Ipswich Town 0-0 Wycombe Wanderers - Match Report
Tuesday, 26th Nov 2019 22:16
Town had a goal controversially ruled out just before half-time and Tomas Holy saved a second-half penalty as the Blues and Wycombe drew 0-0 in a top-v-second clash at Portman Road. Just before half-time, Luke Chambers’s header was diverted into his own net by Curtis Thompson but referee Alan Young wrongly disallowed it having consulted his linesman with the players already lined-up for the restart. In the second half, Holy stopped Joe Jacobson’s spotkick after Chambers had fouled David Wheeler.
Town were without Flynn Downes, who was subbed late on against Blackpool on Saturday against Blackpool, as they returned to three at the back.
Holy was back in goal with Will Norris on the bench, one of four changes from the team which drew 2-2 at the weekend, while James Wilson joins skipper Chambers and Luke Woolfenden in the back three.
In midfield, Cole Skuse lined-up alongside Jon Nolan and Emyr Huws with James Norwood and Kayden Jackson up front. Janoi Donacien - with Kane Vincent-Young still not ready to return after his groin operation - and Luke Garbutt were the wing-backs.
For Wycombe, ex-Blues youngster Matt Bloomfield skippered, while Adebayo Akinfenwa and Dominic Gape came into the side for Nnamdi Ofoborh and Alex Samuel, who dropped to the bench.
Wycombe’s on-loan QPR forward Paul Smyth hooked an early strike wide for the Chairboys but Town - unusually attacking the Sir Bobby Robson Stand in the first half - saw most of the ball in the early minutes but without threatening until the 11th minute when a mishit Garbutt freekick from the left reached Wilson at the far post.
The centre-half stabbed towards goal but it struck a Wycombe player, on the hand according to supporters but not referee Alan Young.
Moments later, the Blues had an even better shout for a penalty when Nolan’s shot from just outside the area more clearly hit Jacobson's arm but again referee Young was unmoved.
Town, looking far more dangerous than they had for most of Saturday’s game against Blackpool, continued to ramp up the pressure and in the 14th minute they came within inches from the opener.
With rain starting to fall steadily, Jackson crossed from the right and Norwood stooped to nod home from a couple of feet out but was unable to get enough on the wet ball to direct it goalwards.
On 18 Jacobson shot straight at Holy from distance, then at the other end Norwood hit a similarly speculative effort wide.
Akinfenwa had been kept in check by the Blues in the opening stages but on 25 the man-mountain frontman outmuscled Chambers on the edge of the box and was away on goal. Fortunately for Town Holy had come off his line quickly and blocked with his shins.
But overall Town were presenting the greater threat and in the 29th minute, after a 25-yard Garbutt freekick had hit the wall, the resultant corner was cleared out to Huws but the Welshman scuffed his shot wide.
A minute later, Nolan was booked for a foul on Bloomfield. Jacobson looped the freekick to the back of the box but just beyond Akinfenwa.
On 34 Garbutt was booked for a late tackle on Wheeler as the Wycombe midfielder cleared, although there appeared to be little contact.
Moments later at the other end, Jacobson curled a freekick from just outside the area on the right wide.
Skipper Chambers wasn’t too far away from his second of the season in the 41st minute when he flicked a corner from the right but just beyond the far post.
The Blues had looked threatening from set pieces all half and in the 44th minute they thought they’d gone in front.
After the initial ball in had been half-cleared, Chambers headed Garbutt’s cross goalwards, it caught Thompson’s head on the way through, flew past Jackson behind him and beat keeper Ryan Allsop to his left.
Town celebrated the goal as the Wycombe team surrounded referee Young and the players were already lined-up for the restart before the official, who had already had an inconsistent half, spoke to his assistant Aaron Farmer and then disallowed the goal.
It wasn’t clear whether Farmer’s flag had immediately been raised or why it had been disallowed, although the assistant presumably erroneously believed Jackson had got the last touch and was either offside or had handled.
The Town players were furious and Norwood talked himself into the referee’s book for his protests towards the assistant. The former Tranmere man now has five bookings for the season and will miss the Blues’ next league game at Coventry a week on Saturday.
Just before the break, Smyth was cautioned for a foul on Woolfenden, then Donacien was harshly yellow-carded for a foul on Thompson, much to the anger of a now furious Portman Road.
The whistle was greeted by boos aimed at towards referee Young, who had somewhat lost the plot in a chaotic final few minutes in the wake of the bizarre circumstances surrounding the disallowed goal.
Yellow cards were flashed for innocuous Town challenges with worse tackles and lengthy time-wasting - particularly from Chairboys keeper Allsopp - having gone unpunished earlier on.
Had the goal counted, Town would have deserved their lead having been on top for most of the half and having created a couple of decent openings with Norwood unfortunate not to get more on Jackson’s cross earlier in the period. The Blues had also looked dangerous from most of their set pieces.
Wycombe had threatened on fewer occasions and had seen much less of the ball but with Akinfenwa always capable of causing problems and Jacobson’s set pieces a threat.
Midfielder Skuse, who was making his 250th league start for the Blues, required treatment soon after the restart after taking a blow to the leg but eventually was OK to continue.
Anthony Stewart saw his name added to referee Young’s book on the hour for a foul on Norwood. Garbutt curled the freekick high and wide, not the first time his set-piece precision had been below its usual high standard. A minute later, Wycombe swapped Smyth for Scott Kashket. On 71 they swapped Felixstowe-born Bloomfield for Nick Freeman.
Town had struggled to get on top and put Wycombe under any pressure in the second half but in the 73rd minute, after a freekick on the left had been half-cleared, Nolan struck a shot which deflected.
The Blues quickly threatened again with Norwood feeding Nolan on the edge of the box but the ex-Shrewsbury man was unable to get over the ball and it looped well wide.
On 79 Allsop was finally booked for time-wasting as he took an age over a freekick midway inside his side’s half. Two minutes later, Woolfenden was yellow-carded for protesting after being pulled over by Akinfenwa as he sought to head away a cross.
Once Town had dealt with the corner, they switched Wilson for Gwion Edwards and Huws for Danny Rowe as the Blues switched to 4-4-2 for the closing minutes. Soon after, Thompson added his name to referee Young’s lengthy list for a foul on Donacien.
In the 85th minute Wycombe had a golden chance to win the match. After Donacien had given the ball away midway inside the Town half, Wheeler broke into the area as he was hauled back by Chambers. Referee Young pointed straight to the spot, despite Town protests that the pull had taken place outside the area and merely the fall inside it.
Jacobson, who scored the Chairboys’ late winning penalty on Saturday against Doncaster, took the kick and hit it to Holy’s right but the keeper clawed it away to the delight of the home support.
Portman Road’s volume increased for the final minutes. Will Keane replaced Norwood and was quickly into the action, shooting just over from the edge of the box, then unsuccessfully attempting to nod back Garbutt’s freekick, which again had been overhit.
As the game moved into six minutes of additional time, largely for Wycombe time-wasting, Kashket and then Akinfenwa were both yellow-carded for fouls.
Deep injury time an Edwards shot was blocked inside the box but moments later referee Young’s rather overused whistle was given its final use of the evening.
Town will feel very hard done by having had their first-half goal disallowed but never really threatened in the second period and in the end probably didn’t do enough to deserve the win. The Blues didn’t register a shot on target while the Chairboys’ centre-halves, particularly Stewart.
Wycombe, who battled gamely for the point they clearly came for, will think they threw away their chance to win it from the penalty spot, although Holy made an excellent save.
Referee Young’s display will have been the main talking point for fans leaving the ground. Video evidence clearly showed Town’s disallowed goal should have been awarded, while several of the 11 bookings were needless with other challenges were worthy of cautions.
Overall, the draw sees Wycombe remain top, still five points clear of the Blues who have two games in hand, with Peterborough four further points behind.
Town: Holy, Woolfenden, Chambers (c), Wilson (Edwards 81), Donacien, Huws (Rowe 81), Skuse, Nolan, Garbutt, Jackson, Norwood (Keane 88). Unused: Norris, Judge, Nsiala, Dozzell.
Wycombe: Allsop, Jacobson, Gape, Stewart, Wheeler, Bloomfield (c) (Freeman 71), Smyth (Kashket 61), Thompson, Grimmer, Akinfenwa, Charles. Unused: Yates, Phillips, Samuel, Aarons, Ofoborh. Referee: Alan Young (Cambridgeshire). Att: 19,215 (Wycombe: 793)
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