|Ipswich Town 0 v 0 Gillingham|
SkyBet League One
Thursday, 26th December 2019 Kick-off 15:00
Ipswich Town 0-0 Gillingham - Match Report
Thursday, 26th Dec 2019 17:19
Town missed the chance to make up points on leaders Wycombe Wanderers after drawing 0-0 at home to Gillingham. The Blues, who are back up to second, started very slowly but improved, however, were unable to find the goal which would have ended their League One winless run, which has now stretched to six games.
Boss Paul Lambert made three changes with Janoi Donacien returning to the XI at right-back in a 4-4-2 system with Luke Garbutt on the left and Toto Nsiala and Luke Woolfenden the centre-halves. Skipper Luke Chambers was suspended for one match after Saturday’s red card, while Will Norris continued in goal.
In centre midfield Cole Skuse, who captained, was partnered by Jon Nolan with Alan Judge returning to the starting line-up on the left and Gwion Edwards on the right. Flynn Downes dropped to the bench.
Kayden Jackson was back up front alongside James Norwood with Will Keane among the subs as was Freddie Sears, in the 18 for the first time this season following his ACL injury.
Gillingham fielded an unchanged team from the 3-1 home victory over the MK Dons with former Town academy youngster Stuart O’Keefe in their midfield and ex-Blues loanee Ben Pringle on the bench.
As the lunchtime heavy rain continued, and with Luke Garbutt off the pitch having what appeared to be a problem with his boot attended to, the visitors struck the first shot in the second minute, Norris saving to his right from Brandon Hanlan. From the resultant corner, the ball was cleared to Olly Jones, who blazed over.
The Gills continued to look the more threatening side with the Blues’ forays forward breaking down too easily. On 13, after a mix-up between Nsiala and Woolfenden, former Colchester man Mikael Mandron curled a shot not too far wide of Norris’s right post.
Two minutes later, Nsiala allowed Hanlan to get away from him on the Gillingham left after failing to read the ball on the wet surface but got back to slide in superbly and take the ball away from the Gills forward well inside the area to the left as he prepared to shoot past the advancing Norris, who was also felled by the former Shrewsbury defender’s challenge.
On 23 Norris inexplicably kicked the ball straight to Mandron just outside the area but fortunately the immediate opportunity was snuffed out by Nsiala and Woolfenden and when it was played out to Thomas O'Connor on the left his low shot was easy for the relieved keeper.
Four minutes later, with the Blues still struggling to get going with the visitors having adjusted to the conditions far better than Town, Norwood was booked for a foul on Gills skipper Max Ehmer.
The Blues’ first chance came in the 32nd minute from a Garbutt freekick from deep. Norwood’s knee diverted it to Judge, who turned it into the path of Jackson as he tried to go past a defender on the edge of the box. The former Accrington striker’s first shot was blocked by Ehmer and his second from a tight angle flew into the side-netting.
Moments later, with Town starting to get on top and show more of a threat, Norwood flicked a cross from the left towards goal but didn’t get enough on it to divert it past Gillingham number one Jack Bonham.
The Blues continued to see most of the ball and in the 39th minute, after a long spell of possession, an Edwards cross almost found Garbutt breaking into the box at the far post.
Town were suddenly on top and in control with Gillingham unable to get out of their half but with the Blues unable to carve out a serious chance.
But as the game moved into injury time, Town should have taken the lead. Judge picked up a loose pass just inside the Gills’ half and played it into the path of Jackson to his left.
The striker broke past a defender with Norwood unmarked and in space in the middle calling for it. However, the Blues’ number nine expected Norwood to hold his run and cut back behind him as the ex-Tranmere frontman continued to break into the six-yard box. Just before the whistle, Nsiala was booked for pulling back Hanlan on the right.
There were muted boos as the half was brought to a close. The Blues had started very poorly and allowed the Gills to have much the better of the first 25 minutes or so before finally finding their feet.
Town then had the visitors pinned back in their box for a brief spell before the Gills forced their way out before the Blues had their big chance which Jackson and Norwood should have turned into the game’s opening goal.
After an unconvincing first few minutes, the Blues began to get on top and in the 52nd minute Edwards sent in a dangerous cross for Jackson but the striker mistimed his header and the ball looped high and wide.
Three minutes later, Jackson broke away down the left following a Gills corner and his low cross towards Norwood was deflected only just past his own post by a visiting defender.
In the 58th minute Nsiala painfully collided with one of the metal gates on the front of the stand as he slid in to try to prevent the ball from going out for a corner. The central defender was fine to carry on, but not until after O'Keefe had tried to forcefully rip the ball from his hands as he was lying on the ground, for which he was spoken to by referee Craig Hicks.
Town were in control of the game but without creating too many openings, while having the odd moment of hesitation at the other end with the conditions not helping.
On 63 a deflected Nolan cross-shot ricocheted across the area and wide, then five minutes later a Skuse effort from distance looked on its way out until it hit Edwards on the arm and bounced through to Bonham.
In the 70th minute Jackson found space on the left of the box and teed-up Judge, who looked set to shoot but played into the path of the ex-Accrington striker, who had failed to continue his run.
Bonham failed to collect a cross from the right, then Nolan struck a shot which was blocked as Gillingham briefly teetered.
But after Bonham had been visited by the Gillingham physio, the Blues’ momentum subsided and on 77 the visitors, hardly involved from an attacking perspective since half-time, came close to a goal.
The ball was allowed to run to O’Connor in space from the right on the edge of the box but Nolan somehow diverted it wide.
The visitors threatened again as the game moved into its final 10 minutes, Norris saving superbly from Lee, before Garbutt diverted Ehmer’s follow-up off the line and wide.
A minutes later, Sears was introduced for Donacien, the striker receiving the biggest cheer of the afternoon having been sidelined with his ACL injury since February. On 85 Mandron was replaced by Alex Jakubiak for the Gills.
The visitors began to look the more dangerous side as the game moved into its final minutes. In the 87th minute Ehmer nodded down at the far post from a corner and Norris kept it out before Edwards cleared.
Moments after the fourth official’s board had announced five additional minutes, Judge was yellow-carded for a foul on Connor Ogilvie, then Edwards joined him on the book for a late tackle on Alfie Jones, who subsequently had his name added for kicking the ball away to waste time.
Town were pressing as the final whistle drew closer but the Blues were unable to find the goal which would end their winless league run.
The end was greeted by louder boos than at half-time after another frustrating afternoon at Portman Road.
The Blues were the better side for much of the second half but again without ever really convincing and not managing a shot on target.
Crosses flashed across the box and shots were blocked but Bonham wasn’t forced into a save and the best chance of the period fell to O’Connor for the visitors.
Despite Town again failing to win at home - where they have still only won only three times this season - the Blues are back up to second, a point ahead of Oxford, who are ahead of Peterborough, who were beaten 3-0 at home by Doncaster, on goal difference. The Blues are now six points behind leaders Wycombe, who were defeated 2-0 at Portsmouth.
The Blues are next in action at Lincoln on Sunday before they travel to face the Chairboys on New Year’s Day.
Town: Norris, Donacien (Sears 81), Nsiala, Woolfenden, Garbutt, Edwards, Skuse (c), Judge, Nolan, Jackson, Norwood. Unused: Holy, Dozzell, Huws, Keane, Wilson, Downes.
Gillingham: Bonham, O’Keefe, Ehmer (c), Ogilvie, Hanlan, Mandron (Jakubiak 85), Fuller, Jones, Lee, O’Connor, Tucker. Unused: Walsh, Hodson, Ndjoli, Charles-Cook, Pringle, Marshall. Referee: Craig Hicks (Surrey). Att: 22,082 (Gillingham: 576).
Please report offensive, libellous or inappropriate posts by using the links provided.
You need to login in order to post your comments
Blogs 270 bloggers
Euro Glory for Town by clivebleedingthomas
This was the season in which we had a realistic chance of winning the Treble - it sounds like complete fantasy now, but it happened. Our hopes of FA Cup glory had been finished, along with Kevin Beattie’s career as a Town player, at Villa Park.
Happy Highbury as Town Head to Wembley by clivebleedingthomas
As if going to an FA Cup semi-final was not stressful enough, I had added stress. I travelled on a Supporters Club coach, on board many families, including my father and my wife
Woods Wonder Strike Ends Deadlock by clivebleedingthomas
A sixth round FA Cup tie of greater length than most season's cup runs had begun almost three weeks earlier in front of the Portman Road record crowd of 38,010, a record that still stands.
Five Go To Town by clivebleedingthomas
A fixture that started as a mid-table game but ended as one that would be marked by having special T-shirts printed to commemorate it - this was the Demolition Derby.
Marcus on the Spot in Moscow by clivebleedingthomas
The first leg had been played in the three-sided Portman Road, with no North Stand. Circumstances that many fans thought contributed to our relegation that season.
Ipswich Town Polls
[ Vote here ]