|Ipswich Town 1 v 1 Brentford|
Tuesday, 18th September 2018 Kick-off 19:45
Ipswich Town 1-1 Brentford - Match Report
Tuesday, 18th Sep 2018 22:00
Kayden Jackson nodded his first Championship goal as the Blues held second-placed Brentford to a 1-1 draw at Portman Road. Neal Maupay gave the Bees a deserved 31st minute lead in a first half the visitors dominated but Town were much better after the break as they came back to claim their fourth home draw of the campaign with Jackson heading the equaliser on 73.
Boss Paul Hurst made five changes to the team which lost 2-0 at Hull on Saturday with Janoi Donacien, Trevoh Chalobah, Kayden Jackson, Ellis Harrison and Grant Ward returning to the side, while Jon Walters, as expected the mystery pre-match doubt, missed out. Gwion Edwards, Jon Nolan, Jordan Graham and Flynn Downes all dropped to the bench.
The Blues lined up in a 3-5-2 system for the first time under Hurst with Donacien at left-back, Jonas Knudsen on the left of the back three and Grant Ward, Cole Skuse and Chalobah in midfield. Harrison and Jackson were up front.
Prior to kick-off there was a minute’s applause for Blues legend Kevin Beattie with former team-mates Allan Hunter, Terry Butcher, George Burley, Clive Woods, John Wark, Roger Osborne, Brian Talbot, Steve McCall and Bryan Hamilton among those paying tribute to the player widely viewed as the club’s greatest ever from the touchline.
Twelve members of the Beattie family were at the game as guests of the club, while his daughter Emma and grandson Keiron walked out with the teams.
In the third minute, Said Benrahma cut in from the left and hit a shot which Dean Gerken claimed down to his left.
A minute later, the Blues’ keeper’s heart may have been in his mouth after Maupay took the ball past him when through inside the area and went to ground. However, referee Darren Bond felt the striker had dived and correctly showed him a yellow card.
Almost immediately, there was a similar incident at the other end with Harrison felled trying to go round Bees keeper Daniel Bentley but the former Southend man had got a touch on the ball and Town were given a corner.
As the clock ticked past the six-minute mark the Portman Road faithful again showed their appreciation to Beattie, six having been his usual shirt during his heyday.
Early Blues attacks were a rarity with the visitors enjoying the lion’s share of the ball and putting Town under pressure. On 10 a low Romaine Sawyers flew across the Blues’ six-yard box and was almost inadvertently turned in to his own net by skipper Luke Chambers, the ball narrowly squirming past the far post.
The Bees continued to threaten on a regular basis, Matthew Pennington clearing Maupay's header from a Henrik Dalsgaard cross, then Sawyers shot over.
Town created their first opportunity in the 17th minute. Knudsen’s shot was deflected behind and from Ward’s corner Pennington’s header appeared not to be held first time by Bentley but Chambers was unable to get to the loose ball before the keeper pounced upon it.
But Brentford continued to look dangerous with Town giving the ball away in their own half on a number of occasions, much to the crowd’s frustration, and in the 31st minute the West Londoners went ahead.
The ball was cut back from the right by Sawyers beyond Ollie Watkins but Maupay behind him arced a header into the top corner.
The Bees had thoroughly deserved the goal on the balance of the game and forced Gerken into another save soon afterwards, Sawyers hitting a low shot which the keeper stopped to his left.
Brentford, every bit as slick as their league position suggests, continued to dominate with Town pegged back on their own half for long spells and losing possession almost as soon as they regained it. On 44 Gerken saved from Benrahma from distance.
Just before half-time Pennington made a strong run out of defence and looked to thread in Jackson, who ended up on the turf as Bees skipper Chris Mepham challenged. Referee Bond, after some deliberation and a look to his linesman, gave a corner.
There were a few muted boos at the whistle after a half in which the Blues had been thoroughly out-classed. Town had struggled to get any foothold in the game, having looked uncomfortable with the new system and lacking in confidence, and might have found themselves going in more than the single goal down.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, manager Hurst rang the changes at half-time with Nolan and Edwards taking over from Harrison and Spence as the Blues switched to their more usual 4-2-3-1 system.
Chalobah rather embarrassingly screwed a shot from distance out for a throw soon after the restart, however, the Blues were making a bright start to the half.
On 50 Knudsen forced Bentley into a save at his near post after good work from Ward and from the corner the Blues again went close.
Bentley failed to claim and Jackson hooked over his head off the bar and the Bees subsequently defended desperately to force the ball away from goal. Eventually Ward was fouled out on the left but the freekick came to nothing.
Town continued to put the Bees under pressure with the visitors now the ones struggling to get out of their own half.
However, on 57 Brentford broke quickly with Benrahma eventually teeing up Watkins on the left of the box but his shot was well saved by the advancing Gerken. Soon after, Yoann Barbet was booked for bring down the breaking Ward.
The Bees switched Benrahma for Sergi Canos in the 59th minute, then moments later Gerken again did well to come off his line quickly and save from Maupay after a flowing Brentford move had worked the Frenchman a chance in the area.
Match Gallery: 10 photos
The West Londoners came within a whisker of making it 2-0 in the 64th minute when Barbet’s freekick from just outside the area crashed against the bar with Gerken beaten and Town were able to clear the loose ball.
Nico Yennaris replaced Josh McEachran for the Bees in the 69th minute with the Blues’ earlier pressure by now having subsided.
However, in the 72nd minute Town equalised. Ward fed Chalobah on the right and the on-loan Chelsea man dug out a cross to the near post from where Jackson flicked a header across Bentley and into the far corner of the net.
Increasingly confident Town, looking a totally different side to the one which was so poor before the break, continued to take the game to the visitors, although with Brentford still threatening at the other end on the break.
In the 78th minute Maupay was swapped for Alan Judge, then six minutes later the Blues switched Chalobah for Downes.
Jackson, whose pace was much more of a threat in the second half, hit a 25-yard effort which was easy for Bentley in the 84th minute.
Seconds after the game moved into injury time the Blues might have won it. Downes sent Jackson away towards goal on the right of the area but the earlier scorer smashed his shot into the stanchion.
Knudsen was booked for a foul, then moments later the final whistle was blown, this time to applause from the Blues support.
Games of two halves are relatively commonplace but rarely are two periods quite so contrasting.
The Blues, with owner Marcus Evans watching, were every bit as dreadful in the first half as Brentford were impressive. But after the break, having made their changes of personnel and system, Town looked a different side with the visitors, who will feel they should have had the match won in the first 45 minutes, the ones finding themselves under the cosh for spells.
Brentford still had chances in the second half with Pennington again excellent at centre-half and Gerken making two or three sharp saves, but Town were much, much better.
However, eight games in, while still unbeaten at home - four successive draws - they remain searching for their first win with Bolton - who play at Middlesbrough tomorrow - visiting Portman Road on Saturday.
Town: Gerken, Spence (Nolan 46), Pennington, Chambers (c), Knudsen, Donacien, Chalobah (Downes 83), Skuse, Ward, Harrison (Edwards 46), Jackson. Unused: Bialkowski, Graham, Edun, Kenlock.
Brentford: Bentley, Mepham, Maupay (Judge 78), McEachran (Yennaris 69), Watkins, Mokotjo, Sawyers, Benrahma (Canos 60), Dalsgaard, Konsa, Barbet. Unused: Daniels, Macleod, Clarke, Jeanvier. Referee: Darren Bond (Lancashire). Att: 14,897 (Brentford: 453).
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