Ipswich Town 2-1 AFC Wimbledon - Match Report
Tuesday, 20th Aug 2019 22:02
Kayden Jackson’s goal deep, deep in injury time saw Town come from behind to claim a dramatic 2-1 victory over AFC Wimbledon at Portman Road. The Dons went ahead via Nesta Guinness-Walker in the 41st minute in a poor first period from the Blues. But Town were much better in the second half, equalising through James Norwood in the 81st minute before Jackson smashed in the late winner.
Skipper Luke Chambers dropped to the bench as Blues boss Paul Lambert made three changes for the first ever visit of AFC Wimbledon.
James Wilson came into the back four alongside Luke Woolfenden with Janoi Donacien and Myles Kenlock the full-backs and Tomas Holy in goal.
Lambert switched to a central midfield three with Andre Dozzell making his first League One start of the season alongside Flynn Downes and Cole Skuse, who wore the captain’s armband.
In the front three, Idris El Mizouni started for the first time this season on the left with Danny Rose on the right and Norwood in the centre.
Gwion Edwards and Jackson also dropped to the bench, alongside new loanee Anthony Georgiou. Kane Vincent-Young missed out, presumably due to the toe injury he was suffering from at the weekend.
For AFC Wimbledon, ex-Blues Shane McLoughlin and Dylan Connolly were among the subs, while there was a late change of referee with Antony Coggins taking over from Robert Jones.
The first 20 minutes passed uneventfully with neither team creating an opportunity. The Blues had had spells of possession without hurting the Dons, but more of the game had been in the Town half, although with the visitors equally unable to conjure a chance against the home backline.
A short spell of head tennis on the edge of the box led to an opening for Norwood in the 29th minute, Rowe hooking the ball into the area in front of the former Tranmere man but he scuffed his strike and El Mizouni was unable to reach the loose ball ahead of Wimbledon keeper Nathan Trott.
Four minutes later, Downes chipped a cross towards Norwood from the right but beyond the Town striker.
After their slow start, the Blues gradually began to put the Dons under pressure, winning back-to-back corners in the 35th minute. From the second, Skuse headed goalwards but Trott claimed.
A minute later, they should have gone in front. Dozzell played Norwood in on goal with a trademark threaded pass and the striker seemed set to score his first goal at Portman Road but Trott stood up well and forced it wide.
The Blues seemed to be getting on top, however, it was Wimbledon who would take the lead with their first serious shot of the evening.
Following a long kick forward by Trott, Michael Folivi held off his man with his back to goal on the edge of the box, then fed Guinness-Walker, who was breaking from deep on the left unchecked, and he smashed a shot past Holy to his left.
Town were unable to create another chance before the break with the whistle greeted by loud boos from the home support.
The Blues had started slowly but seemed to be find their feet as the half moved into its final 10 minutes with Norwood’s chance one the frontman will feel he should have taken.
However, they were caught by a sucker punch with the Dons breaking and then Guinness-Walker in acres of space as he joined the attack on the left and beat Holy with his low strike.
Town needed to improve significantly in the second half and manager Lambert made one change, handing Georgiou his debut and withdrawing El Mizouni.
A minute after the restart Donacien was booked for a foul on Luke O’Neill midway inside the Town half as he challenged following a loose pass out of his area by Holy. O’Neill took the freekick himself and the ball flashed across the area beyond the Wimbledon players in the box.
The Dons continued to look the more dangerous side with a low cross from the left forced out off a visiting player by Wilson at the near post.
Georgiou forced a foul from O’Neill in the 51st minute, the Dons man joining Donacien in the book. The Cypriot international took the freekick himself and Woolfenden’s header was blocked.
Town finally started to put the Dons under pressure and on 56 Georgiou sent in a low ball from the left which Paul Kalambayi deflected to Trott, who claimed just as Norwood stabbed a foot towards it. The keeper stayed down for a moment or two and there was a bit of pushing and shoving between the Town striker and two defenders before the game continued.
Downes went close to a brilliant equaliser in the 59th minute, the midfielder rolling his man midway inside the Wimbledon half before taking it on and hitting a shot which flew only just over. Seconds later, Lambert swapped Dozzell, who had been in and out of the game, for Jackson as the Blues moved to 4-4-2.
Town, with the fans in the Sir Bobby Robson Stand getting louder by the minute, were by now encamped in the Dons half and on 61 Georgiou sent a powerful low ball across the six-yard box but with no one able to add the final touch.
The Blues claimed a penalty a minute later when Norwood fed in the pacy Jackson on the right and the striker was felled by a combination of Trott and Rod McDonald, however, the keeper grabbed the ball and referee Coggins waved away the protests. Soon after, Kalambayi was booked for a foul on Norwood.
On 64 Georgiou, who had made a big impact having come on, whipped over a freekick from the left and the ball was cleared to Downes, who shot over from just outside the box.
The Dons reminded Town that they still had defending to do at the other end in the 68th minute after Downes failed to take down Holy’s pass out of the area. Fortunately, Wilson was able to cut out the pass through to Folivi.
The Blues broke to the other end and Norwood flashed a ball across the area with no Town player again able to get a touch.
Rowe shot wide from a Downes pass a minute later, then Kenlock cut in from the left and hit a low shot which Trott claimed at the second attempt with no Town player able to get on to the loose ball.
The Blues swapped Rowe for Alan Judge, while Wimbledon replaced Folivi with Mitchell Pinnock.
On 76, Jackson’s flick sent Judge away into the area but a Wimbledon boot intervened and the ball was kicked out for the first of two corners, neither of which came to anything.
With nine minutes remaining, the Blues finally found a leveller. After a contentious corner award on the left led to Dons skipper Scott Wagstaffe picking up a yellow card for dissent, Judge sent over a deep ball and Norwood powered a header into the net at the far post to claim his first Portman Road goal and his second in two matches. For Judge, it was only his second assist since joining Town in January.
From there, with the crowd having upped the volume even further, the Blues went looking for the winner as Wimbledon replaced Kwesi Appiah with Joe Pigott.
The Town pressure was increasing as the game reached its final scheduled minute. Georgiou saw a shot blocked, then Jackson was played in by Skuse but the ball was stabbed behind.
From the corner, the ball ran loose to Woolfenden but the defender fell as he tried to divert it goalwards. It subsequently squirmed out to Skuse but his snapshot screwed out for a throw on the far side.
In five minutes of injury time, Pigott was booked for kicking the ball away as the Blues prepared to take a freekick.
And in the aftermath of the set piece, the Blues scored their winner. After a number of balls into the box were headed clear, Skuse hooked the ball over McDonald into the path of Jackson inside the area and the substitute lashed into the net to trigger wild celebrations on the field and the terraces, while manager Lambert appeared to be booked by referee Coggins after running down the touchline.
The downcast Wimbledon players tried to get themselves back on terms in the remaining moments without success and the final whistle was met by loud cheers rather than the boos of the first half.
The two periods couldn’t have contrasted more with the first as dull as they come, the Blues finding themselves behind to a poor goal.
Town took a few minutes to find their feet in the second half but once they had done so they kept the Dons pinned back in their half and eventually got their opening via Norwood’s header before finally grabbing Jackson’s winner right at the death.
It was a victory which showed great character, particularly in the wake of so many disappointments last season, the Blues having come behind to win for the first time since Swansea away in October last year.
The three points take Town up to fifth in the early season table, two points behind new leaders Blackpool ahead of Saturday’s visit to crisis club Bolton Wanderers.
Town: Holy, Donacien, Woolfenden, Wilson, Kenlock, Skuse (c), Dozzell (Jackson 60), Downes, El Mizouni (Georgiou 46), Rowe (Judge 72), Norwood. Unused: Norris, Chambers, Huws.
AFC Wimbledon: Trott, O’Neill, Thomas, McDonald, Kalambayi, Guinness-Walker, Reilly, Hartigan, Wagstaff (c), Folivi (Pinnock 72), Appiah (Pigott 86). Unused: Tzanev, Roscrow, Connolly, McLoughlin, Osew. Referee: Antony Coggins (Oxfordshire). Att: 18,778 (AFC Wimbledon: 667).
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