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Ipswich Town 2-3 Millwall - Match Report
Tuesday, 1st Jan 2019 17:22

Town have a mountain to climb in 2019 if they are to avoid relegation to the third tier for the first time in 62 years with the gap to safety now 10 points following a 3-2 New Year's Day defeat to Millwall at Portman Road. Jack Lankester’s first senior goal had given the Blues a deserved 1-0 lead and Town might have been further ahead at the break, but in the second half a Shane Ferguson penalty and goals from Jake Cooper and Tom Elliott put the Lions 3-1 up before Kayden Jackson’s fourth of the season gave the Blues late hope of claiming a draw.

Lankester, Teddy Bishop and Ellis Harrison returned to a young Town side with an average age of 24.6 otherwise unchanged from the one which lost 2-0 at Middlesbrough on Saturday.

Bishop, making his second start of the season, came into midfield for Jon Nolan, who was left out of the 18, while Lankester was wide on the right, with Gwion Edwards among the subs, and Harrison the central striker. Kayden Jackson also dropped to the bench.

Myles Kenlock continued at left-back with the set-to-depart Jonas Knudsen among the subs and with Callum Elder’s loan from Leicester being formalised tomorrow.

Millwall were forced into two changes with defender Shaun Hutchinson and striker Lee Gregory missing due to injury with Murray Wallace and Aiden O’Brien coming into the team. In Hutchinson’s absence Ryan Leonard skippered, while ex-Blues loanee Ryan Tunnicliffe started.

Town’s 2019 was only two minutes old when they took the lead. Freddie Sears was clattered by Jake Cooper midway inside the Millwall half as he played the ball wide to Jack Lankester on the right.

Referee Stephen Martin played a good advantage and Lankester cut in and curled a low shot beyond Jordan Archer and into the net before celebrating his first senior goal with his team-mates. The 18-year-old becomes the first player born in the 2000s to net a first-team goal for the Blues.

The early goal unsurprisingly boosted the Blues’ confidence and they continued to take the game to the visitors and in the ninth minute they went close to doubling their lead.

Bishop found Harrison on the right and, with the Lions defence hesitant, his cross deflected into the path of Sears, whose effort at goal was blocked by Archer.

The Blues threatened again in the 11th minute, a Spence cross from the right reaching Sears at the far post but the ex-West Ham man’s shot was diverted behind by Mahlon Romeo.

The early stages had been all Town but as the match moved past the 15-minute mark Millwall began to see more of the ball, however, the Blues backline prevented them from creating an opportunity.

On 19 Jed Wallace blazed over from distance, then two minutes later Matthew Pennington did well to get across to dispose Millwall skipper Leonard as he looked to get on to a ball played ahead of him into the area. At the other end, Harrison headed a Bishop freekick from deep on the right over the bar.

In the 26th minute, a quick break involving Downes, Sears and Kenlock led to Harrison deftly controlling the left-back’s cross and hammering a shot against a Millwall defender from just inside the area.

Town almost netted a brilliant second in the 28th minute after a superb passing exchange on the right involving Lankester, Bishop and Downes led to the one-time Luton loanee finding Sears in acres of space in the middle. The striker looked set to net his fifth of the season until Tunnicliffe blocked his goalbound effort.

From the resultant corner, which like several earlier set pieces had been wasted by the Blues, Millwall broke and Jed Wallace burst through on goal with only Gerken to beat. However, the keeper was out quickly to block and Downes cleared the loose ball.

On 41 Bishop found Lankester on the right and the youngster tried to trick his way past two defenders as he broke into the box but was eventually dispossessed.

Neither side threatened again before referee Martin brought the half to a close to warm applause from the Blues support pleased with their side’s first-half display and their deserved lead.

Lankester’s excellent early strike settled Town’s early nerves and the Lions couldn’t have complained if the Blues had gone in with a greater advantage, Sears having gone close on a number of occasions.

Town keeper Gerken had only been seriously tested once with the home backline having remained resolute for the most part despite Millwall having seen more of the ball as the half wore on but with the Blues still looking the more threatening of the teams on the counter-attack.

After their largely lacklustre first half, Millwall swapped James Meredith for veteran frontman and club captain Steve Morison ahead of the second period.

The Blues began the second period on the front foot with Sears shooting high and wide having cut in from the left in the 49th minute.

Two minutes later, Jed Wallace whipped over a cross under Gerken’s bar and the keeper was forced to tip over.

In the aftermath of the corner, the ball was sent back in from the left but Murray Wallace headed well wide when he will feel he should have done better.

The Blues carved out another well-worked chance in the 56th minute, after involvement from Lankester and Downes, Bishop eventually fed Spence on the right and the full-back sent over a cross which Harrison diverted wide at the near post.

Town were increasingly looking a threat on the break and in the 58th minute, after Downes had been crowded out as he took the ball into the box, Trevoh Chalobah hit a low effort from distance Archer claimed with ease.

Millwall had shown no signs of getting back on terms but right on the hour they were awarded a penalty.

Morison nodded down for Elliott and he and Chambers tangled as they chased the ball, the Blues skipper sending the striker to ground. Referee Martin took his time before pointing to the spot, much to Chambers’s frustration. It had looked more a tangle of legs than either player fouling the other. Shane Ferguson blasted the penalty past Gerken to level.

Town boss Lambert was shown the yellow card for arguing about a freekick, before Andre Dozzell took over from Bishop, who had shown glimpses of his best before tiring. On 65 Morison was booked for a wild challenge on Chalobah.

In the 68th minute the visitors took the lead. Spence allowed the ball to run out for what Town thought would be a goalkick, however, referee Martin gave a corner. After it was initially cleared, Morison hooked it back into the box from the right, Elliott nodded back across and Cooper headed home from close range.

Chalobah made way for Jackson in the 76th minute as the Blues moved to 4-4-2. But before the switch could make an impact Town found themselves 3-1 behind.

Pennington underhit a backpass to Gerken, Elliott seized on it and stabbed towards goal. Chambers forced it away but not out of play and O’Brien backheeled it back to Elliott who found the net.

Harrison hit a deflected shot through to Archer as the Blues looked to regain a foothold in a game which had so swiftly run away from them.

And with just under two minutes remaining, they pulled a goal back. Harrison was thwarted as he broke into the area on the left but sub Jackson picked up the loose ball, brought it inside and smashed home from the edge of the box off the inside of the post.

The late goal and the fourth official’s board indicating six additional minutes got the Town crowd vociferously behind their side.

The Blues won late corners with keeper Dean Gerken going upfield to assist his team-mates and following the second flag-kick Lankester teed-up Harrison on the edge of the box. His low shot flew through a crowd of players but Archer was able to claim down to his left.

However, Millwall eventually saw out the final minutes to claim their first away win of the season and to deal Town’s already fading hopes of survival a very serious blow.

It was a game which Town, whose players were warmly applauded off the field at the end, ultimately needed to win to maintain the previous seven-point gap with Rotherham winning 2-1 at home to Preston.

And it was a match they ought to have had won in the first half having had a number of opportunities to extend the lead gained via Lankester’s goal.

Millwall hadn’t looked like getting back into the match until the penalty which was one you’d feel you should have be awarded if you’re a striker but seems harsh if you’re the defender.

From there, the Lions grew in stature, while the Blues wilted and gifted goals via the type of errors which have become all too familiar over the season.

Even with the planned January addition of experienced Championship players to the squad, 10 points - plus goal difference - looks too much of a gap to be bridged.

The Blues are next in action at Accrington Stanley next Saturday in the third round of the FA Cup with Rotherham visiting Portman Road in the league the following weekend.

Town: Gerken, Spence, Pennington, Chambers (c), Kenlock, Chalobah (Jackson 75), Downes, Bishop (Dozzell 65), Lankester, Sears, Harrison. Unused: Bialkowski, Knudsen, Edwards, Roberts, Nsiala.

Millwall: Archer, Cooper, M Wallace, Romeo, Leonard, J Wallace (Karacan 90), Tunnicliffe, Meredith (Morison 46), Ferguson, O’Brien, Elliott (Webster 82). Unused: Amos, Skalak, Brown, White. Referee: Stephen Martin (Staffordshire). Att: 16,957 (Millwall: 985).

Photo: TWTD

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Bluearmy_81 added 17:23 - Jan 1
The level this once great football club has been allowed to degenerate to is frankly disgusting. It's not about MM, it's about who has been in charge for 10+ years, has chronically underinvested and has led us to the sorry point we are at, an absolute laughing stock. RIP ITFC

fistpumpfury added 17:25 - Jan 1
One question.
Is this worst Town squad ever?
I think it is.

bostonusablue added 17:26 - Jan 1
Hurst has ruined our club. If he hadn't been hired, then we would not be in this mess.

BobbyPetta11 added 17:27 - Jan 1
I bet against us today! Solely because if you have Dean Gerken in goal the opposition will always score goals. He has no presence, poor positioning & Colchester's back up keeper at best!! Now 10 points!! It's time to bring in the youngsters and prepare ourselves to go down rebuild better & stronger.

delias_cheesy_flaps added 17:28 - Jan 1
Well I'm an optimistic guy but I feel we are totally and utterly screwed.
May as well start planning for Div1.
The only thing I've got to look forward to is watching the scum crash and burn...hopefully!

RedDust added 17:28 - Jan 1
Chambers & Spence 👏

Daleyitfc added 17:29 - Jan 1
Time to sign Chapman and Swailes ...

Erics_size_5s added 17:29 - Jan 1
This is the last time Chambers, Spence and Pennington line up together. We are down. So the owner should just draw a line, and from today begin rebuilding our club. So, no journeyman loans, but invest in talent that can be an asset to Ipswich for years to come. On an aside I see that Accrington are favourites for Saturday. Sad days indeed.

Nobbysnuts added 17:29 - Jan 1
Garbage absolute garbage. I really feel for Paul Lambert as he has not managed or played for a worse team than this in his career. Not even the Lord almighty is going to save this shower of sh#te. Awful just awful. -25 goal difference? Pathetic.

unknown100 added 17:30 - Jan 1
Riddled with mistakes for every goal

Surely we need to pay these players wages for loans, least if we get relegated, they go back at the end of the season and won't financially cripple us, he needs to get 6 players in minimum, and it needs to be quick!

TimmyH added 17:30 - Jan 1
Well we're on life support after this snatching this loss from the jaws of victory, the only thing can inject life back into our veins are some quality signings/loanee's this month (not journeymen with unproven quality at this level that have being doing the rounds).

What a predicament we find ourselves in and 10 points from safety now...very sad.

ShropshireBluenago09 added 17:30 - Jan 1
Defence at 6's and 7's again. Chambers and Spence AGAIN at fault.
I feel sorry for the youngsters that are starting their career in such a poor team, with no backbone.
Simply not good enough for this league.

We need;
a commanding, towering centre back (Huth type)
a right back
2 solid scrapping midfielders
2-3 proven quality strikers

Over to you Marcus Evans...if you choose not to invest over the next 2-3 weeks, our wonderful, historic club will be doomed to league one football.

runningout added 17:31 - Jan 1
glimpse of hope is there are 3 or 4 teams in as much poo as us :-)

tractorlegend added 17:31 - Jan 1
Absolutely shambolic at the back, it is all well and good Lambert trying to get us to play football but he is failing to organise the defence which is costing us points. IMO Lambert is trying to make us run before we can walk he should have set us up to be hard to beat until he could get the players in to play good football with. The players should also be ashamed, individuals errors are costing us week after week!

delias_cheesy_flaps added 17:32 - Jan 1
Oh...I find it ludicrous that people have the audacity to blame Paul Wurst for this, it's MARCUS EVANS who has led us from mediocre to abysmal in the past decade.

ShropshireBluenago09 added 17:34 - Jan 1
delia cheesy flaps - although i agree Evans is a tw@t, the majority of the 1st team are Hursts signings

DoseOfReality added 17:34 - Jan 1
Beyond caring .. ME when you took over the worst thing that could have happened is we got relegated ..

But you've surpassed that by making a succession of bad decisions, abject boring football, letting the previous manager abuse fans, constantly sell best players whilst under investing in squad ..

& then we're going to get relegated.. useless man absolutely useless .. if you can't afford to run a football club don't buy one

Bluearmy_81 added 17:35 - Jan 1
Hurst has ruined our club. If he hadn't been hired, then we would not be in this mess.

Who hired him?

RobITFC added 17:36 - Jan 1
@bostonusablue - It is not just Hurst, it has been coming for years, one good season under MM, but Evans has ruined the club!

dukey44 added 17:38 - Jan 1
What other teams would keep losing but still keep the same poor defenders and keep muppet Chambers as captain??

RobITFC added 17:38 - Jan 1
Time to build for next season, players coming in now need to be for League 1 , not trying to avoid relegation as we are not going to survive. The FA cup game next week will be a league game next season, so it will be interesting to see what happens and maybe a guide to how we need to build our team.?

RobITFC added 17:40 - Jan 1
@philTWTD , I am sure you regulary ask, but where is ME and why is he so silent in these dark days of the club. We need a interview and not one that is structured by is marketing team.

runaround added 17:42 - Jan 1
A game we should have won easily thrown away due to ridiculous errors by experience players who really should know better.
We are going down & deservedly so. Feel sorry for Lambert & wouldn't blame him if he walked away. 10 years of poor decisions or no decisions from Evans has put us where we are now. Need to build a new team around our decent talented youngsters. I'm sure there are some positive things somewhere but it's hard to see them right now

cornishblu added 17:42 - Jan 1
Hurst proved to be a very unfortunate mistake.....we wanted a young enthusiastic manager ...we got one.,..but sadly the wrong one .
ME has chronically under invested in our club since RK wasted all his money ...he wanted to quickly buy into the riches of the prem but it failed .
ME now needs to show faith in PL in order to give him every chance of saving this season .....the trouble is ...five points from safety and we could have bought our own players in ...10 points players will be v cautious and of course want to protect wages at certain levels with the real fear of relegation and league 1 ........nit going to get many jumping at this chance...,even loan players will be difficult as unless we get some real momentum .,,they will come but with a real fight on their hands could loose heart quickly but having the comfort of knowing that Ipswich isn't their's an absolute mess
......on to Accrington ....long way from Cornwall but hoping that it brings some good news

1psw1ch added 17:42 - Jan 1
I'm not throwing in the towel yet ,,,just need 3 or 4 decent signings in Jan and who knows miracles can happen,,,Evans out ,,,coyb

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