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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).

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ITFCZombie added 17:44 - Jan 1
I’m fully behind Paul Lambert and the squad, but let’s face it we are doomed to relegation and that’s down to the owner and the poor investment and choices he has made over the last 10 years.

This stems right back to the sacking of Jim Magilton and the appointment of Roy Keane which was done to promote the Marcus Evans name and get Ipswich back in the papers. Then when the Keane era soured we end up with a manger that had been out of football for years and that showed in Paul Jewels signings!

I thought Mick McCarthy was a good choice for the predicament the club was in but he stayed manager for far to long he should have left 2 seasons sooner than he did. Us the fans deserved more and when Mick left we should have got a manager that got financial backing.

Paul Hurst was a massive risk and to be allowed to sell all the experience (and goals) out of the club to be replaced with way to many players lacking experience at this level. Paul Lambert is the best manager this club has had since Joe Royal I just pray that he stays whatever the outcome. We need millions spent to have any chance of survival which we all know isn’t going to happen Mr Evans didn’t spend in the January window of the play off season where we possibly could have won automatic promotion with our position at the time. I know football is loads of if buts and maybes but one thing is certain Ipswich town will be playing 3rd Division football for the first time in 57 years

TimmyH added 17:44 - Jan 1
No doubt to me it's a Evans/Hurst combination that's caused all this disaster...Evans knew EXACTLY what sort of players Hurst would be bringing in from the lower leagues and Hurst made a right balls up of everything thereafter, I wonder if Hurst knew what quality we had upfront would be leaving? (obviously McGoldrick)


tpryke1982 added 17:45 - Jan 1

Goose21 added 17:47 - Jan 1
Won’t lie haven’t read all the comments today but how have we let this happen as a fan group to condone Evans running this club to the ground like he is. As a club we need investment on and off the pitch. All well and good putting his money in to keep us running but, any owner needs and should want to evolve the team and put money into the playing squad. This is his fault and we should speak out against his ownership. Support the team but Evans out!! #EvansOut

Sindre94 added 17:48 - Jan 1
Currently on the plane so had to leave the telly after the first half. Really impressed and pleased with what I saw in the first 45 minutes, and have no clue what happened in the second. Left at 1-0, arrived at the airport, checked my phone and it was 1-3. Completely shocked.

Still positive based on how we perform during parts of the game, but worries the gap is too big. Know it’s easier said than done, but the only real thing us as supporters can do for the remainder of this season is to back the team and stay as positive as possible. 4-5 lads in the first team Are local chaps, so for the long term we need to be supporting these boys. Not much else to do than to stay optimistic. Even though we’re not picking up enough points I honestly think we are progressivt under PL.


muccletonjoe added 17:48 - Jan 1
If Lambert needed confirmation , he got it today. That defence he selects week in week out has to go before anything is going to change for the better.

blueboy1981 added 17:49 - Jan 1
I could fill this forum with words after this debacle, but will just say this :-

How can a team be so dominant in the first half, and capitulate so equally as effectively in the second half .. ??

How can a Referee be so totally incompetent at this level ?? - and in being so, such an embarrassment to the Profession. I couldn't believe what I was seeing from a so called 'professional' official.

Perhaps people will now accept that we are what we are, with no hope of staying up.
Worse part of today is that after this, our chances of attracting decent loan players, and keeping Paul Lambert are possibly less than what they were at half time today. Another dose of reality for those who keep talking about 'magical' players coming in during January.
The whole thing is now beyond us - don't keep looking for the excuses people - PLEASE.

OVER TO YOU MR EVANS - for your plan of our way forward. That's if you care for the right reasons...... !!!

blueboy1981 added 17:51 - Jan 1
......... annoying even further that we could, and should, have been 3-0 up at half time.

Henrietta_R_Hippo added 17:56 - Jan 1

"Thanks" Mr. Football-Clueless owner for totally ruining this once proud & revered club, FOOTBALL-WISE for sure!
And if there is any truth to the biblical "You Reap What You Sow"... well then there can be little doubt whatsoever to what sort of ultimately POOR harvest should be coming your merry way Marvelous Tight-Arsed Marcus, this here calendar year!

Tractorboy1985 added 17:57 - Jan 1
Finally people are seeing what Marcus Evans is!! It’s taken a while!! So when are we protesting to drive the man out? And all these who says but yeah he puts in this and does that.. rubbish.. he’s completely ruined this club in 10 years.. I would much rather he go and us be in the national league with someone who has a genuine structure to and what it takes to run a football business.. this man is clueless! Chucked money at expensive loans with never any hope of them signing permanently! It’s about BUILDING!! Not just saying oh we’ll take gio on loan or Fraser or Lawrence.. yes all fantastic players for us but for what 1 season if that!! In 10 years he should have had a TEAM!! Only once this has happened and that was the playoff season! Enough is enough EVANS OUT!!!!

chepstowblue added 18:00 - Jan 1
Whilst loyalty and devotion towards our club are commendable traits to have,it often means that our views become deluded,speaking from the heart and not the head. About a month ago I rid myself of the torment with the realisation that we have no hope. We are unfortunately the worse side in this division by some margin. It'll take one hell of an effort to halt the slide and make ourselves contenders for anything like a play off place next season. At the moment we're some way off that. There will be league one strikers filling their boots against our defence come August. We aren't just fragile right now.....more brittle. I'll continue to travel to the games for the rest of this season, but envisage 4 months of numbless and head in hands despair.

raycrawfordswig added 18:02 - Jan 1
Waste of time spending money.prepair for league 1. No one would want to come here lost cause.

ArnieM added 18:05 - Jan 1
Town once again hit the self destruct button. Failure to make the chances count in the first half ( should have gone in at least 3-0 up), only f luck it up in the second half . The fact that the ref was an apology for an official ( why do we seem to get them EVERY GAME)? Is beside the point. We are unable to games to bed and can’t defend. Our defence had been shyte for years now. Not just this season.

Evans : this is YOUR fault. Sell up and get out of OUR Club!!

TimmyH added 18:09 - Jan 1
It doesn't matter how much in command of a game we are only being 1 up just isn't enough with our defence - other games which we have won (Swansea and Wigan) we rode our luck, once things start going pear shaped the team just gets very jittery. Sooner Spence and Chambers go from the defence the better.

Totally Agree with your post ITFCZombie other than a slight question mark over Lambert, he hasn't done a lot over recent years but hold him no way responsible for the mess we're currently in...

Geddis78 added 18:13 - Jan 1
I agree Raycrawford. Just throwing good money after bad. Lambert saying keep the faith but for me, we had to win today to have a chance. Morison completely changed the game. Kenlock didn't get near him and Morison won every header. Exactly the type of player we are desperate for. Always have to find a positive, great first goal and Harrison getting better each week. So pointless having a go at Evans. No one wants to buy the club. Would anyone here invest? He keeps the club going, if he walks away, no ITFC. Would love a billionaire who treats the club as a hobby but there aren't enough to go round sadly.

positivity added 18:15 - Jan 1
1st game of 2018 shambolic 5 goal game lost, thanks to spence.

12 months on same again, we have near identical form, but we have even less points. roll on 2020!

Bert added 18:17 - Jan 1
Gutted. A great first half when we really should have netted three times. Catastrophic personal mistakes by Spence and Pennington gifted a poor Millwall side goals they did not deserve. Was it a penalty ? 50-50 in my opinion but for third game running a poor ref so even God is against us !
Very dispirited tonight when it all looked so good after 45 minutes. League One is likely to be our destination unless we can do what Millwall have done and win three on the trot and stop the awful mistakes. My team, Brexit and a hapless Government have made 2018 a very disheartening year.

blueboy1981 added 18:18 - Jan 1
Evans ownership of our Club has proved anything but progressive over the past decade (this he has to take overall responsibility for ) - but to you, who so conveniently blame him for everything, I will say this in his favour.

If he hadn't offered the right terms and conditions for the Managers to work to, and under - would he have got the Managers in that he has over the years .... ??
Where is there any proof, in any form, that in allowing Managers to Manage, which he does, that he has refused ANY Manager funds in recruitment ..... ??
Did any of them ask for more than they got .... ?? - if, and indeed in doing so, he would undoubtedly asked more from his Managers ... Managers are no fools, and would know that ..... !!!

He has appointed Managers which many of you (but not me) saw as the right choice at the time - How can you therefore criticise that if it included you at the time .... ?? Hindsight is a wonderful thing.

Don't keep talking about Evans selling - it isn't going to happen - Who's going to be interested in buying a reported £100m of debt before they start ... ?? - not a chance, so forget the nonsense, it won't happen.

His choice of Managers hasn't worked out out over the years, but most of you would have agreed with his original choices. Again hindsight is a wonderful thing.

Evans to me anyway, appears to allow the Managers to 'run the team' and not interfere with the team selection at all - many Managers would welcome that for sure.

A very poor year, one to forget for sure - let's hope we can hang onto Paul Lambert,otherwise we could be about to downward spiral even more.

Again OVER TO YOU MR EVANS - but I for one don't blame you for everything - the wider picture is always important to be seen by all.

OwainG1992 added 18:19 - Jan 1
Good God that third goal just summed up our season. What the bloody hell was that!
Lancaster got a lovely goal which was great to see.
Nice to have Bish back for us from the start.
Be interesting to see who we sign prior to Roth at home.

Suffolkboy added 18:22 - Jan 1
This is disappointing indeed : again apparently giving away goals after good work !
It surely emphasises what a hole we’ve been left in ,after truly catastrophic managerial madness over the summer months .
Currently we lack strength and resilience , knowledge & experience AND physicality .I do hope ME fully comprehends what he has been the author of AND is determined to effect the ingress of new blood : as well as convince us he’s this time really got a long term perspective .
Not sure we can criticise his low visibility right now : pretty certain that there’ll be lots of behind the scenes work, investigation and activity to bolster the club !
If not , then I’d guess PL will simply walk away feeling totally betrayed ; AND , sadly, we’d all understand that frustration !

blueboy1981 added 18:23 - Jan 1
Spot on Bert . I applaud you.

London_Blue added 18:25 - Jan 1
Jordan Soence should be docked a months wages for such a diabolical error. I don’t know him personally but I bet you he’s not the sharpest card in the pack! Chambo, bless him, is past his best and probably ready for division 1, working way too hard to keep up with mediocre strikers.

In my opinion, no amount of investment will get us out of this mess, but it’s a tricky one for ME as the revenue loss will be huge and require an even larger chunk of investment to get us back in the Championship, so does he take the gamble?

He got us here, so let him sweat on it!

Pecker added 18:25 - Jan 1
That hurts. Thought we would win today. I still believe, but we are going to have to bring in some real quality sooner rather than later. We cannot wait until the end of the window, we need them now.

Elizabeth added 18:25 - Jan 1
There is no point at all complaining about Marcus Evans because at this point in time no one would even contemplate buying this club !
All we can hope for is that deals can be done preferably tonight for new players to come in ! Some of the current squad have given up I suspect and are just waiting to be shown the door !
Who we’ll get .. we’ll just have to wait and see !

dirtydingusmagee added 18:26 - Jan 1
We thought it was all over , it is now .Transfer window wont save us,.the players we have wont save us.Evans wont save us, ,I like Lambert but he cant save us, we are going to get relegated.there will only be one thing that will hurt more than relegation,thats hearing Mc Carthy crowing . We wont come back up under Evans control, so guess its the final curtain, Been a supporter since 1965, sad sad times for ITFC.Looking back over those years , the legends who have played for, and managed ITFC its heart breaking to see what Evans has let happen to the club . He crowned it all by overseeing the grim reaper Hurst knock the last nails in the coffin . Dont expect i'll ever see Town playing above Lge 1 again in my lifetime.

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