Ipswich Town 1-1 Preston North End - Match Report
Saturday, 3rd Nov 2018 17:38
Town and 10-man Preston drew 1-1 at Portman Road as Paul Lambert’s time in charge of the Blues got under way. Freddie Sears gave Town the lead from the penalty spot just before the break but sub Paul Gallagher equalised for the visitors on 73, who had keeper Chris Maxwell sent off in the 75th minute. Gallagher took over in goal with North End having used all their subs but the Blues rarely looked like finding a winner in the closing stages.
Jordan Roberts was a surprise inclusion in 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.
The visitors were the first to threaten after the restart, Maguire playing a ball in from the right ahead of Robinson, who was only able to stab straight at Bialkowski. Moments later, Edwards was booked for catching Ben Davies with high boot.
Preston had made the brighter start to the second period but Town gradually began to get on top with space opening up in the Lilywhites’ half as they chased an equaliser.
On 57, following a freekick deep on the left which the visitors had been unable to properly clear, Skuse miscued a volley wide.
A minute later, Chalobah broke from deep having been fed by a Roberts pass but shot over from the edge of the box.
Just after the hour mark, Pennington rose highest but headed Downes’s corner from the left wide. On 62 Preston swapped Johnson for Louis Moult, then seconds later Sears was booked for a foul.
Clarke looped a header towards goal from Robinson’s corner in the 70th minute but Bialkowski claimed confidently under his bar. Two minutes later, the visitors replaced Alan Browne and Tom Barkhuizen with Lukas Nmecha and Paul Gallagher.
And almost immediately Preston equalised. Referee Woolmer judged that Robinson had been fouled just outside the area, a decision the Blues felt was harsh. Sub Gallagher took the freekick and hit a low effort which flew between the end of what looked a chaotically set-up wall and the inside of the post.
The Portman Road crowd reacted positively to the set-back and got behind their team who, with Kayden Jackson having replaced Roberts, immediately went looking to restore their lead.
And Town’s cause was given a significant boost in the 75th minute with the visitors reduced to 10 men when keeper Maxwell was sent off.
The former Wales U21 international rushed off his line and upended Jackson as the pacy frontman reached a ball forward on the Town right and was shown his second yellow card of the afternoon and then a red.
With Preston having used all their subs, after lengthy discussions forward Gallagher was given the green jersey and took his place in goal. As Town prepared to take the freekick, which came to nothing, Danny Rowe replaced Edwards.
The impressive Downes made way for Andre Dozzell in the 85th minute with the Blues having been unable to profit from their opponents’ lack of numbers or recognised goalkeeper.
If anything Preston had been on top and in the 88th minute only a brilliant last-ditch Pennington tackle on Nmecha prevented the sub, who had been found in acres of space breaking into the area by Maguire, from winning it for the Lancastrians.
As the end of scheduled time approached Town finally began to threaten, Rowe hitting a volleyed shot which Gallagher batted spectacularly into the air before it was cleared.
The fourth official’s board signalled seven additional minutes, largely for the red card incident and an earlier spell of treatment for a head injury to Knudsen.
Town were unable to cause the stand-in keeper much trouble despite the lengthy added-on time with Preston having the better of it. Pennington was booked for a foul on Maguire.
Just before the whistle Town won a corner on the left but Spence’s header was off-target and Lambert’s first game in charge of the Blues ended in a draw, the sixth at Portman Road this season.
Lambert came on to the pitch to applaud the Sir Bobby Robson Stand at the end, the Blues support having chanted their support for the new boss over the course of the game.
Despite not claiming the win, Town were better than they had been in their final games under ex-boss Paul Hurst.
Having got their noses in front in the first half, they played more conservatively in the second, looking to catch the visitors on the break but never really looked like extending their lead with Roberts, who had given the Preston defence problems in the first period, among a number of Town players to tire after the break.
Lambert will undoubtedly be less than impressed with the Preston goal with the wall looking less than solid and will also be disappointed that his side was unable to test Gallagher’s goalkeeping ability more than Rowe’s strike, which the makeshift keeper dealt with effectively if unconventionally.
The draw ends a run of three defeats in a row in which Town had failed to score but still leaves them bottom of the table, now five points off the three teams above them, who include next week’s opponents Reading in 22nd, who they meet at the Madejski Stadium.
Town: Bialkowski, Spence, Pennington, Chambers (c), Knudsen, Skuse, Chalobah, Downes (Dozzell 84), Edwards (Rowe 77), Roberts (Jackson 74), Spence. Unused: Gerken, Donacien, Edun, Lankester.
Preston: Maxwell, Earl, Pearson, Clarke (c), Davies, Robinson, Browne (Nmecha 72), Johnson (Moult 62), Huntington, Maguire, Barkhuizen (Gallagher 72)). Unused: Rudd, Fisher, Gallagher, Storey, Barker, Nmecha. Referee: Andy Woolmer (Northamptonshire). Att: 15,129 (Preston: 404).
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