|Ipswich Town 1 v 0 Lincoln City|
SkyBet League One
Saturday, 25th January 2020 Kick-off 15:00
Ipswich Town 1-0 Lincoln City - Match Report
Saturday, 25th Jan 2020 17:00
Luke Woolfenden’s first Town goal a minute before half-time saw Town to a 1-0 home win over Lincoln City at Portman Road and back to the top of League One. Woolfenden nodded Luke Garbutt’s freekick from the right into the net off keeper Josh Vickers to secure a deserved three points for the Blues.
Town named the same team which won 2-1 at Tranmere last week with Will Norris again in goal behind a back three of skipper Luke Chambers, ex-Imp James Wilson and Woolfenden. Garbutt and Gwion Edwards were the wing-backs.
In midfield, Emyr Huws and Flynn Downes were behind Alan Judge with Will Keane and Kayden Jackson the strikers. Town also named an unchanged bench.
Lincoln fielded the same side which beat Blackpool 1-0 at Sincil Bank last weekend with ex-Blues loanee Tayo Edun in midfield.
Town started positively, winning an early corner which Garbutt sent low across the Lincoln six-yard box.
The Blues continued to dominate the early stages, passing the ball around neatly in the Imps half, and on six Huws struck a shot from 25 yards which Lincoln keeper Vickers claimed comfortably.
Within seconds there was a scare at the other end, the ball was crossed from the right, Tyler Walker hooked it on and it bounced just wide of Norris’s right post but with the keeper looking unperturbed.
In the 12th minute a cleverly-worked freekick was played to Keane on the edge of the Lincoln box and the striker laid it back to Huws, whose powerful goalwards strike was blocked by Tyreece John-Jules.
The Blues continued to dominate and on 21 an Edwards cross from the right was only just cut out ahead of Keane at the far post by Neal Eardley. Seven minutes later, a corner from the left dropped to Chambers at the back of the box and his shot was blocked.
Town remained in total control of the game, passing the ball around confidently with Lincoln struggling to see any possession.
On 31 the Blues came close to going in front when, after a lengthy spell on the ball, Jackson played in Keane as the striker broke into the area on the left past two defenders but the former Manchester United trainee slipped his effort at goal just beyond the far post.
Immediately, Lincoln went close at the other end, Walker hitting an effort which Norris turned over. From the resultant corner, the ball struck Wilson and bounced safely to Norris.
Three minutes later, Walker was sent away on space on the right but Wilson came across to divert the ball back to Norris. The on-loan Nottingham Forest striker claimed the former Imps defender had used his hand but there were few other protests and referee Lee Swabey wasn’t interested.
But Town quickly regained their earlier level of control and in the 40th minute Lincoln’s Ipswich-born on-loan Bristol City midfielder Joe Morrell was yellow for pulling back Downes. A minute later, Woolfenden joined him in the book for a high boot inside the Imps box.
The Blues finally got the goal their first-half performance deserved a minute before the scheduled end of the half.
A Garbutt freekick from the right touchline reached Woolfenden at the far post and the centre-half nodded his first Town goal into the net off keeper Vickers.
Town weren’t too far away from making it 2-0 in the final moments of injury time, a Judge shot from the edge of the box deflecting wide.
The whistle ending the half came soon afterwards to warm applause from the home support after a very impressive half from the Blues.
All that had been missing had been a goal, which Woolfenden rectified at a crucial stage of the match.
Town began the second half on the front foot, Huws looping an early header to Vickers in the visitors’ goal.
Lincoln were next to threaten when a low cross from the right fell loose in the box but Edwards was able to scramble it behind ahead of Jorge Grant, who otherwise would have had a clear shot at goal from a matter of feet. From the corner, the ball deflected off an Imps head and wide.
But normal service soon resumed as the Blues went looking for their second goal. On 64 Garbutt smashed a low well-struck 25-yard shot which was headed into the corner of the net until Vickers got a strong arm across to turn it past the post. A minute later, Lincoln swapped John-Jules for new signing Tom Hopper, the striker having joined from Southend earlier in the week.
On 68 Downes was left in a heap just inside the Lincoln half after a two-footed Max Melbourne lunge which referee Swabey somehow saw as a fair challenge. Eventually play was stopped for treatment to the midfielder - who fortunately was able to continue - with the Blues players showing their anger at the tackle, which really ought to have led to a red card.
Moments later Cian Bolger was cautioned for tripping Jackson, then Huws joined him in the book for a foul on Grant after a loose pass had fallen for the Lincoln man on halfway. On 71 the Imps swapped Harry Anderson and Edun for Zak Elbouzedi and Conor Coventry.
Six minutes later, the Blues should have made it 2-0, Wilson flicking a corner from the right wide at the far post when he will feel he should have netted a goal against his old club.
As Lincoln prepared to restart, Town replaced Judge, who had had another very busy and effective game, with Teddy Bishop.
Blues keeper-coach and Jimmy Walker was booked in the 82nd minute for encroachment having come on to the pitch to retrieve the ball ahead of an Imps throw, much to the surprise of the former member of the Lincoln staff.
There was a scare for Town in the 86th minute when Grant was sent away breaking into the Blues’ area on the left but Wilson got across to make a strong challenge.
Downes was yellow-carded in the 88th minute for a foul, the midfielder’s ninth of the season with a 10th leading to a two-match ban, then the again very impressive Keane was replaced by Norwood just prior to the announcement of four additional minutes.
Town saw out the final minutes in relative comfort to claim their third win in five games since that 5-3 loss to the Imps at Sincil Bank a month ago.
The Blues were rarely as fluent in the second half as they had been during their excellent first period but were still in control of the match for the most part and might have added to their lead, most notably Garbutt’s well-saved shot and Wilson’s header wide.
Lincoln will feel they might have done better with a couple of second-half chances when the Blues were caught too open at the back.
Overall though, a confidence-boosting victory and display, in the first half particularly, taking Town back to the top of the division - for the first time since November 17th - ahead of Tuesday’s visit to Rotherham, the team they have usurped at the summit, who were beaten 2-1 at Peterborough, who visit Portman Road next Saturday.
Town: Norris, Chambers (c), Wilson, Woolfenden, Edwards, Downes, Huws, Garbutt, Judge (Bishop 77), Keane (Norwood 90), Jackson. Unused: Holy, Earl, Skuse, Nolan, Sears.
Lincoln: Vickers, Shackell (c), Bolger, John-Jules (Hopper 65), Walker, Grant, Morrell, Eardley, Melbourne, Anderson (Elbouzedi 71), Edun (Coventry 71). Unused: Smith, Chapman, Lewis, Hesketh. Referee: Lee Swabey (Devon). Att: 18,795 (Lincoln: 749).
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