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Ipswich Town 1-0 Preston North End - Half-Time
Saturday, 3rd Nov 2018 16:09

Freddie Sears’s penalty just before half-time has given the Blues a 1-0 lead over Preston at the break.

Jordan Roberts was a surprise inclusion in Paul Lambert’s first Town team. The 24-year-old, who joined the Blues in the summer having left Crawley at the end of last season, made his full debut having made two sub appearances earlier in the campaign.

Town lined-up in a 4-1-4-1 system with Sears on the left and Gwion Edwards on the with Roberts the lone central striker.

Cole Skuse was in the deeper central midfield role behind Trevoh Chalobah and Flynn Downes.

At the back Luke Chambers was alongside Matthew Pennington at the centre of the defence - although swapped from previous games with the skipper on the right - with Jonas Knudsen at left-back and Jordan Spence at right-back. Bartosz Bialkowski was in goal.

For Preston, Josh Earl and Sean Maguire came into the starting Xl for the injured Andrew Hughes and Lukas Nmecha, who dropped to the bench.

After perfectly observed Remembrance Day tributes, Town started confidently with Spence breaking forward and winning an early corner. The former West Ham youngster continued to look the Blues’ greatest threat in the opening exchanges, sending in a couple of subsequent crosses.

Preston began to make an impression as the game reached the 10-minute mark and the Blues were forced to defend a couple of corners rather more successfully than they had at Millwall last week.

Town won a freekick 30 yards out on 15 which was played short to Roberts, who struck a powerful effort which was blocked by the diving Ben Pearson who had broken out of the wall and was left grounded. For reasons best known to himself referee Andy Woolmer awarded the Lilywhites a freekick, much to the frustration of the Portman Road crowd.

Bialkowski palmed away Callum Robinson’s shot in the 16th minute, then two minutes later Roberts, who had made a bright start to his full Town debut, shot well wide when stumbling after good work from Sears down the left.

The Blues just about managed to keep out another Preston corner in the 25th minute, Chalobah nodding away Earl’s header. A minute later the on-loan Chelsea man’s loose pass across his own half of the field gifted the ball to Preston in a dangerous position but the visitors were fortunately unable to make anything of it.

The Blues, spending far more time in the opposition half of the field than in previous games, continued to have most of the game and on 28 Edwards whipped over a ball from the right which Preston skipper Tom Clarke did well to divert away from Downes who had broken into the area at the far post.

Three minutes later, Roberts shot powerfully wide, then on 34 Edwards’s cross from the right was too deep for Downes, again breaking into the box from midfield.

Blues captain Chambers picked up the game’s first yellow card in the 37th minute for a foul on Maguire, again to the annoyance of the Town support.

From the freekick the Blues broke through Sears and eventually won a throw on the right. In the aftermath the ball bounced out to Downes on the edge of the box from where the midfielder, who had taken most of Town’s set pieces, hit a difficult effort over the bar.

A minute before half-time Sears netted the first goal of the Lambert era from the penalty spot, the former Colchester man having played a role in winning the spot-kick.

The ball was played back towards Lilywhites keeper Maxwell by Earl from midway inside their half. Sears closed him down and the Welshman took the ball past the striker but Roberts beat him to it just inside the box and the keeper was late with his tackle, felling him.

Referee Woolmer looked to his assistant before pointing to the spot and booking Maxwell. Preston midfielder Daniel Johnson was also cautioned for his protests before Sears hit a low shot into the corner of the net to the keeper’s right before celebrating his first goal of the season in front of the tunnel.

There was no further action before the half-time whistle which was met with warm applause after a much, much better first period from the Blues, who deserved their lead at the break.

Roberts had provided a much-needed focal point to the attack and Town looked a more forward-thinking, positive and confident outfit across the board with Edwards and Sears causing problems on either flank and Downes looking to get himself in the box as crosses were sent in.

At the other end, Preston had created little with their only significant chance the header from Earl which Chalobah nodded away.

If the Blues can continue the display in the second half then they should secure their first home win of the season, their first in more than six months and only their third of 2018.

Town: Bialkowski, Spence, Pennington, Chambers (c), Knudsen, Skuse, Chalobah, Downes, Edwards, Roberts, Spence. Subs: Gerken, Donacien, Jackson, Rowe, Dozzell, Edun, Lankester.

Preston: Maxwell, Earl, Pearson, Clarke (c), Davies, Robinson, Browne, Johnson, Huntonton, Maguire, Barkhuizen. Subs: Rudd, Fisher, Moult, Gallagher, Storey, Barker, Nmecha. Referee: Andy Woolmer (Northamptonshire).

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martin587 added 16:12 - Nov 3
Plenty of commitment.One up.I’m very happy so far..

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