|Ipswich Town 0 v 1 Coventry City|
SkyBet League One
Saturday, 7th March 2020 Kick-off 15:00
Ipswich Town 0-1 Coventry City - Match Report
Saturday, 7th Mar 2020 17:13
Matt Godden’s 16th minute goal saw leaders Coventry City to a 1-0 victory over the Blues at Portman Road. Town were an improvement on Tuesday’s defeat to Fleetwood by the same scoreline but were unable to find an equaliser.
Will Norris, Teddy Bishop, Luke Woolfenden, Cole Skuse, Gwion Edwards and Freddie Sears all returned to the starting line-up as manager Paul Lambert made six changes for the teams’ fourth meeting this season.
Norris replaced Tomas Holy in goal behind a back four of Edwards, Woolfenden, skipper Luke Chambers and Luke Garbutt.
In midfield, Skuse and Andre Dozzell were behind Jon Nolan with Bishop and Alan Judge either side of Sears up front.
Striker Will Keane missed out with a groin injury, while leaders Coventry named an unchanged team.
The Blues might have won a penalty in the sixth minute when Nolan appeared to be caught as he went inside a defender on the right of the box. However, referee Trevor Kettle wasn’t interested and the Town protests were relatively muted.
But Coventry, in their Two-tone tribute away kit, began to see more of the ball and in the 16th minute they went ahead via their first shot of the game.
After Nolan had been dispossessed a few yards inside the Blues half, Liam Walsh played a slide-rule pass into the path of Godden on the right of the box from where the Sky Blues’ top scorer hit a shot across Norris and into the corner of the net.
Having got their lead, Coventry began to dominate as they looked for a second. On 24 Kyle McFadzean looped a header over following a short corner.
The Blues were struggling to regain a foothold but in the 29th minute they carved themselves a golden opportunity with a well-constructed move from their own area down the right involving Woolfenden Edwards, Judge and Sears.
Eventually, Judge played a bouncing ball forward into the path of Nolan, who was through on goal and in acres of space on the edge of the box. The former Shrewsbury man had time to take it down and pick his spot but instead opted to head towards goal but only succeeded in finding Coventry keeper Marko Marosi’s hands. Moments later, Walsh was booked for a foul on Bishop.
The Blues started to see more of the ball as the game passed the half-hour mark and in the 40th minute Dozzell found Nolan midway inside the visitors’ half from where he played it on to Sears, who hit a low which failed to trouble Marosi.
Four minutes later, Skuse played a ball forward to Nolan on the left of the box, who again avoided a linesman’s flag but this time shot over.
In injury time, Bishop looked to be sent flying just outside the area but referee Kettle somehow saw no infringement.
As the players made their way off at the end of the half, Norris took his protests too far and was booked, frustratedly throwing a water bottle after being shown the card.
As a result, referee Kettle was roundly booed by the Sir Alf Ramsey Stand as he made his way off the field.
Aside from the goal, there hadn’t been too much between the sides with penalty area action a rarity at both ends.
Once again, the Blues were the architects of their own downfall, losing possession in a dangerous area of the field, but Coventry did well to make the most of it.
Town, who had had their fair share of the ball and were much better than in the first half against Fleetwood, will feel they should have been on terms with Nolan’s chances one which really should have been taken, the midfielder presumably not having realised quite how much time he had or how far from goal he was. His later chance was tougher.
However, those opportunities, showed that the Sky Blues’ backline was far from impenetrable, and would have given Town hope ahead of the second half.
The Blues began the second period on the front foot and in the 49th minute Skuse played in Sears on the right of the box but the striker took the ball out of play as he tried round Marosi.
Seconds later, it could well have been 2-0. Fankaty Dabo whipped over a low ball from the right for Godden but the striker slid in and sent the ball over Norris’s crossbar.
On 52, Sears turned away from his man midway inside the Sky Blues’ half and played a ball into the path of the breaking Bishop but too close to Marosi.
Coventry began to look more threatening and in the 58th minute Godden was found by a ball over the top - having strayed offside according to the Town backline - and with Norris temporarily out of his goal Chambers blocked the striker’s shot.
As Town looked to break Kyle McFadzean was yellow-carded for a foul on Sears, who in turn was booked for a foul on Jamie Allen on 62.
Two minutes later, Josh Earl took over from Garbutt, who had been struggling for the previous little while with what appeared to be a groin problem.
On 66, following a corner, Dozzell floated a cross over from the left which Chambers looked set to nod home at the far post until Sam McCallum’s toe diverted it behind.
A minute later, Town swapped Sears for Simpson and Coventry replaced Allen with Jordan Shipley. On 74 Bishop made way for Armando Dobra, then two minutes later Dozzell was yellow-carded for a foul on Callum O’Hare. Three minutes later, goalscorer Godden was switched for Amadou Bakayoko.
The game appeared to be drifting as it moved towards its final 10 minutes with the Blues not looking particularly threatening and Coventry happy enough with their one-goal lead.
On 85 the visitors replaced O’Hare with Zain Westbrooke,, then a minute later Edwards won a corner on the right but as so often in recent weeks the set play came to nothing.
As the game moved into four minutes of injury time, McCallum was booked for a foul on Edwards on the right. The freekick was cleared but was played back out to Earl on the right but his low cross-shot was blocked.
A late Earl cross from the left hit Dobra and was seen out of play by the Coventry defenders and soon afterwards the whistle was blown to cheers from the visitors and brief boos from the home fans.
In contrast to Tuesday, the Town players were applauded by most in the ground, while referee Kettle, who had frustrated the home support throughout having made a number of surprising decisions, was booed as he left the field.
At no stage were the Blues as abject as they were during the first half against Fleetwood on Tuesday but once Coventry had got the lead - and Town had missed their big chance to level through Nolan - the Sky Blues rarely looked too uncomfortable and you got the impression that the game could have gone on for much longer without the Blues troubling the scorers, even if their overall performance probably warranted a point.
However, equally Coventry, now unbeaten in 14 in the league back to December 14th, may well have been able to step their display up a gear had it been required.
A third home defeat in a row and a seventh loss in the last nine sees the Blues drop to 10th, now seven points off the play-offs and 15 behind the Sky Blues, who are now five points clear at the top and look promotion certainties, with eight games left to play.
Town: Norris, Edwards, Woolfenden, Chambers (c), Garbutt (Earl 64), Skuse, Dozzell, Nolan, Bishop (Dobra 74), Judge, Sears (Simpson 68). Unused: Holy, Wilson, Morris, Huws.
Coventry: Marosi, Rose, McFadzean, Kelly (c), Allen (Shipley 68), Hyam, O’Hare (Westbrooke 85), Walsh, Dabo, Godden (Bakayoko 77), McCallum. Unused: Wilson, Biamou, Pask, Giles. Referee: Trevor Kettle (Rutland). Att: 18,825 (Coventry: 1,740).
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