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Exeter City 2-1 Ipswich Town - Match Report
Saturday, 4th Jan 2020 17:06

Former Blues midfielder Lee Martin’s injury-time goal ended Town’s hopes of a Wembley appearance in the Leasing.com Trophy as they were defeated 2-1 at League Two Exeter City in the third round. Nicky Ajose gave the Grecians the lead in first-half injury time before Will Keane levelled on 58 as Town improved in the second half.

Teddy Bishop and Freddie Sears both made their first starts of the season playing off lone central striker Will Keane with Cole Skuse and Andre Dozzell in the centre of the midfield.

Toto Nsiala, James Wilson and Luke Woolfenden - two of only three players who started at Wycombe on Wednesday to keep their places - were the back three with Myles Kenlock and Gwion Edwards - the other - the wing-backs. Tomas Holy was back in goal.

Exeter made nine changes from the team which won 1-0 at Forest Green Rovers on New Year’s Day with former Blues midfielder Martin on the bench.

The Grecians were forced into a late change of keeper after Lewis Ward picked up an injury in the warm-up. Sub Jonny Maxsted started with youngster Jack Arthur on the bench.

Town began the game on top with Bishop making a couple of early trademark pacy dribbles towards the Exeter penalty area, despite a surface more Sunday league than EFL.

But the game’s first shot came in the 10th minute - with Grecians fans still streaming into the ground - when Joel Randell cut inside Edwards on the left of the box and hit a low shot which Holy claimed at the second attempt.

On 12 Ajose looped an effort well over after being found in space on the left, then at the other end Bishop almost found himself in on goal after the ball dropped for him on the edge of the area but his touch let him down and Alex Hartridge stabbed away from him. Two minutes later home skipper Jake Taylor shot over from distance.

Nsiala headed Town’s first attempt at goal into the side-netting from a tight angle from a Dozzell ball in from the right following a corner.

Taylor curled over for the Grecians, who were having a lot of the ball and plenty of shots from distance but without testing Holy.

Most of the game had been played in the Town half but on 36 Skuse looked the break on halfway but was tripped by Matt Jay, who was shown the game’s first yellow card by referee Josh Smith.

As the half moved into its final five minutes the Blues began to put the Grecians under pressure and on 40 went very close to going in front. Keane got round his man on the right, cut the ball back, hit a defender and struck the post before bouncing away from goal.

Town kept the ball around the Exeter box and eventually it was played out to Dozzell, whose shot from 20 yards was going wide to the left of goal until Keane nodded it not too far past the other post. A minute later, Keane was yellow-carded for frustratedly kicking the ball away.

However, in the final minute of the half, the home side took the lead. Nigel Atangana sent a ball in from the right which was flicked on to Ajose at the far post from where he struck a shot off the inside of the woodwork and over the line.

Moments later, referee Smith ended a rather understated half in which the Blues had struggled to make their divisional superiority tell on a pitch which was hardly conducive to playing passing football.

Until the brief spell when the Exeter post was hit and Keane nodded just wide, Town had rarely threatened other than when Bishop, who had had a lively half, had made breaks forward.

The home side had seen more of the ball but until their goal had been limited to efforts from distance which had failed to trouble Holy.

The Grecians swapped Gary Warren for Will Dean ahead of the start of the second half but it was the Blues who started on top.

Two minutes after the restart Bishop broke into the area on the right and might have shot but squared to Sears but the chance was snuffed out. On 51 Sears was sent away by Keane but with the linesman’s flag raised.

Two minutes later, the former West Ham man timed a run from deep perfectly and Bishop sent him away on the right. However, his cross towards Keane was cut out.

Town had started the second half positively, however, with the opening minutes played almost wholly in the Grecians’ half.

And in the 58th minute the Blues were on terms. Nsiala hit a long ball forward to Keane, who deftly took the ball down and laid it back to Sears. The returning frontman played it into Keane’s path and the striker hit his fifth goal of the season past Maxted right in front of the Town terrace.

Almost immediately after the restart Sears was sent away towards goal but was crowded out and forced back. Eventually, the Town number 20 hit a shot which Maxted did well to push away from goal, then moments later, the ball was crossed from the right to Bishop, but the midfielder could only divert it well wide of goal.

Woolfenden was yellow-carded for a foul on Ben Seymour not far outside the area as the match moved towards the hour mark. Jay’s freekick was easy for Holy.

Kayden Jackson replaced Sears in the 64th minute. The ex-Colchester man will have benefited from his longest run-out since his return from injury and will be pleased with his overall display. Four minutes later, the Grecians switched Seymour for Ryan Bowman.

Bishop, Town’s main danger throughout, cleverly turned his man and broke into the area on the right in the 72nd minute before hitting a low ball across the six-yard box but with none of his team-mates having read his intentions.

The Blues should have taken the lead in the 75th minute when Kenlock played a great ball from the left into the path of Jackson, but the sub hit his shot into the side-netting when he should at least have hit the target.

Bishop was subbed to a warm ovation from the Blues support a minute later after a very impressive return. Idris El Mizouni took over. For Exeter, ex-Blue Martin was introduced for goalscorer Ajose.

Woolfenden headed a deflected cross from the left over from under the bar in the 77th minute, before El Mizouni almost made a dramatic impact. The Tunisian international brought the ball in from the left at pace but, with Keane demanding a pass in the middle, saw it stabbed away from him just as he was about to shoot.

The left flank was proving increasingly fruitful for the Blues and a minute later Kenlock was sent away but with a number of team-mates well placed his cross was cut out. Moments later, Nsiala blazed over, the Grecians having failed to clear following a corner.

Town had been the better side throughout the second half and were ending the period on top. In the final scheduled minute, with James Norwood having been introduced for Edwards and seconds before the fourth official raised his board indicating three additional minutes, El Mizouni curled a shot into Maxted’s arms from the left.

Nsiala was booked for a pull back just outside the box as Exeter made a break from which Jay struck a freekick which Holy brilliantly tipped over.

But from the corner the Grecians won the tie. The flag-kick was blocked but was looped back in and fell to Martin to the left of the box from where he hit a shot across Holy and into the net before running to celebrate with his supporters in the other half of the field.

There wasn’t time for the Blues to hit back before referee Smith brought the game and Town’s hopes of a Leasing.come Trophy final appearance at Wembley to an end.

The scoreline was harsh on the Blues on the balance of the second half with Town having been much the better side, as they should have been against a much-changed Exeter XI.

However, when they were on top they failed to turn that advantage into chances and those they did create they failed to take, while Exeter took one of their few second half opportunities at the death with Martin - who scored the Grecians’ winning penalty in the Carabao Cup shoot-out last season - perhaps inevitably the one to net the goal.

The defeat, an embarrassing one against opposition from a lower league in a cup once again, stretches the Blues’ winless run over 90 minutes to 12 games, however, the performance in the second half deserved more, even if the display before the break was far less impressive.

Town are back in League One action against Accrington Stanley at Portman Road next Saturday.

Town: Holy, Woolfenden, Nsiala, Wilson, Edwards (Edwards 89), Skuse (c), Dozzell, Kenlock, Bishop (El Mizouni 76), Sears (Jackson 64), Keane. Unused: Norris, Judge, Garbutt, Dobra.

Exeter: Maxted, Dyer, Warren (Dean 46), Hartridge, Richardson, Taylor (c), Atangana, Jay, Randall, Ajose (Martin 76), Seymour (Bowman 68). Unused: Arthur, Bowman, Collins, Kite, Chrisene. Referee: Josh Smith (Bedford).

Photo: TWTD

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Tractorboy1985 added 17:07 - Jan 4
5 more years 5 more years 5 more years 🙄🙄🙄🙄🙄 clueless... lost the dressing room... pathetic owner.... RIP Ipswich Town Football Club

blueboy1981 added 17:07 - Jan 4
USELESS. - no need for further comment.

cat added 17:08 - Jan 4
FFS what the hell is going wrong? We put out a capable side (on paper) and we can’t buy a frigging win. Feel for the travelling support, horrid time to be a fan. You need to sort it Lambert cause with results like this your stock (lol) is plummeting. Not winning is becoming a bad habit.

Sindre94 added 17:08 - Jan 4
Let me make one thing clear. We CANNOT use Skuse in the central midfield whilst playing 3-5-2. He plus three central defenders overcrowds the defensive parts of the field. So my suggestion is to play him at the back as one of the three CB’s, or leave him out completely. Balance is terrible with 4 centrally defensive players. Need a box-box player alongside Dozzell in this formation for it to work. For example Nolan or Downes. Bishop was a real bright spark today, but his position is just off the strikers.
I might be one of few to actually rate Dozzell, but he needs to have the right player alongside him. His range of passing, tempo and vision is unique, so let him have a run in the team with Downes, and I’ll think we’ll start to see the best of him.
My team for Accrington (3-5-2)

Now stick to this formation PL, and get the personnel right.

BlueParadigm added 17:09 - Jan 4
Why on Earth was PL’s contract extension decision not out on ice until and unless Town achieved promotion at the end of the season?

madmouse1959 added 17:09 - Jan 4

runningout added 17:09 - Jan 4

Bluearmy_81 added 17:10 - Jan 4
Joke club out of a joke cup... What a state we are in...

mow_the_lawn added 17:10 - Jan 4
The players alone are more than good enough to be beating a league two reserve team, the problem is that there isn’t an adequate coaching team in place in order to get the best out of them tactically, physically or mentally. The majority of these players have proved that they can compete at championship level (last season aside) and yet they look devoid of any attacking creativity. Since the appointment of Hurst and now Lambert these players have all gone backwards and had it not been for a couple of youngsters, I suspect we’d be mid-table at best and certainly not offering Lambert a 5 year contract.

TimmyH added 17:10 - Jan 4
Couldn't make it up (well you could with this club) Lee Martin couldn't score for toffee with us wins it for little ol' Exeter, anybody saying it is irrelevant needs to wake up...1 win in last 15 games, confidence must be at rock bottom.

Oh well Lambert has got his pay packet for the next 5 years even if he quits or gets the sack...never mind.

Dolphinblue added 17:10 - Jan 4
Just league one to focus on now.....Coyb....are luck has to change....big game next saturday! The 🐬 will be there cheering on the Blues. Good to see Sears and Bishop get game time and result harsh if report accurate.

martin587 added 17:11 - Jan 4
DISGRACEFUL.Nothing more to add.😡

Reuserscurtains added 17:11 - Jan 4
Can’t keep saying this but RIP the town

Tractorboy1985 added 17:12 - Jan 4
Numbskull rabbit out in force I see already... I have a season ticket if you want to take it off me??? As your standards and expectations are a lot lower than mine! Keep happy clapping and chucking money in Marcus pocket... he’s milked this club.. why can’t you see it?? Far too many just happy to sit back and watch Ipswich demise... embarrassing

Reuserscurtains added 17:12 - Jan 4
Have a day off Dolphin.

rabbit added 17:13 - Jan 4
"WE" ? Bluearmy_81 you hate most of the supporters, you consider the club a joke, there is no "WE" as far as you are concerned.

Tractorboy1985 added 17:14 - Jan 4
Sindre how many more chances can we give Dozzell!?? Heard it for too many seasons with no end product!! The lad lives off his dads name!!

HackneyBlue added 17:14 - Jan 4
Good jod we didnt put a weak team out against a League 2 reserve side.
Just this result would see many managers lose their job.
LDLDLLLDDDDD impressive run

midastouch added 17:14 - Jan 4
How much do you reckon the Exeter wages are for their whole squad compared to ours? I bet there are not anything close to ours.
It's just not good enough!
Forget the free pints Lambert, I want 3 points next game, not free pints!
And to add insult to injury, Lee Martin!!!??? You couldn't make it up!
On the plus side, he's still got 5 years to sort it out has Lambert! And don't forget he did play in Germany in case any of you had forgotten. You know how he loves to throw that in!
Been a very dirty dozen games from the boys in Blue. :-(

midastouch added 17:15 - Jan 4
At least we can focus on the mid-table plummet now.

eddiespearitt03 added 17:15 - Jan 4
NOW some fans might want to name a team for the next game. A team that includes the same poor players that cling on to this club. Why not stick Chambers and Toto up front and play a 8-0-2 formation

gorse added 17:15 - Jan 4
Nsiala starting - baffling.

"2-1 (90+) ... Town sub: Norwood for Edwards" baffling.

DerryfromBury added 17:16 - Jan 4
Sindre94 gave you a thump's up but for some reason showing a thump's down.

Dolphinblue added 17:16 - Jan 4
Plus Keane is scoring! 😀👍

BangaloreBlues added 17:16 - Jan 4
"This talk of "three games until Wembley" is just comical when are likely to put out a weakened side against one of the top teams in League Two. I'd be very surprised if we beat them without our first eleven."

I received minus four "points" for that paragraph in a previous thread.
Is reality sinking in to you guys yet?

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