Ipswich Town 1-1 Nottingham Forest - Match Report
Saturday, 16th Mar 2019 17:19
Collin Quaner’s first Blues goal gave Town a fifth minute lead but Molla Wague equalised for Nottingham Forest on 31 as Paul Lambert’s side recorded their sixth 1-1 draw in seven games. Quaner stabbed in an Edwards cross to put Town ahead but Wague scrambled home from a corner as Forest had the better of the first half. However, the Blues were dominant after the break but were unable to turn their superiority into their fourth win of the season.
Boss 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.
At a blustery Portman Road 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 by Wague having hit Jon Nolan as it had come into the box.
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.
Three minutes after the restart Nolan headed straight at Pantilimon after Bree had crossed following a patient Blues build-up down the right.
Town began the half positively, enjoying more of the ball than they had before the break. On 51 a cleverly-worked freekick almost saw Chambers play in Quaner but a defender’s toe intervened.
A minute later Chalobah was inches away from Town’s goal of the season smashing a volley from the edge of the box only just wide.
The Blues, with Judge increasingly involved following an unusually quiet first half from the Irishman, continued to take the game to the visitors and were much improved from the first half. On 57 Edwards burst down the right and whipped over a dangerous cross.
Quaner made way for Jackson in the 59th minute with Town still on top and Forest by now the ones rarely breaking into the opposition half of the field.
In the 63rd minute, the Blues almost scored a brilliant second goal. Bialkowski kicked long down the right for Judge, who bamboozled his man twice before sending in a superb cross for Nolan, who had made strong run into the six-yard box but somehow the former Shrewsbury man, who scored his first ever header at West Brom last week, nodded the ball just the wrong side of the post.
Moments later, Forest made a double with Carvalho and Matty Cash replacing Ryan Yates and Ben Osborn.
Town continued to press, Jackson hitting a low shot from 20 yards through to Pantilimon in the 71st minute.
The Blues were denied what would have been a brilliantly worked second goal in the 73rd minute. Judge pulled the ball back to Nolan, who smashed the ball home off the underside of the bar.
However, referee Stroud, never a popular official on his regular visits to Suffolk, pulled play back as he hadn’t blown his whistle, much to the annoyance of the Town players and fans.
Forest were next to go close, Bialkowski saving first from Cash and then from Murphy in the 76th minute. Soon after, Forest switched Pele for Karim Ansarifard.
But the Blues, who had been excellent since the break, were still presenting by far the greater threat. On 81 Chalobah sent Jackson away on the right but the ex-Accrington Stanley man’s shot from a tight angle was blocked by Pantilimon.
Jackson had an even better chance in the 83rd minute when Chalobah again played him in but once more the Blues striker was thwarted by the former Manchester City keeper.
Moments later, after Colback had been booked for a foul, Judge’s freekick from the right was sent just the wrong side of the post by Tendayi Darikwa with Forest by now pegged back in their own box with the Blues winning a succession of corners and freekicks.
Town were doing everything but scoring. On 86 Pantilimon found himself in no-man’s land when Bree sent a ball back into the area from deep but still somehow managed to paw Pennington’s header behind. A minute later, Chambers nodded Judge’s corner from the right wide.
The Blues continued what had been almost relentless pressure for most of the second half in three minutes of injury time in which Jackson had what looked a great shout for a penalty when he looked to be brought down by Wague as he tried to shoot following a Judge freekick.
Nsiala replaced Bishop for the final few seconds in which Judge’s 20-yard freekick was deflected wide off the wall.
Town did everything but score in a second half they dominated virtually from start to finish with Forest only threatening when Bialkowski made his double save. the performance after the break was if anything an even better display than at West Brom last week and certainly the best 45 minutes at home this season.
The Blues again had chances and Nolan will feel he ought to have been celebrating scoring a header for the second week running, while the midfielder was also extremely unlucky not to have scored with his strike following a freekick when referee Stroud - who was booed off by the Town support - took play back for the set piece to be taken again.
Stroud also once again involved himself in penalty controversy, as he did when Town were at Aston Villa in January, with Jackson appearing to have been fouled in the closing stages.
Overall, yet another positive performance against opposition with play-off aspirations but again one which wasn’t turned into three points, to some degree not entirely Town's fault in this instance given Stroud's refereeing, while Panilimon in the Forest goal was a safe pair of hands throughout.
The Blues, still 13 points plus goal difference from safety with just eight left to play, are next in action at Portman Road in a fortnight following the international break when Hull City make the trip to Suffolk.
Town: Bialkowski, Bree, Pennington, Chambers (c), Kenlock, Skuse (Chalobah 41), Nolan, Bishop (Nsiala 90), Judge, Edwards, Quaner (Jackson 59). Unused: Gerken, Knudsen, Dozzell, El Mizouni.
Nottingham Forest: Pantilimon, Darikwa, Benalouane, Wague, Robinson, Yates (Carvalho 64), Pele (Ansarifard 77), Colback (c), Lolley, Murphy, Osborn (Cash 64). Unused: Steele, Guedioura, Watson, Milosevic. Referee: Keith Stroud (Hampshire). Att: 16,709 (Forest: 1,691).
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