Ipswich Town 1-4 West Ham United
Tuesday, 25th Aug 2020 15:53
Sebastien Haller netted a hat-trick as West Ham beat the Blues 4-1 at Portman Road in a behind closed doors friendly. The Frenchman put the Hammers in front just before the break, added a second on the hour before Freddie Sears pulled one back for the Blues and Tomas Soucek made it 3-1. Haller completed his hat-trick on 63 as the teams scored four goals in five minutes.
Andre Dozzell, Flynn Downes and Teddy Bishop were the Blues midfield three as Town are lined up in their increasingly familiar 4-3-3 system.
Skipper Luke Chambers at centre-half alongside Toto Nsiala with Janoi Donacien and Stephen Ward the full-backs. Tomas Holy was in goal.
Up front, Gwion Edwards was on the right with ex-Hammer Freddie Sears on the left and Aaron Drinan in the centre.
James Norwood, Oli Hawkins and James Wilson again all missed out but Emyr Huws was among the subs having travelled without being involved at Spurs on Saturday.
Norwood, who is continuing his rehabilitation after his groin operation, and Wilson, who has been out with a calf problem, were expected to start training yesterday. Prior to joining the Blues last Monday Hawkins had been training on his own.
Kane Vincent-Young, Luke Woolfenden, Kayden Jackson, Cole Skuse and Myles Kenlock were notable absentees from the squad.
West Ham, who were also in action at Wycombe Wanderers this afternoon, included ex-Blue Aaron Cresswell, who skippered, as well as Jack Wilshere, Darren Randolph and Felipe Anderson, who was among their scorers when they beat Town 2-1 in another friendly two years ago. Manager David Moyes was at Portman Road rather than Adams Park.
The Town team emerged from their temporary dressing room in the Sir Bobby Robson Suite, walking down the steps of the empty Sir Alf Ramsey Stand, the visitors having previously emerged from the tunnel.
There was a chance for the Blues within the opening seconds when a clearance deflected into the path of Drinan inside the area but the Irish U21 international’s strike was blocked.
Ward sent it back in and another Drinan attempt was blocked by Fabian Balbuena before Randolph in the Hammers goal claimed.
Town caused themselves significant problems in the opening minutes as they tried to pass out from the back and in the fifth minute Andriy Yarmolenko was found in space at the far post but Chambers was able to push him wide and then stab the ball out for a corner.
From the flag-kick keeper Holy punched uncertainly and Donacien helped it out for a goal-kick off a West Ham player.
Drinan’s low shot was saved by Randolph on 10, then Grady Diangana took the ball past the advancing Holy on the right of the Blues’ area but took it out of play.
On 14, with Town already having shown far more threat than they did at Tottenham on Saturday, Ward found Bishop on the left of the box and the midfielder skipped past two men before cutting across the six-yard box but with no Blues player there to add the final touch.
West Ham should have been in front a minute later when Haller, a scorer on his last pre-season visit to Portman Road as the Blues drew 1-1 with Utrecht in 2015, found himself unmarked eight yards out after Chambers had failed to deal with a long ball but the Frenchman somehow hit the ball too close to Holy, who saved.
Penalty area action became rarer, although West Ham were looking a threat on the break whenever Town lost the ball in the opposition’s half.
On 29 the Hammers appealed for a penalty as the ball appeared to catch Dozzell on the arm as it came in from the right, the midfielder colliding with Donacien as a number of players landed in a heap. Referee Neil Hair waved away penalty protests.
Two minutes later, Downes, a West Ham fan, stuck a powerful effort which Randolph pawed behind. From Sears’s deep corner from the left Ward nodded into the Irish international keeper’s hands.
The visitors again should have taken the lead in the 38th minute when Haller was played in behind the Blues backline but again was unable to beat the advancing Holy, who blocked. Moments later Idris El Mizouni replaced Edwards, who walked straight off to the dressing room.
On 43, with Town starting to look more confident when breaking forward, Bishop took the ball on into the West Ham half and with options either side of him hit a shot which flew over Randolph’s crossbar.
The Hammers took the lead in controversial circumstances a minute later. The ball looked to have gone out of play on the left and the Town players had stopped as Diangana squeezed it across for Haller to turn home from a few feet.
The Blues players protested towards the linesman, but to no avail and soon afterwards the referee’s whistle ended a half in which Town had been more competitive than they had been in the opening period at Tottenham on Saturday.
The Hammers should have been ahead prior to their late goal with Haller having missed a couple of very good chances, while the Blues had had one or two opportunities of their own, albeit less clear cut.
Neither side made a change ahead of the second half, unusually for pre-season, with the Hammers making the early running.
On 51 El Mizouni, playing on the right of the front three, not his preferred role, made a clever run on the left of the box and looked to find Ward, who had broken forward, but the ball was diverted behind.
Two minutes later, Yarmolenko was found at the far post on the right by Haller’s backheel from where the Ukrainian shot against the outside of the post.
Town swapped Dozzell, Downes and Bishop, who had been far from out-classed by their Premier League counterparts, for Jon Nolan, Emyr Huws and Alan Judge in the 59th minute and soon after the visitors extended their lead.
Diangana was again the creator crossing for Haller to slam his second of the afternoon into the net.
The two-goal lead didn’t last for long with Sears pulling one back against his old club having been found in space on the left of the box by Huws following a powerful run forward from halfway on 61.
However, the Hammers quickly made it 3-1 as Holy failed to reach a cross from the right from Conor Coventry allowing Soucek to nod in at the far post. The Czech keeper won’t want to see that too many times.
Almost immediately it was 4-1 as Town were made to pay for playing themselves into trouble in and around their own area, as they have done throughout pre-season, skipper Chambers turning away from Diangana inside his own area not realising Haller was behind him and the Frenchman gleefully stabbed home his third goal from six yards.
The goal deluge abated and on 74 the Blues made three substitutions, David Cornell, Corrie Ndaba and Tommy Smith taking over from Holy, Ward and Chambers.
On 78 Huws did well to stop a West Ham attack in the box - the Blues again having given the ball away inside their own half - but collided Donacien and Town were fortunate the Welshman’s clearance cannoned off Haller to Cornell.
Ben Folami replaced scorer Sears for the final seven scheduled minutes and on 86 hit a low shot from a tight angle which Randolph claimed comfortably.
In the final scheduled minute, Nolan was found at the far post but Randolph was out quickly to block with no time for further action.
Most of the post-match discussion will be about the ease with which West Ham scored their goals - and they might well have scored more in the first period - with the fourth particularly poor.
While manager Paul Lambert has encouraged his side to pass out from the back, they regularly play themselves into trouble and inevitably a Premier League side was going to make them pay eventually.
There were more positives before the break, although Idris El Mizouni put in another bright cameo from the bench.
Town: Holy (Cornell 74), Donacien, Chambers (c) (Ndaba 74), Nsiala, Ward (Smith 74), Dozzell (Nolan 59), Downes (Huws 59), Bishop (Judge 59), Edwards (El Mizouni 38), Sears (Folami 83), Drinan.
West Ham: Randolph, Cresswell (c), Balbuena, Yarmolenko, Anderson, Coventry, Alese (Cardoso 56), Wilshere, Haller, Soucek (Kemp 74), Diangana (Lewis 74). Unused: Jimenez, Odubeko. Referee: Neil Hair.
Photo: Matchday Images
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