Brentford 0-0 Ipswich Town - Half-Time
Saturday, 7th Apr 2018 16:08
Town’s game at Brentford remains 0-0 at the break, however, they have lost skipper Luke Chambers to what looked to be a collarbone injury.
Tristan Nydam, Cameron Carter-Vickers, Luke Hyam, Callum Connolly and Freddie Sears all returned to a Town line-up featuring five changes from Monday’s 2-2 draw with Millwall.
The Blues started with the three-man backline of Carter-Vickers, skipper Luke Chambers and Adam Webster, with Jonas Knudsen at left wing-back and Jordan Spence on the right.
With Cole Skuse missing out with a head injury, Hyam, Nydam and Callum Connolly were in midfield with Sears joining Martyn Waghorn up front.
Young Australian striker Ben Folami was on the bench, having made his Championship debut as a sub against Millwall, alongside Stephen Gleeson, Mustapha Carayol, Myles Kenlock and Bersant Celina who all started against the Lions.
For Brentford, Neil Maupay replaced the injured Florian Jozefzoon in an otherwise unchanged side, while Alan Judge made his first home start since suffering a broken leg at Portman Road in April 2016.
Hyam, the man whose tackle led to that injury, was booed every time he touched the ball in opening exchanges in which nether side was able to get on top.
Brentford carved out the game’s first chance in the 10th minute and only a very sharp reaction stop from Bartosz Bialkowski prevented them from going in front.
Following a swift break, Yoann Barbet hit a shot which was going well wide to the left of the keeper until Maupay diverted it to his right and the Polish international keeper somehow managed to get his foot across to force it past the post.
Judge blazed over in the corner’s aftermath before the Blues’ first real attack was ended by a linesman’s flag as Waghorn attempted an overhead kick on the edge of the six-yard box.
On 17 Carter-Vickers was shown the first yellow card of the afternoon, rather harshly, for a foul on Judge. Soon after Barbet was fortunate not to join him for hauling back Sears midway inside the Bees half. Waghorn’s freekick eventually came to nothing.
Four minutes later, Blues captain Chambers collided heavily with keeper Bialkowski and after treatment was forced off with an injury which could well see him miss the rest of the season.
The Blues defender had chased a ball over the top and didn’t appear to see Bialkowski as he ran off his line towards him.
The Town skipper immediately called for assistance for what looked to be a collarbone problem and after treatment was gingerly walked to the tunnel by the Town doctor with a brace already on his arm.
Kenlock took over at left wing-back with Knudsen, who took the captain’s armband, moving to the left of the back three and Webster into the centre.
Chances had continued to be rarities in a not overly enthralling match. On 32 Romaine Sawyers latched on to a ball over the top but scraped his shot well wide of Bialkowski’s left post.
Town struck their first effort of the game in the 37th minute, Kenlock shooting behind from the left of the area after good work from Nydam, Waghorn having initially sent Sears away with a fine ball into space down the right.
In the penultimate minute of scheduled time, Bialkowski batted away a Judge shot from the edge of the box and Maupay was crowded out after the rebound landed at his feet.
The Blues had the ball in the net a minute later, Connolly having been found by a Hyam chip over the top into the area. The on-loan Everton man eventually back-heeled the ball through the keeper’s legs and into the net but after referee Robert Jones had blown his whistle for handball, a decision the midfielder contested vehemently.
Connolly headed straight at Brentford keeper Daniel Bentley from a deep Waghorn corner from the right, then at the other end Bialkowski saved low from Ollie Watkins during four minutes of otherwise uneventful added-on time.
As manager Mick McCarthy made his way across the pitch from the dugout to the tunnel, a section of Town fans sang ‘Cheerio’ in his direction among other more abusive chants which the Blues boss sarcastically applauded.
It was a half memorable for very little aside from the rare sight of Chambers being forced off by an injury.
Brentford had played most of the football but had only threatened on a couple of occasions when they found Bialkowski at his best.
As ever, there was no lack of effort from the Blues but aside from Waghorn no one else had shown much quality on the ball and Kenlock’s effort wide was the only shot.
Brentford: Bentley, Maupay, McEachran, Watkins, Mokotjo, Egan, Judge, Sawyers, Dalsgaard, Barbet, Mepham. Subs: Daniels, Macleod, Bjelland, Yennaris, Marcondes, Clarke, Canos.
Town: Bialkowski, Carter-Vickers, Chambers (c) (Kenlock 24), Webster, Spence, Hyam, Nydam, Connolly, Knudsen, Sears, Waghorn. Subs: M Crowe, Celina, Ward, Gleeson, Carayol, Folami. Referee: Robert Jones (Merseyside).
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