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Ipswich Town 1-0 Wigan Athletic - Match Report
Saturday, 15th Dec 2018 17:22

Freddie Sears’s 67th minute goal saw Town to a vital 1-0 victory over Wigan Athletic at Portman Road to cut the gap to safety to five points. In atrocious second-half conditions, Sears’s shot deflected past Latics keeper Christian Walton to secure the Blues their first home win since April and only their second victory of the season.

Town boss Paul Lambert named the same team which lost 2-0 at Stoke last weekend. Dean Gerken continued in goal behind centre-halves Matthew Pennington and skipper Luke Chambers with Jonas Knudsen and Jordan Spence the full-backs.

Trevoh Chalobah was the deeper midfielder with Flynn Downes and Jon Nolan ahead of him.

Up front, Jordan Roberts was in the middle with Jack Lankester on the right and Freddie Sears on the left.

For Wigan, ex-Blues loanee Callum Connolly and Will Grigg came into the team for the suspended Kai Naismith and James Vaughan, who dropped to the bench.

Former Blues winger Gary Roberts started with ex-Town striker Joe Garner on the bench and one-time defender Alex Bruce not in the 18.

In freezing and breezy conditions, Town started positively, taking the game to the Latics. An early corner came to nothing but the Blues kept the visitors pinned back in their half in the opening minutes.

On nine, Nolan crossed from the right and the ball reached Knudsen beyond the far post. The Danish international tried a shot but the ball deflected behind off a defender and keeper Walton.

Wigan caused the Blues their first moment of danger on 14 when ex-Blue Roberts chipped a ball behind the Town backline for Will Grigg but too far in front of the Northern Irishman and Gerken claimed.

Roberts, who played for Town during Jim Magilton’s time as boss, sent over a dangerous cross from the left two minutes later but with no one in the box to add the final touch.

But the Blues, with owner Marcus Evans watching, continued to control the game and on 19 Lankester hit a freekick from the right towards goal which was headed away.

A minute later, Josh Windass, subject of a Town enquiry prior to joining the Latics from Rangers in the summer, was sent away into the right of the Town area but sent a low ball beyond Grigg.

There was a big scare for the Blues right on the half-hour mark when Windass and Grigg both somehow failed to get a touch on a cross from the right when they seemed certain to score.

The Latics subsequently had a short spell on top but without seriously threatening again before the Blues regained the ascendency, Lankester just failing to find Sears with a return pass after a swift Town counter-attack in the 36th minute.

A minute later, Sears was sent away on goal towards the right of the box by Roberts’s flick but the ex-West Ham man shot just over Walton’s bar when he might have taken it on a few strides further.

On 42, Town struggled to clear a Wigan corner from the left but the Latics were unable to get a clean sight at goal, Connolly hitting a shot which screwed well wide before Windass took it out of play on the right.

Neither side threatened again before referee Scott Duncan brought a not overly-enthralling half to an end.

The Blues had been on top for most of the period but only rarely creating chances, Sears’s shot over and Knudsen’s effort which was bundled behind the only opportunities of note.

Wigan had looked the more likely scorers when they had the ball in and around the Town are despite having seen less of the ball.

With rain now falling heavily and the wind having grown in strength, Chalobah and Connolly were booked within a minute of each other soon after the restart for catching Cedric Kipre with an arm and pulling back the breaking Lankester respectively.

The start of the second half had been very scruffy with both teams struggling in the conditions but on 59 Wigan went very close to going in front. Reece James picked up a loose ball on the right and smashed a shot which beat Gerken but which struck the bar.

Wigan, who were getting on top, swapped Grigg for Vaughan on 61, then in the aftermath of a corner, Connolly shot over from an angle on the right of the box.

Town made their first change of the afternoon a minute later, Gwion Edwards taking over from Lankester.

The Blues had been second best since the break and the home fans were beginning to become frustrated but in the 67th minute they went ahead in somewhat fortuitous circumstances.

Wigan made heavy weather of clearing a Chalobah cross from the right and the ball was eventually stabbed out to Sears on the edge of the box. The ex-Colchester man’s scuffed shot looked too close to Walton but Lee Evans in front of him diverted it to his right and into the net.

Sears and the rest of his team-mates ran away to celebrate his fifth goal of the season in front of the Sir Bobby Robson Stand.

The Latics switched Windass for ex-Blue Garner on 71, then Andre Dozzell took over from Downes for the Blues.

Wigan felt they should have been awarded a penalty in the 73rd minute when Roberts was fouled by Chambers, who was booked, but referee Duncan gave a freekick just outside the box. James’s freekick hit the wall and looped over.

Wigan were handed another set piece in a dangerous position on 77 after Knudsen inadvertently felled Garner but Roberts smashed his freekick deep into the Sir Alf Ramsey Stand. Three minutes later, Callum McManaman replaced Nathan Byrne for the Latics.

On 84 Jordan Roberts was very harshly booked after clearly winning the ball as he slid in on James, much to the anger of the Town support who booed loudly.

Conditions if anything had deteriorated further as the half had progressed making life particularly tough for both defences.

In the 86th minute the Blues struggled to clear their lines and were fortunate that Connolly headed McManaman’s cross from the right over the bar.

A minute later, Wigan were awarded another freekick not far outside the area - hardly the first which was debatable - when Chalobah was adjudged to have fouled Vaughan. James took the freekick and Gerken saved well down to his left.

There was further danger from the corner, Gerken saving Connolly’s initial header, then following a scramble grabbing on to McManaman’s low shot through a crowd of players.

Kayden Jackson took over from Roberts prior to the fourth official holding up a board announcing seven additional minutes, much to the surprise of everyone in the ground.

Dan Burn was booked for fouling Dozzell as the Blues broke, then seconds before the whistle Vaughan clattered into Gerken Nat Lofthouse-style as the keeper claimed a high ball causing the former Colchester man to collide with the post. The Wigan sub surprisingly avoided a card.

Moments later, the incident was all but forgotten as referee Duncan ended the match and confirmed the first win of the Paul Lambert era, the Blues’ first home victory of the season, their second overall of the campaign and only their third at Portman Road in 2018. It was their first win to nil in 23 matches.

Skipper Chambers’s post-match fist pump has rarely been cheered so loudly and with such relief.

It was as hard fought a win as they come in atrocious conditions in the second half when it was impossible to play football.

Having got their goal at a time when Wigan were on top, the Blues dug in and battled for the remaining half hour - including the overlong injury time - to claim a crucial three points.

The win and results elsewhere - most notably Rotherham’s 1-1 draw at home to Reading claimed in the final minute - sees the Blues cut the gap to safety to only five points plus goal difference with fourth-placed Sheffield United at Portman Road next Saturday.

Town: Gerken, Spence, Chambers (c), Pennington, Knudsen, Chalobah, Downes (Dozzell 72), Nolan, Lankester (Edwards 62), Sears, Roberts. Unused: Bialkowski, Jackson, Bishop, Nsiala, Dozzell, Kenlock. Att: 14,640 (Wigan: 310).

Wigan: Walton, James, Kipre, Burn, Connolly, Morsy (c), Evans, Byrne (McManaman 80), Windass (Garner 71), Roberts, Grigg (Vaughan 60). Unused: Jones, Gibson, Massey, Dunkley. Referee: Scott Duncan (Northumberland).

Photo: TWTD

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thechangingman added 17:23 - Dec 15
We did it!!! I don’t care how long it’s taken, I don’t care how we won! All I care about is that we won a game of football at Portman Road and the hoodoo is broken. How far we can go and what we still need to do are questions for another day.
All that matters this evening is that we got 3 points!!
Well done to Paul Lambert, the team and, most of all, to the fans who’ve kept the faith against all the odds.
Let’s just gather together, a few weeks before Christmas, and enjoy this present for what it is.
COYB!!! ;0)

martin587 added 17:28 - Dec 15
I’m over the moon.Well done lads.Scrappy goal but they all count.Tails up now lads,we can do this.Best drive home all year.
Roll on next Saturday.👍

Woodbridgian added 17:30 - Dec 15
This win was always going to be achieved with a scrappy performance but who cares it’s a massive result and gives us a chance of building from here. Well done to Paul L and all the boys.

leftie1972 added 17:31 - Dec 15
Get in Freddie!!!!!

Blue_Again added 17:31 - Dec 15
Finally a scrappy win under our belt. Now let’s build on it. Another win before jan and then bring in some better players, we might just have a chance of staying up.

blue86 added 17:32 - Dec 15
yes!!! well done town, sears is on fire! keep it up freddie. hopefully will ease the pressure a bit, massive mountain still to climb, but 3 points much needed today to even have a small amount of hope for survival. defo need a target man in the jan window and rb and lb..... thats for another day though, tonight i will just enjoy the win!!! coyb

norfstanda added 17:34 - Dec 15
Ipswich win?! Did I read that right......?

TimmyH added 17:34 - Dec 15
Really pleased for the Portman Road faithful that they've finally witnessed a victory this season, my heart says we'll kick on from this but my head says like the Swansea game this was another 'Dick Turpin' job.

Wigan must be wondering how they've come away with nothing, onwards and upwards at least we've closed the gap on the teams above which is more important than performance!

jewellsjewells added 17:35 - Dec 15

Fortress Portman Road !!!!

Steve_ITFC_Sweden added 17:37 - Dec 15
The old cliché: We have played better and lost. But I doubt there are many Town fans who care about that tonight. Onwards and upwards!

dirtydingusmagee added 17:37 - Dec 15
the wind strength increased when the final whistle went, the biggest sighs ever at Portman Rd.Got bloody scary in latter stages, probably the players were as nervous as the fans . Hard game next but we are still in touch ,if we can get the team strengthened in January we can get out of this mess. Nice one Freddie ! COYB .

SickParrot added 17:38 - Dec 15
Phew. At last. Come on Town, let's put a run together.

Saxonblue74 added 17:40 - Dec 15
6 teams above town have only managed 1 win between them from their last 6 games....just imagine what a bit of a run could do for us right now? More than 3 worse teams than us in the championship.

ITFC_Cotton added 17:41 - Dec 15
Finally the luck goes our way, not sure where those 7 minutes came from though.

Esseeja added 17:47 - Dec 15
Finally, let's forget Knudsen was ever s*** and just CELEBRATE 3 POINTS. YEEEEEESSSS

dirtydingusmagee added 17:49 - Dec 15
the wind strength increased when the final whistle went, the biggest sighs ever at Portman Rd.Got bloody scary in latter stages, probably the players were as nervous as the fans . Hard game next but we are still in touch ,if we can get the team strengthened in January we can get out of this mess. Nice one Freddie ! COYB .

bluearmy78 added 17:55 - Dec 15
Fantastic 3 points, we’ve actually played better & lost this season but i’m not caring, this is a massive win! Need to consolidate leading up to January & then hopefully get in some experienced players to get us up the league, keep believing we can do this, COYB!

herfie added 17:56 - Dec 15
Just how valuable are these 3 points come season’s end remains to be seen. But let’s enjoy grabbing them with both hands, and congratulate PL and the lads for a gutsy, confidence building, win; the performance matters not. Difficult conditions, an abysmal referee and some theatrics from Wigan players.

Whole team deserves praise; but special mentions must go to Freddie and Gerks - his save from their free kick towards the end, plus a couple of other timely intervations around his area, helped secure the result. But 7 minutes......?!

BlueandTruesince82 added 17:58 - Dec 15
Thrilled, delighted, ecstatic.

Don't care if it was scrappy, ugly or even Mickesque.

Just happy to have won

ArnieM added 18:00 - Dec 15
Deflected goal ,eh . Who gives a flying one . It’s about time we had some rub o the geeen this season. Typically I don’t think Town played as good as they did at Stoke - but I’ll take these wonderful 3 points all day long.

We MUST stick together . Players, Manager, Fans , and we WILL get through this .

adepowers added 18:07 - Dec 15
On soccerstats theres a green blob amongst all that red and orange just above us, COYB turn those boxes green and we'll soon be moving up :)

warwickblue added 18:21 - Dec 15
This win, and other results today, keep us well and truly in the pack. If we're still four or five points adrift, come January, there will be a realistic chance of survival. Remember, the teams around us didn't have Paul Hirst as their reason for being where they are. I'm still quietly optimistic of finishing 16th. There's my prediction. You read it here first!

Bert added 18:24 - Dec 15
It was me that sucked that goal in !

chepstowblue added 18:30 - Dec 15
It's going to be very difficult to hold onto our back four during the January window. Unbeaten for 7 days and feeling optimistic.Happy times.

Blue56 added 18:30 - Dec 15
We were on top for first half, didn't seem to get going in second half. Scrappy goal but we deserve some luck. Loved to hear announcers incredulity at 7 minutes injury time and so good to see Paul Lambert ushering his whole squad to the North Stand at the end. Can't remember MM or Paul Hurst doing that!

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