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Ipswich Town 2-2 Blackburn Rovers - Match Report
Saturday, 4th Aug 2018 17:21

Debutant sub Tayo Edun netted a fortuitous injury time equaliser as the Blues and Blackburn drew 2-2 at Portman Road in Paul Hurst’s first Championship game in charge. Gwion Edwards put Town in front with a debut goal of his own in the fifth minute but Danny Graham and Bradley Dack put Rovers in front at the break and the visitors might well have sealed the win before Edun’s late leveller.

Much-targeted Blues striker Martyn Waghorn was left out of the 18 with last season’s 16-goal top scorer expected to join either Derby or Middlesbrough before Thursday’s deadline.

Bartosz Bialkowski started in goal with Jordan Spence at right-back, Jonas Knudsen at left-back and Janoi Donacien making his Blues debut in the centre with skipper Luke Chambers in Hurst’s preferred 4-2-3-1 system.

Trevoh Chalobah was another debutant alongside Cole Skuse with Flynn Downes ahead of them and Freddie Sears on the left.

Debut-makers three and four, Edwards and Ellis Harrison, were on the right and up front respectively

Andre Dozzell was on the bench alongside Town’s other new summer signings, Jordan Roberts and Tayo Edun. Tristan Nydam was also absent from the 18, presumably due to injury.

Former Blues skipper, coach and caretaker-manager Tony Mowbray, who has former Portman Road favourites Mark Venus and David Lowe on his staff, included ex-Town loan striker Dominic Samuel in his side.

The first goal of the Hurst era took only five minutes to come and the honour of scoring it went to one of the new manager’s summer signings, Edwards.

With neither side having previously threatened, Sears sent over a deep cross from the left and the former Peterborough man ran in at the back of the box and diverted a header across Blackburn keeper David Raya and just inside the post.

The Welshman celebrated gleefully in front of the Co-op Stand and was joined by his new team-mates.

Blackburn levelled with their first significant attack in the 20th minute of an otherwise chance free half.

A freekick from deep on the left was nodded back across goal by Darragh Lenihan and Derrick Williams flicked it towards goal. Bialkowski was only able to paw it into the air and his subsequent punch hit Donacien and fell to Danny Graham 10 yards out, from where the striker smashed into the net.

The game continued to be a very even affair of few chances but with Rovers slightly having the edge and in the 29th minute the visitors went in front via their second chance of the game.

Williams, who spent time training with the Town academy as a youngster before opting to join Aston Villa, was sent away down the left by Graham and crossed to the untracked Bradley Dack, who slammed home from a matter of feet.

Ten minutes before half-time Harrison was booked for a foul on Williams and moments later Town were forced into a change when Spence was forced off with a knock and Luke Woolfenden took over. The academy product joined Chambers at the heart of the defence with Donacien moving to right-back.

On 42 Harrison used his pace and strength to get to a ball down the middle but was unable to find Sears with his pass.

Town ended the half strongly, more confident in possession than they had been earlier in the period with the impressive Chalobah increasingly involved and Edwards getting opportunities to run at the Blackburn defence on the right.

Just before the fourth official announced an additional four minutes, Sears crossed from the left and Skuse nodded down but wide of the target.

Seconds before the whistle, Harrison laid the ball back to Edwards on the right of the box from where the Blues scorer smashed a shot from tight angle not too far over.

Despite the scoreline, the Blues were applauded off at the break having ended the period on top.

Town got off to the perfect start with Edwards’s well-taken goal but the Blackburn equaliser was rather a comedy of errors defensively from a Town perspective.

The Lancastrians were shading the game when they went in front via what from their angle was a well-worked goal, however, the Blues will again believe they should have defended far better.

But as the break approach, Town for the first time began to show the passing football which so caught the eye in last week’s friendly against West Ham.

Blackburn started the second half more positively but without creating a chance. On 53 Elliott Bennett was yellow-carded for a foul on Chalobah.

Town had made little headway after the break and on the hour they swapped Downes for Edun, the afternoon’s fifth debutant, the Fulham man having joined on loan yesterday.

Edun took up the left-sided role previously occupied by Sears, who moved into Downes’s central position. Two minutes later, Rovers switched Samuel for a debutant of their own, on-loan Chelsea man Kasey Palmer.

Town began to put the visitors under pressure, Harrison sending a dangerous ball across the six-yard box from a Woolfenden pass but no Blues player was there to apply the final touch.

At the other end, Corry Evans shot over from distance after the Blues had played themselves into trouble.

On 73 Chambers was harshly booked for a fine challenge on Bennett, Rovers skipper Charlie Mulgrew curling the resultant freekick over.

Rovers should have made it 3-1 in the 78th minute when Dack sent the ball across the face of goal from the right and Donacien blocked sub Joe Nuttall's first effort before clearly poorly to Palmer who shot too close to Bialkowski, who gratefully grabbed hold.

Town made their third substitution in the 79th minute with Ben Morris taking over from Sears, the England U19 international striker joining Harrison up front.

Morris made an immediate impact, first crossing low for Harrison from the right, but the former Bristol Rovers man’s flick was blocked.

Then the academy product was sent away by Edwards, who was clattered in the process, cut in and smashed a low shot which Raya saved with his toe.

From the corner the Blues went close again. Keeper Raya was unable claim a bouncing ball and Harrison hooked back into the area from where Woolfenden, looking far more comfortable in the first team than he did last week, headed over.

Edwards almost created himself a brilliant second of the game in the 86th minute, superbly flicking the ball over Williams just inside the Town half before taking it on into the area, cutting inside and smashing a shot which was diverted behind by Darragh Lenihan. Soon after the Irishman and then Richard Smallwood were both booked for fouls.

Morris and Edwards certainly deserved goals from their efforts but the Town equaliser when it came a minute into injury time was more fortuitous than brilliant.

Edwards laid the ball back to Edun from the right and the on-loan Fulham midfielder rolled it on to his left foot before sending over a cross which evaded everyone, struck the inside of the post and nestled in the net. Edun delightedly celebrated Town’s second debut goal of the afternoon.

The Blues went looking for a winner which probably would have flattered them on the balance of the game but there wasn’t time and Hurst’s first game ended in a 2-2 draw.

The new boss applauded the Sir Bobby Robson Stand at the end as did Edun, skipper Chambers and Knudsen, who acknowledged each stand as he walked off, perhaps notably given the reports linking him with a move to Stoke City.

Overall, a draw was probably a fair result from a game of few chances with the Blues finishing the stronger and having created opportunities even if the goal owed a lot to good fortune.

Blackburn will argue they should have had the game win via their chance a few minutes early when Bialkowski saved from Palmer having come from behind in the first half.

Hurst’s first game in charge showed promise - Edwards in particular had an excellent second half and Morris made a strong impression from the bench - but also that the squad is still far from ready and that there’s a busy week ahead with the transfer window closing at 5pm on Thursday.

Town are next in action at Rotherham, another of last season’s promoted League One clubs, next Saturday.

Town: Bialkowski, Spence (Woolfenden 38), Donacien, Chambers (c), Knudsen, Skuse, Chalobah, Downes (Edun 60), Sears (Morris 79), Edwards, Harrison. Unused: Gerken, Roberts, Dozzell, Kenlock.

Blackburn: Raya, Nyambe, Leniman, Mulgrew (c), Williams, Smallwood, Evans, Dack (Conway 83), Samuel (Palmer 62), Bennett, Graham (Nuttall 68). Unused: Leutwiler, Rothwell, Bell, Travis. Referee: Andy Davies (Hampshire). Att: 18,940 (Blackburn 1,070).

Photo: TWTD

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iaintaylorx added 17:22 - Aug 4
Not the best performance, but plenty to take from that in both positives and negatives. Gwion is already going to become a fan favourite, what a player!!! Harrison did very well for me too and good to see Morris given some time, as he looked lively, as did Tayo! Great to start the season with a point on the board, especially so late on!

Would have been better to see more football played on the turf and I’m in undecided on Chalobah after seeing that today - clearly has class but a bit scatty at times. Janoi looked much more comfortable at RB that CB. Will obviously take time to adjust from hoofball to a more attacking, pressing style though.

Lets get in Tilt, the two from Shrewsbury and another striker and lets see what happens.


afcfee added 17:24 - Aug 4
Things I learned today;
Chalobahs our no.1 cdm looked class.
Edwards looked amazing.
Skuse isn't good enough for how we our trying to play.
Woolfenden could be a decent player.
Morris looks promising.
Wasn't the worst start, we definitely look better on the front foot than trying to sit which is pleasant change. Can't wait for the Villa game.

ipswich134 added 17:24 - Aug 4
Keep it up boys. I like what I saw today.

cat added 17:25 - Aug 4
Good point to start the campaign, specially in the manner we got it. To early to be to judgmental, let’s get transfer situations sorted and see where we are at.

jcITFC added 17:28 - Aug 4
Fair result. Didn’t deserve to win buy didnt deserve to lose!
I can see Donacien moving to RB with Spence dropping out of the team completely, followed by another CB coming in.

Edwards MOTM - Runs at players and is a game changer.

midastouch added 17:29 - Aug 4
Not really sure what to make of that. Edwards was definitely the stand out man for Town. Edun gave the ball away cheaply rather a lot although I'm sure he'll feel better for grabbing an equaliser (albeit a rather fortunate one). Was a shame Dozzell wasn't given a start but he might not of been quite match fit, not really sure. Obviously relieved that we managed to nick a point at the end. Thought some of the players looked a bit off Championship pace but much too early to be drawing any conclusions and at least the game was entertaining, although it certainly didn't live up to the level of performance we showed against the Hammers last weekend. But nonetheless, a draw still feels a lot better than a loss. Definitely a work in progress but can't really expect much else so early into the season with so many changes to the playing personnel. Edwards stole the show for me so that was one big positive at least. And thought Ben Morris looked good as well when he came on and showed some quality glimpses to indicate he might be worth giving more opportunities from the bench.

TimmyH added 17:30 - Aug 4
It really is an eye opener just how much this starting 11 has changed from last season and possibly could change further due to transfers coming in an out in the next going by that Hurst has a lot of 'managing to do this season'.

Reasonable performance and result today (predicted a draw)...and what the future holds in store nobody knows, some of the new boys (Edwards and Chalobah) at times looked bright, could take Hurst some time to get his favoured 11 in place.

Bluewelshman added 17:32 - Aug 4
A bit of a disjointed display from town against a team who have been together for a while, and it showed as they seemed to gel better.

Our defence left a lot to be desired until Wolfenden came in for spence, after that every one at the back started to look more solid, and Wolfenden's passing from the back was very good.

I would even say that Knudsen played with a lot more confidence and stopped a number of attacks, but Gwion was a different class for us and is my man of the match today.

I think that if we give this team a month or two we will see the new players we currently have, and the incoming ones start to gel and do well this season.


martin587 added 17:33 - Aug 4
Two defensive errors but apart from that I was very pleased with the performance.Edwards outstanding at times and Eden Looks Avery good acquisition as well.
Get these lads in from Shrewsbury and Tilt from Blackpoolnand maybe the Accrington lad and things will look good.
Very good gate today considering many people are on holiday so well done everybody.

warwickblue added 17:33 - Aug 4
Given that we are still well-short of our settled first eleven I will happily take one point per game for the first half a dozen matches or so.

unknown100 added 17:34 - Aug 4
Lots of positives, lots of first night nerves, but all in all, I hope once we sort the waghorn situation and the transfers, whether they happen or not, I think we are in for an entertaining season of football, very happy we got the equaliser as deserved.

Chalobah and moments of magic from from the new winger, not convinced by number 2 but hopefully just needs to settle in

BlueMachines added 17:39 - Aug 4
It’s going to take time to gel and we certainly need to use the Waghorn £££ to add some depth and a little more quality. Some definite positives to take away but we will need to improve, lacked ideas at times. A deserved equaliser.

Boom boom boom, let me hear you say Tayo, TAYO!!!

Global_Blue added 17:39 - Aug 4
Some positives to take from today, mainly the new boys who I thought all had a good game. There was still shades of last year's hoof it, but overall the tactics looked good and I think the team, in time, will gel well together.

But despite the many positives one player stood out for me who wasn't good enough - Skuse. He lacked the control, the creativity and the energy you need of someone in the middle. I think Chalobah is better in that position and I'd like to see either Dozzell, Huws or Bishop alongside him.

Sears takes some stick, but did OK. He would make a good back up player to Morris, who showed some lovely touches when he came on and, imo, should start ahead of Sears.

unknown100 added 17:46 - Aug 4
Sears needs replacing

Nobbysnuts added 17:47 - Aug 4
Not great but a point. Couple of decent debuts. Get rid of sears asap and get tilt and a decent striker in and who knows. Undecided at the moment but there's a lot better sides than Blackburn to come. Hopefully Hurst learnt a few things today notably sears is sh#t

Xatticus added 17:48 - Aug 4
I wasn't particularly encouraged by that performance.

The back line looked solid once Spence was out. Knudsen was shaky at times, but he does get forward to help the attack. Spence has the physical attributes, but he doesn't have the brain for this level. I thought Donacien looked really solid defensively.

Our midfield was nonexistent. Chalobah gets involved a lot, but he makes a lot of poor decisions. Downes and Skuse were non-factors. Edun's goal was a fortuitous fluke, but I didn't like what I saw from him. He came on with fresh legs and spent most of his time standing in place.

Sears put in a couple really nice crosses, but he gets pushed off the ball far too easily. Harrison was poor. He looks to have the potential to be a decent target man, but his anticipation was very poor and he was a step behind all game long. Every time he tried to lay the ball off, it went to a Blackburn player. Edwards looked really good; as did Morris in his limited time on the pitch.

It's encouraging to see that Tilt, Nsiala, and Nolan didn't play. They would all be welcome additions, but we desperately need a number one up front if Waghorn is going. I just didn't see much from Harrison today.

On the whole, the game was dull. We created almost nothing, but neither did Blackburn. The few opportunities that were created were all converted. The game opened up in the last ten minutes when we got desperate. If we can play that way, this team will be entertaining.

therein61 added 17:50 - Aug 4
Waiting for my train, and reflecting on the first game under the new regime, well I have to say it was refreshing to see the get up and go until the end(not try and protect a 1-0 from the 5th minute) always looking to push forward disrupted by(stats) Blackburn averaging a foul every 4 and 1/2 mins!! we need the additional signings in this week to beef up the defence and midfield(I won't mention the premiership class no/8 who was as powder puff as usual and blaming all around him as his love child will have his finger on the minus button) and then with the rest of the boys who are putting in a shift and playing for the shirt the future will be looking good i'm not expecting miracles this season but as this team gels in the coming weeks we are moving forward instead of stagnating for a change, well done all at P.R today this atmosphere will soon be back to rocking the opposition!

StokeHigh97 added 17:50 - Aug 4
Hurst first game has good & bad points but if we had to be honest I knew we would not be perfect today: pluses Edwards a real threat brilliant goal, he just didn't see the ball enough, Harrison worked hard but until Morris came on had no real support: Janoi played well, did nothing wrong looked solid: Trev showed nice touches at times but once he is up too speed & more in tune with his teams mates will improve, Tayo clearly has ability & skill the goal looked like a cross but who cares, he had only 1 training session so we can't expect much: I don't think going forward Spence will play much or Sears other than the cross for Edwards goal did very little! Midfield other than Edwards created very little I can't see Skuse playing high up the pitch much with new players hopefully coming in: the Bench was weak & with Waghorn going it looks we need 4/5 players: certainly another forward maybe 2: need a goal scoring attacking midfielder hopefully Nolan, I never judge Hurst on 1 game let's see when the window shuts & we play 5/6 games then we might have a clearer idea: 2-2 was a fair result there goals were too easy & we didn't work their goalkeeper after the first goal till Morris effort:

Surco72 added 17:53 - Aug 4
Good starting point for a new team trying to gel , thought overall we were the better team unfortunately gave them to sloppy goals .
Edwards a massive plus looks very active , only thing missing is real quality to put foot on ball in middle as gave it away cheaply on occasions maybe Hues Dozzell or Bishop could be that player ? Good times coming though

algarvefan added 17:55 - Aug 4
Considering all the changes, new boss and change of style, against a settled side who did very well last season I'll take that, some very promising things, some not so promising. We probably have a few more changes yet, players coming back to fitness. Thought I'd give Chambers a mention, not always been his biggest fan bit thought he was awesome today. Need to see Ben Morris get some more game time for me he is better than Sears. Woolfenden looked good when he came on. Much for us and the boss to think about, reckon it will be a month or two before we see a settled side, but all in all quite pleased today.

therein61 added 17:56 - Aug 4
Re your post Martin587 our defensive mistakes come by and large from an inept defensive midfielder get that sorted and as you say with the new signings everything is positive.

truckerblue added 17:57 - Aug 4
Work in progress. More positives than negatives I think. Not gonna set the world alight just yet. One swallow doesn't make a summer as they say!!!

algarvefan added 17:57 - Aug 4
PS ifollow in Portugal was great to watch but there was 'double commentary' for part of the game.
However great to watch Town's games live here in Portugal.

Steve_ITFC_Sweden added 17:58 - Aug 4
Glad to have got that one out of the way. Big expectations but also a lot of apprehension on my part beforehand. The result was somewhere in between the two. We didn't look too cohesive and there was too much hoofing, but it's early days and with a few further signings and more time, things might improve. Edwards looked very good, and Harrison did ok too. Chalobah was also quite dominant in midfield. But we did not control the ball very well, our passing was often wayward, and we lacked much of a threat up front, while our defence was also dodgy. Blackburn are an ok team but nothing special. We will have to improve when we meet the big boys in the division. But hopefully we will. As far as I am concerned, the journey has now begun, and we must follow it wherever it takes us. COYB!

dirtydingusmagee added 17:59 - Aug 4
pleased that we didn't lose, that would have given the ''careful what you wish for gang'' the result they crave for. Well done lads, first time out in ''real '' match for a team that barely know each other.Im sure PH will have noted weaknesses and will address them . Get the transfer window done,and a few games under our belt and things will be clearer, don't be judgemental on one game . COYB.

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