertaining first quarter of an hour of plenty of chances, opportunities dried up at both ends.
The Blades began to get on top and there was a major scare for the Blues on 33 when Fleck played his skipper Billy Sharp in behind the Town defence.
The former Doncaster man hooked the bouncing ball over the advancing Bialkowski but was unable to get in an effort at goal before he was outmuscled by Chambers. The Blades striker’s hopeful penalty appeal was ignored by referee John Brooks.
Soon after, Gleeson shot high and wide for Town, then on 40 Skuse was booked for catching Lee Evans late.
Town threatened as the break approached, Celina cutting in and shooting wide following a corner shortly before the half was brought to a close with the scores still level.
After an end to end first quarter of an hour or so in which both sides had chances, the Blades had the better of it but with Sharp’s chance where he got in behind the Town defence their only significant opportunity.
The Blues began to look more dangerous towards the end of the half but Blackman hadn’t been forced to make a serious save.
Town: Bialkowski, Carter-Vickers, Chambers (c), Webster, Iorfa, Skuse, Connolly, Gleeson, Kenlock, Celina, Waghorn. Subs: M Crowe, Spence, Garner, Ward, Hyam, Sears, Nydam.
Sheffield United: Blackman, Basham, Stearman, O’Connell, Stevens, Fleck, L Evans, Lundstram, Baldock, Sharp (c), C Evans. Moore, Donaldson, Wilson, Leonard, Lafferty, Holmes, Brooks. Referee: John Brooks (Leicestershire).
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