Coventry City 0-1 Ipswich Town - Half-Time
Saturday, 7th Dec 2019 16:05
Will Keane’s 31st minute goal has given Town a 1-0 half-time lead against Coventry at St Andrew’s.
Manager Paul Lambert made only one change from the team which drew 1-1 with the Sky Blues in the FA Cup last Sunday, although six from the last league outing, the 0-0 draw with Wycombe.
However, Town were without skipper Luke Chambers due to a neck problem, which is only expected to sideline him for a few days, while Cole Skuse, who suffered a hip problem at Peterborough on Wednesday, was on the bench.
Gwion Edwards came in for Danny Rowe on the right of the front three with the former Macclesfield man out with a knee injury, also not believed to be serious. Alan Judge was on the left with Will Keane the lone central striker with James Norwood suspended.
Flynn Downes again skippered from central midfield alongside Jon Nolan and Andre Dozzell, while Janoi Donacien and Luke Garbutt were the full-backs and James Wilson and Luke Woolfenden the centre-halves.
Forward Callum O’Hare, who scored Coventry’s late equaliser last week, and striker Amadou Bakayoko started for the home side, while striker Matty Godden was on the bench after injury.
The Sky Blues had the better of the opening minutes and on five Bakayoko was found in space breaking into the area but Nolan made a superb challenge to stop him in his tracks and Edwards cleared the danger.
Two minutes later, the former Shrewsbury man came close to opening the scoring. After good work from Dozzell, Judge whipped in a cross from the right and Nolan got his head to it at the near post eight yards out, but couldn’t get enough on it and it flew across the face of goal.
As last week, Town were passing it out from the back and, with Dozzell and Downes increasingly influential as the game reached the quarter-hour mark, were enjoying long spells of possession, however, without turning them into another chance until the 25th minute when Judge came close to his second goal of the season.
A slick move which started with keeper Norris and built from there, ended with Nolan sending Edwards away down the right with Judge breaking down the middle. The Welshman’s cross-shot was awkward for the Irish international at the far post and he was only able to scrape it wide as he collided with the woodwork.
Had Judge scored, it would have been a team goal up there with Kane Vincent-Young’s at Gillingham earlier in the season.
Town continued to see most of the ball with possession quickly won back after it had been lost. On 28 Downes hit a shot from just outside the area which appeared to hit a defender a deflect well wide but referee Darren Drysdale gave a goalkick.
And three minutes later, the Blues got the goal their performance deserved. A short corner on the left was returned to Judge by Dozzell, the Irishman looped in a cross and Keane climbed highest to power his first league goal of the season and his second against Coventry in successive weeks into the corner of the net.
In the 34th minute Keane almost scored again. Garbutt sent over a corner from the right and the former Manchester United man once more rose highest to head against the post. A Coventry defender cleared the loose ball.
Town continued to dominate with Coventry struggling to see anything of the ball. On 42, the excellent Keane swept the ball wide to the right and eventually Judge sent over a deep cross to the edge of the box which Garbutt volleyed back across goal and only just wide.
The Sky Blues, who had just swapped the injured Dom Hyam for Jordan Shipley, went close for the first time soon afterwards when Zain Westbrooke found O’Hare unmarked with a freekick in from the left but the on-loan Aston Villa man’s header was too high.
Just before the break, Judge was fouled on the left and rather wasted the freekick and left the field feeling his left wrist, which he broke early in the summer when away with the Republic of Ireland, although didn’t appear unduly concerned.
Town were applauded off at half-time after as good a 45 minutes as they’d put in for a while.
Following a slow start, the Blues had kept hold of the ball and passed it around with confidence and might well have gone in with more than their single goal lead with Nolan, Keane, Judge and Garbutt all going close.
Keane deserved his goal for his display, while midfield trio Downes, Nolan and Dozzell were well on top of their Coventry counterparts and the Blues backline had rarely been troubled with Norris largely a spectator.
However, after last Sunday’s last-gasp Sky Blues leveller, Town won’t need to be reminded that they need another goal in the second half to cement their advantage.
Coventry: Marosi, Dabo, McCallum, Hyam (Shipley 44), McFadzean, Rose, Kelly, Westbrooke, O’Hare, Bakayoko, Biamou. Subs: Wilson, Allen, Hiwula, Godden, Kasteneer, Drysdale.
Town: Norris, Donacien, Woolfenden, Wilson, Garbutt, Dozzell, Downes, Nolan, Edwards, Judge, Keane. Subs: Holy, Skuse, Jackson, El Mizouni, Kenlock, Dobra, Georgiou. Referee: Darren Drysdale (Lincolnshire).
Photo: Action Images
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