|Ipswich Town 2 v 0 Rochdale|
SkyBet League One
Saturday, 26th September 2020 Kick-off 15:00
Ipswich Town 2-0 Rochdale - Match Report
Saturday, 26th Sep 2020 17:04
Second-half goals from Teddy Bishop and Gwion Edwards saw Town to a 2-0 victory over Rochdale, their third successive win by the same scoreline, as they maintained their position at the top of the League One table. Both teams had had chances in the first half with full league debutant Oli Hawkins going close on three occasions but it took until the 53rd minute for Bishop to open the scoring with Edwards sealing the three points six minutes later.
Hawkins’s inclusion in the starting XI was the only change from the team which began last week’s 2-0 win at Bristol Rovers.
Hawkins, whose only previous Town start was in the Carabao Cup tie against Fulham, came into the side for James Norwood, who dropped to the bench.
Again among the subs was Flynn Downes, while there was no place in the 18 for new loan signing Mark McGuinness or Luke Woolfenden, Kayden Jackson, Cole Skuse and Alan Judge, who were all back in training this week after knocks.
For Rochdale, playing their first ever game at Portman Road, skipper Eoghan O’Connell recovered from a knock to take his place at the heart of their defence. Jake Beesley, the son of ex-Blues kit man Paul, who signed from Solihull Moors earlier in the week, started up front.
The two teams took the knee in support of Black Lives Matter prior to kick-off with rain falling steadily and the wind swirling, although not as strongly as earlier in the day.
Town started on the front foot with Rochdale and on five Hawkins headed well over from a Stephen Ward cross from the left and with referee John Busby having blown his whistle for a push.
The visitors claimed a penalty in the sixth minute when Andre Dozzell chested a loose ball back towards Tomas Holy after the keeper had failed to deal with a corner from the right.
Referee Busby wasn’t interested and Town broke quickly after Teddy Bishop had cleared as he was fouled but Jon Nolan failed to find Freddie Sears with a return pass. Once the ball had gone out of play, Jimmy Ryan was booked for the earlier foul on Bishop.
There was further danger for the Blues in the 10th minute as they repeatedly failed to clear their lines inside the box and the ball fell to Alex Newby, who would have scored b for Toto Nsiala’s challenge.
Rochdale were on top and in the 12th minute, with the rain falling more heavily, Aaron Morley shot into the side-netting from the edge of the area.
Town would have been ahead a minute later but for a brilliant save by Dale keeper Gavin Bazunu. Bishop crossed from the right and 6ft 5in tall Hawkins climbed high to power a goalbound header which the Bazunu, an 18-year-old Irish U21 international on loan from Manchester City, somehow managed to bat away from his goal to his right.
Hawkins went even closer in the 16th minute when he turned and shot from the 18-yard line leaving Bazunu standing as the ball struck the outside of his right post.
Rochdale were next the threaten, Matthew Lund crossing from the right but just in front of Oliver Rathbone and Beesley as they slid in inside the six-yard box.
A Town spell of pressure followed and in the 26th minute Hawkins again went close to opening his Blues goals account. Ward crossed from the right and the former Portsmouth man headed down back towards the corner of goal but without too much power and Dale captain O’Connell was was able to stop it in front of the line and clear.
As the game passed the half hour mark the visitors were again seeing most of the ball and on 31, following a short corner on the left, Rathbone struck a shot from the edge of the box which only just flew over Holy’s cross bar, Town having once again failed to clear their lines on several occasions prior to the flag-kick.
On 36 Wilson found Chambers on the right with a cross-field pass, the skipper sent the ball into the box and it fell to Nolan on the edge of the area from where the midfielder struck a powerful low effort which the impressive Bazunu again did well to save and claim at the second attempt.
Four minutes later, Sears crossed back in from the right and the ball was headed out from under the bar by Jimmy Keohane having beaten Bazunu.
In the 41st minute the action moved back to the other end. Keohane crossed from the right and the ball slid off Newby’s head and wide when he might well have hit the target.
That an entertaining end-to-end half finished without a goal having been scored was a surprise with both teams having had opportunities.
Town, and specifically Hawkins, had come closest to breaking the deadlock but Rochdale had given as good as they’d got and at times had been on top in conditions which had led to errors from both sides as they sought to play their passing football, sometimes in dangerous areas.
Three minutes after the restart Sears scraped a shot from distance wide, then O’Connell was booked for felling Bishop just outside the box as the midfielder was making one if his trademark runs forward.
Sears took the free-kick but hit the wall with his initial effort before his rebound reached Hawkins, who was in an offside position.
The Blues had started the half on top and in the 53rd minute they took the lead. Ward played the ball into Hawkins’s feet from the left and the striker turned it into the path of Bishop, who ran across his man and slid it back across Bazunu and into the net from 10 yards.
It was Bishop’s second goal in three games within a fortnight, both at home, having had to wait since November 2014 since his first.
Having finally got their noses in front, the Blues didn’t have to wait very long for their second of the match.
In the 59th minute, after Ward had cut back from the left to Bishop, a Sears effort deflected across the face of goal to Edwards, who shot low into the net at the far post for his second of the season.
Coincidentally, the Welshman’s first of the campaign came in the 2-0 victory over Wigan a fortnight ago, again following an opening goal from Bishop.
Rochdale swapped Ryan for Stephen Dooley on 63, then Nolan was booked two minutes later for a foul on Rathbone, before the Blues switched goalscorer Bishop for Downes in the 68th minute.
Six minutes later Edwards sent over a dangerous low ball from the right which somehow avoided everyone in the area, before Rochdale threatened for the first time since the break.
Nsiala had given the ball away midway inside the Town half but eventually got back to slide in on Beesley as the striker seemed destined to net a debut goal. Chambers hooked the loose ball away from another Dale player before Nsiala blocked a strike from Matty Done. Moments later Newby had the ball in the net but clearly having strayed offside.
Town replaced Hawkins, who can be happy with his full league debut and was unfortunate not to score at least once in the first half, and Sears with Norwood and Jack Lankester in the 75th minute.
The Blues weren’t far from a third in the 81st minute when Lankester’s cross was looped up in the air and only just over the bar by Done.
Beesley shot straight at Holy on 87 with the visitors taking the game to Town in the closing stages. A minute later, the striker and Morley were swapped for Fabio Tavares and Ethan Brierley.
As the game moved into five minutes of additional time, sub Tavares struck a cross-shot from the left which looped beyond the far post but Blues keeper Holy wasn’t to be denied his third successive League One clean sheet and his fourth in a row in all competitions.
Town deserved their victory having been very much the better side in the second half virtually from the whistle.
Having gone in front via the well-worked goal finished by Bishop, Edwards’s second coming so soon afterwards all but sealed the win by the hour mark.
Rochdale, who in the first half looked a level above any of the Blues’ previous League One opponents but lacked a cutting edge, never looked like getting back into the game despite continuing to push until the end.
Town top the table from Hull City on goal difference with third-placed Doncaster Rovers two points behind.
The Blues are next in action a week today when they face the MK Dons, who were beaten 2-0 at Crewe today, at Stadium MK.
Town: Holy, Chambers (c), Nsiala, Wilson, Ward, Dozzell, Nolan, Bishop (Downes 68), Sears (Lankester 75), Edwards, Hawkins (Norwood 75). Unused: Cornell, Norwood, Donacien, Lankester, Kenlock, Huws.
Rochdale: Bazunu, McShane, O’Connell (c), Morley (Brierley 88), Newby, Beesley (Tavares 88), Keohane, Rathbone, Done, Ryan (Dooley 63), Lund. Unused: Lynch, McNulty, Hopper, Dunne. Referee: John Busby (Oxfordshire).
Photo: Matchday Images
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