Ipswich Town 0-1 Derby County - Half-Time
Wednesday, 13th Feb 2019 20:48
Former Blues loanee Tom Lawrence’s second-minute goal has given Derby County a 1-0 half-time lead over the Blues a Portman Road.
Town were without Luke Chambers and Cole Skuse, the skipper having been been suffering with a foot injury since the Aston Villa game and feeling the problem late on at Norwich, while Skuse was ill.
The Blues’ captain’s absence saw Jonas Knudsen join Matthew Pennington, a Rams target in January, at the centre of the defence with Myles Kenlock at left-back and James Bree on the right. In the absence of Chambers and vice-captain Skuse, keeper Bartosz Bialkowski wore the armband.
Trevoh Chalobah took up the deeper-lying midfield role with Teddy Bishop returning to the starting line-up alongside Flynn Downes ahead of him.
Alan Judge was behind strikers Will Keane and Collin Quaner with Freddie Sears out for nine months having suffered an ACL injury at Norwich, while Gwion Edwards was back in the 18 after a groin problem.
Derby included ex-Blues striker Martyn Waghorn and former loanee Lawrence from the start, but another one-time Town frontman Jack Marriott was not ready to return after illness and an ankle injury.
Back in the Derby side for the first time since his ban for biting Stoke’s Joe Allen in November was ex-Canaries midfielder Bradley Johnson.
The game got under way following a minute’s applause for World Cup-winning keeper Gordon Banks, who died yesterday.
And as on Sunday at Norwich, the game couldn’t have got off to a worse possible start for Town with Derby, like the Canaries, taking the lead in only the second minute.
Johnson lofted a ball to the right of the box from midway inside the Town half on the left and Jayden Bogle nodded it back across the area to Lawrence.
The former loanee, who had gone into the match without a goal in 10 Championship games, volleyed into the ground, catching Bree with his follow through, and the ball deflected off Knudsen and arced past the wrong-footed Bialkowski to his right.
Despite conceding another early goal, Town quickly started to make some headway, Keane feeling he might have won a freekick after being bundled over having beaten the hesitant Fikayo Tomori to the ball, however referee Andy Madley waved away his appeals.
The Blues began to dominate possession and on 10 Keane fed Quaner on the edge of the box but the German shot over.
Four minutes later, Quaner won a corner on the right and from Judge’s flag-kick Pennington’s header took the ball away from Knudsen at the far post, who was the better placed of the two.
Just after the 15-minute mark was passed, Bishop won the ball midway inside the Town half, broke forward and played forward into Keane’s path but just too far ahead of the on-loan Hull City man, who was being watched by former Blues boss Mick McCarthy, now the manager of the Republic of Ireland, who the striker has switched international allegiance to represent.
Waghorn was booked for a foul on Pennington in the 21st minute, then three minutes later a Kenlock pass in to Bishop on the edge of the box was just too powerful for the midfielder.
As at Norwich, Town were seeing most of the ball but without seriously threatening the Derby goal.
The Rams meanwhile were looking more of a threat on the break, Knudsen making an important block from Johnson in the 27th minute.
Town broke straight up the other end with Judge feeding Quaner to his left from where the on-loan Huddersfield man shot not too far over.
Moments later, Quaner found Keane on the right and the on-loan Hull man’s shot was blocked, then on the half hour, with the Blues keeping up the pressure, a Chalobah effort from 25 yards was deflected wide.
As the half moved into its final scheduled five minutes Chalobah flicked a Judge freekick from the left just wide, although without unduly worrying Derby keeper Kelle Roos.
There was a scare for the Blues on 45 when a corner from the left reached Tomori in the six-yard box hit the defender on the shin and fortunately bounced wide of the post. But it was Town who were still on top as the half-time whistle was blown.
Town’s first-half display had been virtually a carbon copy of the performance at Norwich with the Blues passing the ball around and confident in possession - perhaps even more so than at Carrow Road - without being able to carve out a clear-cut chance opportunity to level.
Aside from Lawrence’s second-minute goal, another which looked all too easy for the opposition, stand-in skipper Bialkowski had hardly been threatened.
As so often recently, Town need to turn their possession into chances and in turn into goals if they are to prevent another home game from ending in defeat.
Town: Bialkowski (c), Bree, Pennington, Knudsen, Kenlock, Chalobah, Bishop, Downes, Judge, Quaner, Keane. Subs: Gerken, Edwards, Jackson, Harrison, Nolan, Nsiala, Dozzell.
Derby: Roos, Bogle, Keogh (c), Tomori, Malone, Johnson, King, Wilson, Holmes, Lawrence, Waghorn. Subs: Ravas, Wisdom, Bryson, Bennett, Cole, Nugent, Huddlestone. Referee: Andy Madley (West Yorkshire).
Photo: Action Images
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