Blackburn Rovers 0-0 Ipswich Town - Half-Time
Saturday, 19th Jan 2019 15:58
The Blues and Blackburn remain level at 0-0 at Ewood Park at half-time.
Alan Judge, who joined Town from Brentford for a nominal fee earlier in the week, was handed his Blues debut against Rovers, a club where he has had two spells.
Jack Lankester, celebrating his 19th birthday today, dropped to the bench as manager Paul Lambert, a former Rovers boss, named an otherwise unchanged team.
As for last weekend’s 1-0 home defeat of Rotherham, the Blues lined-up in a 4-4-1-1 system, with Judge on the right side of midfield.
Skipper Luke Chambers continued at the centre of the defence wearing a strapping on the wrist he injured against the Millers.
Former Town captain and coach Tony Mowbray made three changes to his Blackburn team with Jack Rodwell, Corry Evans and Bradley Dack returning to the XI and Ryan Nyambe, Richie Smallwood and Ben Brereton dropping to the bench having started the 4-2 midweek after-extra-time FA Cup defeat to Newcastle.
There was a big scare for the Blues in the seventh minute when Cole Skuse was uncharacteristically caught in possession not far outside his area. Lewis Travis eventually worked the ball to Danny Graham in space inside the box but fortunately for the Blues the former Swansea striker’s shot at goal was diverted wide by Chambers.
Town began to pass the ball around confidently, despite a bumpy-looking pitch, with new boy Judge very much involved. However, they weren’t able to carve out an opportunity to test David Raya in the Rovers goal.
The home side spurned another chance to go in front in the 22nd minute when skipper Elliott Bennett was found breaking into the area on the Rovers right with a low Bradley Dack ball from the other flank. Luckily for Town, the one-time Norwich winger or right-back blazed well over the bar.
Blackburn had another opportunity in the 24th minute, Dack hitting a 25-yard freekick towards goal which scuffed off the wall and went behind.
Rovers went even closer following the resultant corner. Corry Evans hit a low shot through a crowd of players from distance which Rodwell turned on to the inside of Gerken’s left post. The loose ball ran across the six-yard box but the keeper dived on it just ahead of Dack.
The Lancastrians had by now got up a head of steam and the Blues were struggling to get out of their own half.
In the 25th minute Dack chased a ball into the left of the Town box and tried to lift it over the advancing Gerken, however, he scuffed his effort and James Collins cleared.
Four minutes later, Adam Armstrong struck a shot from the edge of the box which Gerken pushed wide of his right post.
The pressure eventually subsided and the Blues began to get their passing going again and started to get on top, Judge and Sears having swapped flanks.
And in the 39th minute, with the home fans starting to become frustrated their their side, they might have gone in front.
Keane was played in on goal and beat the advancing Raya to the ball but took it too wide to the right to slip into the net. The on-loan Hull City man waited for team-mates to lay it back to but eventually tried to sneak a shot in at the near post and the ball was bundled behind.
A minute later, from a Judge freekick, Collins got his head to the ball but was unable to divert it towards goal.
The Blues found themselves back under pressure as the half moved into one minute of injury time with Blackburn winning a succession of corners and throws, but Town were able to hold out to go in with the scoreline 0-0 at the break.
Blackburn will feel they had had enough chances to have gone in ahead, Graham failing to take advantage of Skuse’s early error and then a number of players coming close during their dominant spell midway through the half.
Town just about kept the scoreline blank during that period and might have gone in ahead themselves had Keane not taken the ball quite as wide when rounding Raya and had a team-mate been placed for him to cut back towards.
At times the Blues had long spells of possession but equally there were moments when they had surrendered possession and had looked like the scratch side that to a great extent they are given the turnaround in personnel with five of the six January signings starting.
However, manager Paul Lambert won’t be entirely unhappy to go in with the scores level at the break.
Blackburn: Raya, Bennett (c), Lenihan, Rodwell, Bell, Evans, Travis, Reed, Dack, Armstrong, Graham. Subs: Leutwiler, Nyambe, Smallwood, Rothwell, Brereton, Nuttall, Conway.
Town: Gerken, Pennington, Chambers (c), Collins, Elder, Skuse, Chalobah, Sears, Judge, Keane, Quaner. Subs: Bialkowski, Bishop, Downes, Nsiala, Kenlock, Lankester, Dawkins. Referee: Darren England (South Yorkshire).
Photo: Action Images
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