Ipswich Town 1-1 Nottingham Forest - Half-Time
Saturday, 16th Mar 2019 16:00
Collin Quaner’s first Blues goal gave Town an early lead but Molla Wague equalised for Nottingham Forest to leave the half-time score 1-1 at Portman Road.
Town boss Paul Lambert again made five changes with Cole Skuse, Matthew Pennington, James Bree, Teddy Bishop and Quaner all back in the team.
Toto Nsiala, Kayden Jackson, Andre Dozzell and Trevoh Chalobah dropped to the bench, while Josh Emmanuel was left out of the 18.
The Blues lined-up in their familiar 4-3-3 system with Alan Judge and Gwion Edwards either side of lone central striker Quaner. Keeper Dean Gerken was back among the subs having been ill last week.
Forest, with their assistant manager Roy Keane making his first return to Portman Road since his time as Town boss, made three changes with Jack Robinson, Molla Wague, making his first start for the Tricky Trees, and former Blue Daryl Murphy coming into the team.
Joao Carvalho, Karim Ansarifard and Alexander Milosevic all dropped to the bench. Former Blues loanee Jack Colback skippered.
Town went ahead with the game’s first serious attack in the fifth minute via a well-worked goal down the right.
Bishop fed Bree, who played the ball into the path of Edwards breaking ahead of him. The Welshman crossed low and Quaner turned his first Blues goal through Forest keeper Costel Pantilimon’s legs from a few feet out.
The goal inevitably led to chants of ‘Keano, what’s the score?’ from the Sir Bobby Robson Stand.
On 13 Murphy flicked a header well wide for Forest from Joe Lolley’s cross from the right following a corner with the visitors taking the game to the Blues, who in turn were looking a threat on the break.
In the 20th minute Ben Osborn was sent away down the left by Murphy and crossed low. Ex-Town loanee Colback worked himself an opportunity to shoot but Pennington slid in superbly to block. Two minutes later, Lolley found himself space but scuffed his effort through to Bartosz Bialkowski.
Eight minutes later good play on the right led to Bree sending over another dangerous cross but behind Quaner and with no one waiting behind him.
Right on the half hour Forest levelled. Lolley’s corner from the right was scruffily bundled over the line at the near post with Wague claiming the goal.
Skuse blazed over for the Blues from distance in the 32nd minute, then Murphy flicked a header straight at Bialkowski with the visitors having most of the ball and keeping Town in penned back in their own half for the most part.
Murphy looped a header over in the 41st minute from a Lolley freekick on the left before the Blues were forced into a change with Skuse, who had suffered a couple of knocks, replaced by Chalobah.
Just as the game went into two minutes of injury time, Forest thought they’d gone ahead. From a freekick on the right, Bialkowski saved from Yohan Benaloune, but the ball fell to Murphy at the far post and the Irishman squeezed the ball home, however, with the flag having been raised, wrongly video evidence suggests.
That fortunate escape was the last action of a half which had started very brightly for the Blues with Quaner netting his first goal for the club from a very well-worked move.
However, from there Forest had been in control with Bialkowski the only keeper forced into action and the equaliser - albeit a scruffy goal from a set piece Town will feel they should have kept out - was little surprise when it came. Had Murphy’s goal counted it wouldn’t have flattered the visitors.
Town will have to show more in the second half if they are to claim only their fourth victory of the season.
Town: Bialkowski, Bree, Pennington, Chambers (c), Kenlock, Skuse (Chalobah 41), Nolan, Bishop, Judge, Edwards, Quaner. Subs: Gerken, Knudsen, Jackson, Nsiala, Dozzell, El Mizouni.
Nottingham Forest: Pantilimon, Darikwa, Benalouane, Wague, Robinson, Yates, Pele, Colback (c), Lolley, Murphy, Osborn. Subs: Steele, Guedioura, Watson, Carvalho, Cash, Milosevic, Ansarifard. Referee: Keith Stroud (Hampshire).
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