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Ipswich Town 0-1 Fulham - Match Report
Wednesday, 16th Sep 2020 20:54

Aleksandar Mitrovic’s 38th-minute goal was enough to see Premier League Fulham to a 1-0 win over the Blues at Portman Road and into round three of the Carabao Cup in which they will host Sheffield Wednesday. The Serbian headed home his 50th goal for the Cottagers from Kenny Tete’s excellent cross from the right and their victory was never under any serious threat.

Boss Paul Lambert made seven changes from the team which beat Wigan 2-0 on Sunday with striker Oli Hawkins among those coming into the team for his full Town debut.

David Cornell was in goal with Tomas Holy on the bench, while Janoi Donacien and Myles Kenlock were the full-backs with Stephen Ward dropping out of the 18 and Luke Chambers on the bench. At the heart of the defence, Toto Nsiala skippered alongside James Wilson.

In midfield, Emyr Huws joined Andre Dozzell and Jon Nolan with Teddy Bishop among the subs, as was Crystal Palace target Flynn Downes for the first time this season.

Armando Dobra and Gwion Edwards were the wide men in the front three on the left and right respectively with Freddie Sears and Alan Judge on the bench.

Hawkins was the central striker with Aaron Drinan among those currently suffering with knocks having suffered a thigh problem on Sunday. James Norwood was among the subs.

Fulham boss Scott Parker made nine changes from the team which lost 3-0 at home to Arsenal at the weekend with keeper Alphonse Areola, Tete, Mario Lemina and Antonee Robinson all making their debuts.

At an again empty and eerie Portman Road, the visitors could have scored in the opening minute. Neeskens Kabano got the better of Donacien on the Fulham right and cut back to one-time Town loan target Anthony Knockaert, who blazed over when he will feel he should have done better.

In the fifth minute, as Town started to see more of the ball, Hawkins headed a Donacien cross from the right wide following a free-kick, however with the linesman’s flag having already been raised.

On seven, debutant Tete, a recent signing from Lyon, broke forwards from right-back, cut in and hit a shot well over the bar.

A minute later, Bobby Decordova-Reid played a pass which sent Mitrovic in on goal on the edge of the box having escaped Kenlock but Wilson got back to put the ball behind for a corner.

There was further danger from the flag-kick, Frank Anguissa striking a powerful volley from the edge of the box not too far wide of the unmoving Cornell’s right post.

The Premier League side were seeing most of the ball and were passing it around slickly and with pace. Town were having spells of possession of their own and were also looking to use Hawkins’s height more directly, but chances were non-existent at both ends. The Cottagers were closest to working openings but with the Blues backline resolute.

Town created their first chance of the evening in the 27th minute when Edwards picked up a loose pass on halfway. Huws took it on before Edwards used his pace to break into the box and cut it back to Hawkins who stabbed wide at the near post under pressure from a defender.

Despite having the lion’s share of the possession, Fulham were rarely threatening, however, on 35 Knockaert shot over from the edge of the box, the ball scuffing the top of the net.

And the visitors had only another three minutes to wait for a goal. Maxi Le Marchand played Fulham out of a tight area on their left in their own half with an excellent cross-field pass to Tete. The Dutch international broke quickly down the right and sent in a superb cross and Mitrovic, on his 26th birthday, planted a header past Cornell, who was given no chance.

There was a further scare for the Blues a minute in the 44th minute when Nsiala flicked a header back towards Cornell appearing to believe the linesman’s flag would be raised and when none was forthcoming Mitrovic seized upon the ball but Cornell was out quickly to block.

In one minute of additional time, Hawkins nodded the ball down and it fell fortuitously for Huws 30 yards out and the Welshman struck a mis-hit shot which screwed well away from goal.

The half had gone much as might have been expected. The top flight visitors had seen most of the ball and passed it around with confidence.

However, after coming close in the opening minute, hadn’t troubled Cornell until Mitrovic’s goal which was brilliantly created by Tete, who was making an impressive debut.

The Blues had had spells on the ball themselves, as well as going more direct than usual with Hawkins in the side, but had been unable to carve out any opportunities other than the former Portsmouth man’s stab wide and Huws’s late shot.

On the balance of the first half, a second Fulham goal after the break would almost certainly be enough to end Town’s hopes of progression to round three.

Six minutes after the restart, Robinson was fed in on the overlap down the left and sent a low ball across the edge of the six-yard box but with no one able to get in a vital final touch.

On 54 Huws sent over a dangerous ball from the Town left which Hawkins was unable to direct goalwards as he broke into the box with Edwards behind him perhaps having a clearer opportunity to head at goal had it reached him.

Town swapped Dozzell for Downes, making his first appearance of the season, in the 58th minute, the subbed player being rested ahead of Saturday’s League One trip to Bristol Rovers.

Moments later, Cornell was forced into an excellent double save, first stopping Mitrovic’s header from a cross from the right, then saving Decordova-Reid’s powerfully struck rebound while grounded.

As the game moved beyond the hour mark the Blues were seeing a lot of the ball but not in dangerous areas with Fulham, who had introduced Tom Cairney for Mario Lemina on 63, looking comfortable.

Town switched Hawkins, who had a decent enough full debut considering the quality of the opposition and his lack of match time, and Nolan for Norwood and Judge in the 69th minute, while the Whites replaced Anguissa with Harrison Reed.

Cornell saved Cairney’s well-struck curling 25-yarder on 70 with the visitors still creating all the game’s chances.

However, a minute later, Huws sent Donacien away on the right with Norwood and Dobra down the middle but the former Accrington man’s cross was cut out.

On 77 Kebano struck a free-kick powerfully but over, before the excellent Tete was replaced by two-goal play-off final hero Joe Bryan.

In the first of two minutes of injury time, Edwards broke away down the left and hit a low cross with the outside of his right boot which was too close to Areola, who claimed low down.

Town kept going and never looked in any danger of falloing to a heavy defeat but Fulham always seemed in control and able to step up a gear if they had needed to.

Having secured the lead through Mitrovic in the first half, the Cottagers comfortably played out the second period with Town never able to put keeper Areola under any serious threat.

The Blues, who last beat a Premier League side when they defeated Arsenal 1-0 in the semi-final first leg in 2011, miss out on an appearance in the competition’s third round for the first time since 2015.

Town are next in League One action at Bristol Rovers, who they beat 3-0 in the first round of the Carabao Cup 11 days ago. on Saturday afternoon.

Town: Cornell, Donacien, Nsiala (c), Wilson, Kenlock, Nolan (Judge 69), Dozzell (Downes 58), Huws, Dobra, Hawkins (Norwood 69), Edwards. Unused: Holy, Chambers, Bishop, Sears.

Fulham: Areola, Tete (Bryan 81), Odoi, Kebano, Mitrovic (c), Knockaert, De Cordova-Reid, Lemina (Cairney 63), Le Merchand, Anguissa (Reed 69), Robinson. Unused: Fabri, Hector, Francois, Cavaleiro. Referee: Dean Whitestone (Northamptonshire).

Photo: Matchday Images

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ShropshireBluenago09 added 20:59 - Sep 16
Although we were outplayed possession wise, we restricted Fulham to only one goal. Decent all round 2nd half. Stand outs were Cornell and Wilson. Not sure about Hawkins on that showing though.

TimmyH added 21:01 - Sep 16
Looked like Fulham were only playing a half strength side...but we couldn't really expect to win more than once in a cup competition could we? and certainly not against Premier opponents.

On to Saturday to our real bread and butter.

BromleyBloo added 21:04 - Sep 16
True, but we never really laid a glove on them. Still 90 mins and hopefully no more injuries - win on Sat and who cares..................

Edmundo added 21:05 - Sep 16
Decent game time for a few coming back into the squad.
Did Downes look bothered when he came on?

oldegold added 21:07 - Sep 16
How urterly predictable that we would lose and the manager play an understrength side

Norwichbeater added 21:10 - Sep 16
Bromleybloo I agree it is all about a win on saturday. A couple of points though, one thing that worries me though is lambert stating we are playing 4 3 3 this season. That is fine to have that as main formation but surely we need to change depending on how a game is going and how well the oppositions tactics are working. I hope we do have a plan b. Sometimes u need 2 strikers. Anyway roll on Saturday 🤟

DifferentGravy added 21:17 - Sep 16
Rested a few players, lost (predictably)to a premier league team.... no embarrassment and no bother.

We all want promotion......on to Saturday

budgieplucker added 21:21 - Sep 16
Think the performance puts a lot into perspective. Fulham had nearly 70% of the possession. Whilst the hold the mantle of being a Premiership side they still have to earn that having only just been repromoted to the top flight and completely outclassed by Arsenal on Saturday.

Nolan and Dozzell again looked to be our better players and looked comfortable in this company and understandably substituted in the second half to keep fresh for Saturday. Trouble is when you try to play football against a side that can play a much better possession game than you, you will look poor and have to have more of combative style to shake the other side up.

Dobra, clearly a good young talent was completely shown to be out of his depth, countless times he ran into trouble and was careless with the ball. I think it was unfair to keep him on for the whole match. Hawkins showed glimpses of being able to provide something different but it just didn’t work tonight, it would be a bit unfair criticising him and need to reserve judgement until he has got mire match fitness and sharpness.

We were credited with one shot on target all match right at the end and then I would have hardly called that a shot.

Apart from the frustration of conceding the goal and possibly arguably Donacien should have picked up Mitrovic, I thought Wilson, Nsiala and Donacien put up a fair performance. Kenlock completely out of his depth.

I expected more from Huws who we know is a good technician and should be able to hold his own in this company. His first touch was very poor tonight and when a wide gap opened up in front of goal in the first half he should have at least hit the target rather than the very wayward Skuse type effort.

This standard is also just a bit above Edwards who was another really poor performer tonight.

Downes and Norwood came on and gave us a few slivers of bite and urgency which had been sadly lacking.

Cornell made a couple of good saves but still at times looks like a rabbit in the headlights when some goals are scored although can’t blame him for the goal tonight. Looks like he could be another Laurie Sivell a brave keeper but at 5’8” doesn’t look imposing and looks vulnerable (Cornell supposed to be over 6ft just but to me doesn’t look much taller than Laurie Sivell).

All I can say is I am grateful I didn’t have to go to Portman Road to watch it!!!! Frustrating to see other lower league teams putting up a real fight and providing frights for the big boys.

Won’t fault any of the players for effort but just feel we went out of the cup without a whimper.

BangaloreBlues added 21:24 - Sep 16
Both sides made many changes.
Two leagues below and we only lost 0-1.
I'll take the positives as I always do, and that's a good "result".
There's a different feel this season. Last season it was "we're going straight back up". Now that expectation is no longer apparent, I think the team will perform better without that pressure.

ThaiBlue added 21:24 - Sep 16
Good run out for the lads.cornell and wilson very good.would have been nice to have had a shot on target and make there keeper work a bit more.Rovers here we come.

ThaiBlue added 21:24 - Sep 16
Good run out for the lads.cornell and wilson very good.would have been nice to have had a shot on target and make there keeper work a bit more.Rovers here we come.

unknown100 added 21:27 - Sep 16
A weakened town team against a premier league team full of debutants, I think 1-0s a good result and a hammering could have really been a moral destroyer so well done town :) can’t say we were expected to win, held your own!

dirtydingusmagee added 22:04 - Sep 16
another cup match just used to give players a run out, .promotion being the aim , been saying that for years, but going the wrong way. IMO we should give it our best shot in all games and try to develop a winning mentality. We never threatened Fulham . In the end the scoreline wasnt embarrassing, and hopefully we havnt picked up any injuries , thats about it .

afcfee added 22:11 - Sep 16
I think we win if we go full strength or at least good chance so hats off to PL on tactics at least. Keeper made a quality double save will it be enough to claim a place though. Nolan was stand out player first half for me great pressing and decent passing. Downes looks like got even better could maybe and and I'm sure prem teams would of been watching, how he uses his body is very clever can create space without touching ball also some nice tackles. If we can keep him and Nolan and Bishop midfield 3 would be my pick. Hawkins looked lost but did have a few better moments 2nd half. Norwood looked just as useless and not sure how he fits in system. Rather drinian or sears up top for me.

GiveusaWave added 22:30 - Sep 16
Hate to say it but cups aren't important this season.....promotion is....

Bert added 22:42 - Sep 16
Neither team fielded their ‘best’ side so on paper Fulham should have won by a bigger margin. Good that almost all the squad have had a competitive game so let’s field 11 players on Saturday, barring those injured, who are likely to be our best eleven to beat League One opposition.

KiwiBlue2 added 22:56 - Sep 16
Bontcho - I agree entirely and was hoping that we bowed out after a decent performance in this one.

aas1010 added 23:45 - Sep 16
Need a known proven striker

runaround added 07:29 - Sep 17
Not going to lose any sleep over this result. It was the middle game of 3 games in 7 days. The 2 league games are much more important. After 6 months inactivity we have a squad with lots of niggles, injuries & players lacking match sharpness so I think the team lineup tonight was the right thing to do even though it meant effectively we were going to lose. Even with our best players fit & available beating Fulham would have been a tough task so whilst naturally disappointed we lost I am not going to complain

Steve_ITFC_Sweden added 07:44 - Sep 17
We seem to be able to put out two full sides of fairly average and similar ability. PL is going to have selection problems when everyone is fit (if they ever are): Dozzel and/or Downes? Drinan and/or Norwood and/or Hawkins? Sears/Edwards/Huws/Judge in or out? Chambers/Toto/Wilson? [Woolfenden must play] Etc. I think some of the criticism PL got for chopping and changing came from the situation where we have a lot of players at much the same level, and often no-one (with a couple of exceptions) stands out that much to be an obvious choice over someone else. But while I accept some changes will be made, I hope PL basically sticks to the new idea of a more settled team.

tractorboybig added 08:39 - Sep 17
not worried about result or competition BUT three years ago we would be beating Fulham first a third string outclasses us...o how far we have fallen

Bluearmy_81 added 09:10 - Sep 17
Pretty happy with 0-1. Yes it's being happy with a defeat at Poetmanroad but come on, we are Ipswich Town and they are Fulham...

Bluearmy_81 added 09:11 - Sep 17

Orraman added 11:02 - Sep 17
@Budgieplucker.....excellent assessment of the strengths and weaknesses of the players involved.

dirtydingusmagee added 15:30 - Sep 17
Bluearmy81 ,did you really post that ? blimey ! happy days lol.

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