Ipswich Town 1-0 Wigan Athletic - Half-Time
Sunday, 13th Sep 2020 13:00
Teddy Bishop’s first goal in nearly six years has given the Blues a 1-0 half-time lead over Wigan Athletic in a behind-closed-doors League One opener at Portman Road.
Town were forced into one change with Luke Woolfenden missing from the back four with the centre-half having picked up a knock in training. He was replaced by James Wilson, who was making his first competitive appearance of the season.
Corrie Ndaba missed a chance of making his league debut having suffered a dead leg during the 2-1 EFL Trophy defeat to Arsenal's U21s in midweek.
Tomas Holy got the nod ahead of David Cornell in goal, while there was again no place in the squad for Downes, who was given time off ahead of last week’s 3-0 Carabao Cup victory over Bristol Rovers following the interest from Crystal Palace and his subsequent transfer request.
Also absent from the bench was Jack Lankester, who has also picked up a knock, with Janoi Donacien included having recovered from the injury he suffered at Cambridge.
Former Blues striker Joe Garner was named as Wigan’s captain, while ex-Town winger Gary Roberts was also in the XI.
One-time Blues youngster Pat Webber was on the bench for the Latics, who had manager John Sheridan in charge for the first time since taking over on Friday.
Wigan were without forward Gavin Massey due a leg muscle injury, while defensive pair Danny Fox and Josh Clarke, who signed on short-term deals on Friday, were not involved.
Following a summer exodus as a result of their administration, only Kai Naismith remained from the XI which drew 1-1 at home to Fulham on the final day of the Championship season in July.
Town got the game under way at an empty and eerily quiet Portman Road after both sets of players had taken a knee in support of Black Lives Matter.
Wigan were first to threaten in the seventh minute from a corner on the right. The ball was allowed to reach Emeka Obi, who sent his header into the ground and wide. It was a fortunate escape for the Blues.
And four minutes later, Town went in front. Stephen Ward quickly took a free-kick on the left, catching Wigan cold and sending Freddie Sears away in space. The former West Ham man sent over a cross which was half-cleared and Teddy Bishop ran in and nodded into the roof of the net past Jamie Jones to give the Blues the lead.
It was only the 24-year-old’s second career goal, his previous one having come at AFC Bournemouth in November 2014 during his breakthrough campaign as an 18-year-old.
Wigan, who had won a number of corners in the early stages, should have levelled in the 14th minute. After a flag-kick had been half-cleared, the ball was sent back and Obi this time headed over when he ought to have scored.
On 21 Dozzell curled a shot well over with the Blues increasingly in control of the game with Wigan unable to keep hold of the ball.
Three minutes later, Dozzell returned a Judge corner from the right across goal, skipper Luke Chambers nodded it back in and English league debutant Aaron Drinan’s close-range header scuffed the top of the bar.
Town began to create more chances and might well have added to their lead in the 26th minute. Dozzell found Ward on the left with a sublime cross-field ball and the Irishman sent in a cross which reached Chambers breaking into the area but the captain’s header into the ground bounced harmlessly to Jones in the Wigan goal.
In the 28th minute Bishop went very close to his second goal of the game. Jon Nolan brought the ball into the box unchallenged and laid it to Drinan to his left, from where the Irish U21 international, with his back to goal, laid it to Bishop, who struck a low shot which hit the post. The ball rebounded awkwardly for Drinan and he was unable to divert it towards goal.
It had been all Town but in the 34th minute ex-Blue Roberts whipped in a ball from the left, Toto Nsiala’s header went straight up in the air and Garner’s powerfully-struck overhead kick beat Holy but smashed against the bar. It was another fortunate escape for Town, who had been much the better side but also could well have conceded three times.
Five minutes later, Town built patiently from the back, Dozzell eventually finding Judge with another great cross-field ball to the left. The Irish international back-heeled into the path of Sears who was breaking into the area and the former Colchester man saw his shot stopped by Jones with Drinan calling for the ball to be squared to him on the edge of the six-yard box. The quality of the move deserved a goal.
As the half moved into two minutes of injury time, Sears curled a 25-yard free-kick just over, Nolan having been fouled.
Town deserved their half-time lead on the balance of the period overall with Bishop reacting quickly to nod home his first goal in nearly six years. At times the Blues had played some lovely stuff and might have been further ahead with Sears likely to feel he should have added to last week’s two Carabao Cup goals, Chambers also feeling he ought to have added to his goal against Bristol Rovers and Bishop unlikely with his strike against the post.
But Wigan could easily have scored three times themselves with Obi missing two very good early opportunities, with Town not looking entirely comfortable when defending set pieces, and Garner coming very close with his excellent overhead kick.
However, a second Blues goal after the break ought to be enough to put the game beyond the reach of the visitors.
Town: Holy, Chambers (c), Wilson, Nsiala, Ward, Dozzell, Nolan, Bishop, Judge, Sears, Drinan. Subs: Cornell, Edwards, Norwood, Donacien, Kenlock, Hawkins, Huws.
Wigan: Jones, Obi, Long, Naismith, Pearce, L Evans, Merrie, Solomon-Otabor, Gardner, Roberts, Garner (c). Subs: O Evans, Crankshaw, Joseph, Perry, Jolley, Aasgaard, Webber. Referee: Thomas Bramall (Sheffield).
Photo: Matchday Images
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