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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.

On 36 Judge hit the first defender with a freekick from the right, then subsequently played the ball out after it had been returned to him, leading to a smattering of boos.

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).

Photo: TWTD

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afcfee added 17:21 - Dec 26
Lambert out please while we still have a chance, lost the plot.

Esseeja added 17:21 - Dec 26
Stop rotating for the love of god.

runningout added 17:23 - Dec 26
Well done Toto :-/

Foreverdon_Blue added 17:24 - Dec 26
Zero shots on target against an average League one side. Quite simple we are ourselves a very average side. Sooner we get Sears back and replace that waste of space Norwood the better (just my opinion.)!

Bert added 17:24 - Dec 26
A panto performance today

Bluearmy_81 added 17:25 - Dec 26
Not a single shot on target not just today but in how many games?! In league one!! How pathetic. And before anyone says we're second- no team goes up not scoring any goals, let alone not winning games. We need substantial, quality investment next month but is that likely with scrooge?! Not a chance.

BangaloreBlues added 17:26 - Dec 26
Everyone's been shouting out to go back to a 4-4-2. He does that, and we don't even get a shot on target. So what's the excuse now - the rotation system?
I've got no doubts that we'll get back on track and win promotion.
Teams around us lost, we move up a place, and gain a point on Wycombe.
Keep the faith. Lincoln away next.

DifferentGravy added 17:26 - Dec 26
Lambert - definition of insanity - same thing over and over again and expecting a different result.

His bizarre team selection(s) and constant rotation have knocked out any cohesion and confidence we had. The players need to look at themselves but Lamberts on field management is costing us. Not good enough. Had enough of his nonsense.

tractorboy2421 added 17:26 - Dec 26
7 shots ... None on target .... 4 more yellow cards 😐 things need to change big time

blue86 added 17:31 - Dec 26
Blimey! Cant believe how bad we have been but were still second. What is the issue? To much rotation? Lots of players in bad form? Or were our narrow wins early in the season papering over large cracks? Any/all of the above Lambert and co need to sort asap, think we could do with a decent winger in Jan. Like the look of that curtis from pompey, but couldn't see us getting him. Oh and one more thing lambert..... wilson is ten times better than mr liability nsiala.

portmanteau added 17:33 - Dec 26
Well that's the holiday points total done already at 1 out of 9. You dont seriously think we will get anything out of Lincoln and Wycombe?

shortmarine1969 added 17:36 - Dec 26
Judge and Toto, both dire. We have Wilson on the bench while not dynamic and maybe basic he is not the liability that Toto is, Nolan not much better today either. Judge has done nothing all season, and Flynn sits on the bench???. Then PL once again uses his subs so late they have little chance of affecting the game.

No shots on target at home is pi*s por in any game. PL needs to sort the team out , and sharpish.

Steve_ITFC_Sweden added 17:38 - Dec 26
This league is there for the taking, but we’re not doing it. About 10 teams lining up now for the promotion spots. We need to find a spark. (Freddie?). And we need some goals from somewhere. Still hoping we can do it, but on today’s performance, I’m far from confident. COYB!

TimmyH added 17:40 - Dec 26
All I've read in the above write up (not at the game today) is mainly about Town and how they started slowly but improved and 2nd half was largely us but I look at the statistics and it shows the opposite and that Gillingham were the greater goal threat with 5 shots on target to our none and having more shots in total!!! (Unacceptable).

It shows how much we've plummeted over the last month or so that we can't beat or even create chances against a very mediocre side...1 win in 11 games (including FA Cup) is a disgrace!

EssexTractor added 17:41 - Dec 26
The weather was atrocious but Gillingham seemed not to notice
Yes they were time wasters
Their throw in expert was allowed to dilly dally across the pitch by another inept referee
Yet truthfully they were more dangerous, had shots and dangerous corners and on points won.
We were appealing
Yet again Lambert with hands in pockets may have well have stayed at home ..firstin selecting awful the midfield can there ever ever have been a foursome of slow, backward passing forlorn individuals as we saw today and then showing nothing from the sidelines and only introducing a guy who hasn't played for 10 months as though he rather than any other substitute would have made the difference.
And as for our totally overrated In fact, nasty number 10 ..please ....someone teach him the rudiments of being a decent proper footballer.
For those o us who have seen beautiful football at Portman Road this decade ends abjectedly.

EssexTractor added 17:42 - Dec 26
Correction apologies appalling not appealing !!!

multiplescoregasms added 17:42 - Dec 26
We really do need someone who can create from midfield, and I don't honestly think we have much in that area at the club. No service to the front 2 again, except the MM high ball. If we don't add in January I don't even see us making the play-offs.

ArnieM added 17:44 - Dec 26
I think the reason we gave so few if any shots in target I’d because our midfield is CACK at proving the bullets for the strikers . We have ZILCH creativity in the midfield and our supposed creative midfield is played out wide . Wtf does Lambert do each week to constantly get it so wrong on match day . He really doesn’t seem to know his best 11 or most effective formation does he! He will f luck up our best chances of promotion if he continues in this manner.

speccybaz added 17:45 - Dec 26
How they didn’t score is beyond me! How we didn’t score was all too plain to see. Lack of creativity in midfield a real issue. And Downes only sub needs an explanation.

TimmyH added 17:46 - Dec 26
The way the league is panning out now the 'least' rubbish team will win it - it's so poor in quality!

Felstow1978 added 17:46 - Dec 26
Taxi for Lambert

SickParrot added 17:48 - Dec 26
So before today we were no wins in 5 and Lambert rests his best midfield player. Is he plain daft or is he turning into McCarthy and just doing it to annoy the fans?

Suffolkboy added 17:48 - Dec 26
Frustration , despair and disappointment come too easily to mind ; are they the genuine reflection of how our players feel : and if so how are they ,and when are they going to set about quitting the doldrums and bringing some good cheer ?
Will it be the New Year ?
We wish them well,hope for all the right results : and hope the First Team coach has received a box of overdue clues and cookies to enliven the proceedings !
COYB ,we’re willing you on !

richardpaul added 17:53 - Dec 26
As I sit here with my hand wrapped round a glass of single malt I have seen Paul's Baldrick moment with a cunning plan Playing the likes of Judge, Edwards and Nsiala he is putting them in the shop window for the January sales. Simple

ITFCsince73 added 17:53 - Dec 26
Average v Average.

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