Ipswich Town 1-0 Barnsley - Match Report
Tuesday, 10th Apr 2018 22:05
Jonas Knudsen nodded home the only goal as Town beat relegation-threatened Barnsley 1-0 at Portman Road in what turns out to be manager Mick McCarthy’s last game in charge of the Blues. The Danish World Cup hopeful headed Mustapha Carayol’s corner past Tykes keeper Adam Davies in the 54th minute. McCarthy ended his post-match press conference by saying it was his final match with the Blues before walking out.
Town’s home game against Barnsley remains 0-0 at half-time, the Tykes having come closest to breaking the deadlock when ex-Blues striker Kieffer Moore hit the bar early on.
Barry Cotter, who joined the Blues from League of Ireland side Limerick on deadline day, was handed his Town debut from the start at right wing-back, while Myles Kenlock came into the team at left wing-back.
Jordan Spence moved to the right of a back three with Cameron Carter-Vickers and Knudsen with skipper Luke Chambers and Adam Webster both ruled out by injury.
Cotter coming into the side was one of five changes with Myles Kenlock in at left wing-back with Jordan Spence on the right.
Cole Skuse, wearing the captain’s armband, returned to the central midfield, along with Callum Connolly as the Blues lined up in a 3-4-3 system, while Mustapha Carayol and Bersant Celina were back in the front three either side of Martyn Waghorn.
Former Blues striker Kieffer Moore and ex-Town loanee Zeki Fryers both started for the Tykes.
The visitors started the stronger and in only the fifth minute Moore went within an inch or so of putting the side he joined from Town in January ahead.
After Adam Hammill’s shot had deflected over, the former member of Mick McCarthy’s squad at Wolves whipped over the corner from the left and the ex-Blue headed against the bar. Kenlock hooked away the loose ball.
Connolly scuffed a weak effort through to Tykes keeper Adam Davies, but Moore was proving a big danger in the opening minutes and on 11 Carter-Vickers did well to get in ahead of the former Forest Green man as a cross came in from the left.
A minute later, another Hammill ball in from the left flew beyond Moore and Bialkowski had to react quickly to bundle it past the post and prevent it nestling in the corner of the net.
Town gradually began to get into the game, which was being played in a pre-season-like atmosphere, with Carayol thwarted as he broke into the area on the left before swapping flanks with Celina.
The Gambian international then found the on-loan Manchester City man with a cross-field ball but the Kosovo international was similarly crowded out.
However, Town’s spell on top was short lived with the visitors quickly getting back on top. On 25 they might have gone in front when Brad Potts was played in on the left of the area by Hammill but shot into the side-netting.
Three minutes later, Connolly turned Carayol’s corner from the right over, then just after the half hour the Blues should have taken the lead with the move of the first period.
As Town broke quickly, Carayol deftly flicked the ball into Waghorn’s path and the former Rangers man squared for Celina in space in the middle on the edge of the box but the Kosovo international blazed over when he really should have done much better.
The Tykes had the ball in the net in the 38th minute but Lloyd Isgrove had strayed offside before running on to Gary Gardner’s pass after Moore’s knockdown.
Town weren’t too far away from opening the scoring a minute later via debutant Cotter. Carayol’s deep cross from the left reached the Irishman just inside the box on the right and his powerful strike flew only just over Davies’s crossbar.
Just before the whistle, Hammill cut in from the left but was unable to get any power on his shot and it struck one of his own players.
The Tykes will feel they had the better of the half having had most of the ball and more of the better chances, Moore hitting the woodwork and Potts having shot into the side-netting.
Celina should have taken his chance, while the strike from Cotter, who will be pleased with his first 45 minutes in the Championship, particularly when going forward, was the Blues’ only other serious attempt at goal.
Four minutes after the restart Oli McBurnie shot over for the South Yorkshiremen, then at the other end Skuse volleyed wide after Kenlock’s cross from the left was headed out to him.
And in the 54th minute the Blues took the lead. Carayol sent over a corner from the left and Knudsen got ahead of his marker to flick a header across Davies from the near post and into the net before celebrating his first goal of the season in front of the Sir Bobby Robson Stand.
Barnsley looked to hit back immediately with Adam Jackson heading over from a freekick, then impressive debutant Cotter was replaced by Ward, the crowd initially booing manager Mick McCarthy’s decision to sub him before very warmly applauding the debutant off the field. On the hour Ben Folami took over from Carayol with Town now playing 4-4-2.
On 68 Ward, scorer of a debut hat-trick against Barnsley at Portman Road last season, screwed well wide after Waghorn had sent Celina away on the left.
Five minutes later, goalscorer Knudsen got his name in referee James Linington’s book for a wild lunge on Tykes sub Tom Bradshaw. Another Reds sub Ryan Hedges smashed the freekick against a Town player and the danger was gone.
With Barnsley pushing players forward in numbers, the Blues were looking likely to score every time they broke forward with Ward a significant threat down the right.
First Waghorn shot too hastily well wide, then Celina shot against the advancing Davies from the left of the area when again the Kosovan will feel he ought to have done better.
On 76 Folami turned the ball back to Skuse on the edge of the area and the midfielder shot only just over the bar.
After Moore had headed well over for the Tykes at one end, the Ward crossed from the right and Waghorn was similarly unable to nod on target.
Barnsley threw everything they could at Town in the closing minutes and on 89 a loose ball ran to Moore in space just inside the box but his shot was blocked and Kenlock cleared.
Tykes skipper Andy Yiadom was booked for dissent as the game entered three minutes of injury time.
Deep in injury time the Blues broke through Waghorn and Folami was unable to pick out Celina in acres of space breaking down the middle.
Seconds later, the whistle went to confirm Town’s first win in seven to what’s been an uncharacteristic cheer from the Blues support in recent weeks.
Debutant Cotter ran towards the Sir Bobby Robson Stand and saluted the fans at the end, then goalscorer Knudsen stood in for skipper Chambers on fist-pump duty.
Town deserved the victory on the strength of their second half performance and they had enough chances to win the game more comfortably.
The result sees the Blues move up two places to 12th, ahead of Norwich on goal difference, with four matches left to play. Barnsley remain third from bottom, two points from safety with a game in hand.
Town: Bialkowski, Spence, Carter-Vickers, Knudsen, Cotter (Ward 56), Skuse (c), Connolly, Kenlock, Carayol (Folami 60), Waghorn, Celina. Unused: M Crowe, Hyam, Sears, Nydam, Gleeson.
Barnsley: Davies, Fryers (Mallan 81), Lindsey, Hammill (Bradshaw 63), Isgrove (Hedges 56), McBurnie, Yiadom (c), Jackson, Moore, Potts, Gardner. Unused: Walton, McCarthy, Pinnock, Mahoney. Referee: James Linington (Newport Isle-of-Wight). Att: 13,271 (Barnsley: 326).
Photo: Action Images
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