|Ipswich Town 2 v 0 Wigan Athletic|
SkyBet League One
Sunday, 13th September 2020 Kick-off 12:00
Ipswich Town 2-0 Wigan Athletic - Match Report
Sunday, 13th Sep 2020 13:59
The Blues’ Sky hoodoo was finally vanquished as Paul Lambert’s men opened their League One campaign with a 2-0 behind-closed-doors victory over Wigan Athletic at Portman Road. Town, who hadn’t won when playing live in front of the Sky cameras for 16 matches going back to December 2015, went ahead through Teddy Bishop’s first goal in nearly six years in the 11th minute before sub Gwion Edwards added the second on 80.
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 Sears with another great cross-field ball to the left, the striker moving it on to Judge. The Irish international then 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 swapped Drinan for James Norwood ahead of the second half, presumably due to an injury with the former Waterford man having had another decent half, while the Latics swapped Dan Gardner for Alex Perry.
The Blues began the half brightly, Judge heading wide at the near post from a Ward cross from the left in the opening minute after the restart.
On 52, Town again looked shaky from a set piece, Roberts sending the ball in from the left and Holy looking hesitant as it reached two Latics at the back of the box. However, they were unable to create an opening and eventually Nolan was fouled as he looked to clear.
The Blues ought to have doubled their lead in the 56th minute when Dozzell played a low ball across the area after it had been played back to him following a corner. Wilson was unable to make a significant contact when he should have scored and it wafted wide, appearing to catch a defender on its way out, although referee Thomas Bramall awarded a goal-kick.
Sears curled another free-kick over three minutes later, then, as the game reached the hour mark, Chambers was booked for a foul as Wigan sought to break following a Town attack.
Garner headed well over for Wigan in the 63rd minute, a warning to Town that the visitors had created chances even if they hadn’t been able to take them and that the scoreline was still only 1-0.
There was another scare two minutes later when a Roberts free-kick was headed out of the area to sub Perry, who hit a controlled effort which only just looped over the bar.
Wigan began to see more of the ball as the game moved towards the 70-minute mark, a well-worked move ending with Tom Pearce crossing low into Holy’s arms at the near post.
Two minutes later, Lee Evans shot over with the Latics on top and taking the game to the Blues. Moments later, Edwards took over from Sears with Judge moving to the left of the front three with the Welshman on the right.
Bishop curled an edge-of-the-area effort through to Jones on 74, before the goalscorer made way for Emyr Huws.
Town’s second goal finally came in the 80th minute. Nolan sent Judge away in space down the left and the Irishman sent in a cross which fell to sub Edwards, who shot low into the net from six yards on the turn.
In the final scheduled minute, Edwards cut in from the left and hit a powerful shot which Jones did well to palm behind for a corner. There was little serious action during three minutes of injury time before referee Bramall confirmed the Blues’ first three points of the season.
A deserved victory for the Blues, who had enough chances to have made their lead more secure prior to Edwards hitting the second late on.
The second half display wasn’t as convincing as the first with Wigan having a strong spell midway through, while manager Lambert will be unhappy with the way his team defended a number of Latics set pieces which on another day could have resulted in goals.
Overall however, he will be delighted that the League One season is off and running with a home win, only the Blues’ 11th in their last 50 in the league at Portman Road.
The victory ends a winless run of 16 games in front of the live Sky cameras, their previous success the 1-0 defeat of the MK Dons at Stadium MK in December 2015.
Town are next in action when Fulham visit for a Carabao Cup tie on Wednesday with the Blues’ first away League One game of the season at Bristol Rovers next Saturday.
Town: Holy, Chambers (c), Wilson, Nsiala, Ward, Dozzell, Nolan, Bishop (Huws 76), Judge, Sears (Edwards 73), Drinan (Norwood 46). Unused: Cornell, Donacien, Kenlock, Hawkins.
Wigan: Jones, Obi, Long, Naismith, Pearce, L Evans, Merrie (Crankshaw 82), Solomon-Otabor, Gardner (Perry 46), Roberts, Garner (c). Unused: O Evans, Joseph, Jolley, Aasgaard, Webber. Referee: Thomas Bramall (Sheffield).
Photo: Matchday Images
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