|Ipswich Town 2 v 0 Accrington Stanley|
SkyBet League One
Saturday, 17th October 2020 Kick-off 15:00
Ipswich Town 2-0 Accrington Stanley - Match Report
Saturday, 17th Oct 2020 17:01
Second-half goals from Gwion Edwards and Freddie Sears saw top-of-the-table Town to a 2-0 victory over Accrington Stanley at Portman Road. The Blues, who started without an out-and-out central striker, were disappointing in the first half but improved after the break with Edwards opening the scoring in the 54th minute and Sears sealing a third successive 2-0 League One home win on 71.
Sears returned to the Town starting XI in place of Oli Hawkins in an otherwise unchanged side.
Hawkins, who has started the last three league games, missed out on a place in the 18 having almost certainly picked up a knock.
Sears started on the left of the front three with Gwion Edwards moving out to the right and Alan Judge playing as a false nine in the absence of out-and-out strikers Hawkins, James Norwood, Aaron Drinan and Kayden Jackson, who was also missing from the 18, presumably due to a fitness concern.
Myles Kenlock again started at left-back in the absence of Stephen Ward, who is still out with an achilles injury.
Jon Nolan was back after his calf problem and on the bench, alongside recent loan signings Mark McGuinness and Keanan Bennetts, and young striker Tyreece Simpson.
Accrington also made one change with defender Michael Nottingham handed his full debut following his recent move from Blackpool for forward Ryan Cassidy.
Ahead of kick-off, both teams took a knee in support of Black Lives Matter with the visitors hitting the first shot of the game in the third minute, Joe Pritchard’s effort from the edge of the box flying wide of Tomas Holy’s right post.
Town first threatened in the eighth minute when Judge broke away from his man on the right and sent over a cross but it was too close to Stanley keeper Toby Savin as Sears came in for it at the far post.
More of the early stages of the game had been played in Town’s half with Accrington seeing most of the ball.
But in the 14th minute they broke following a visitors attack and Judge played a great ball into the path of Sears who burst away from Mark Hughes to find himself one-on-one with Savin. However, the keeper was able to block. A minute later, Holy saved Matt Butcher’s low effort from the edge of the area.
There was a scare for the Blues, who were struggling to settle into their new system, in the 19th minute when Holy came well out of his goal to clear but the ball cannoned back off Andre Dozzell and Colby Bishop tried to hook it towards goal, but fortunately it ran harmlessly wide.
In the 25th minute Tariq Uwakwe curled a low free-kick goalwards which Holy did well to palm round his post low to his right. Following the resultant corner, the ball dropped for Pritchard but the midfielder volleyed wide.
On 28, Edwards did well down the right and sent over a low cross which the Stanley backline failed to clear, allowing Sears to hit a low shot which deflected behind off the keeper's feet.
Town continued to miss the presence of focal point frontman Hawkins and all too often were guilty of giving the ball away in their own half.
On 40 Accrington skipper Seamus Conneely shot only just over from 25 yards. A minute later, Pritchard curled a strike over.
Accrington were on top as half-time approached and as the period moved into one additional minute, Conneely hit a deflected effort wide.
Town had toiled for much of the half, finding it hard going without the presence of an out-and-out central striker both when they were working their way forward and when forced to clear their lines by Accrington’s determined pressing with Holy’s long kicks invariably picked up by a visiting player.
Despite this, the Blues had had the best two chances of the half with Sears likely to feel he ought to have taken the first when sent through by Judge.
At the other end, despite much of the game being played in the Town half, Accrington had only really threatened via efforts from distance.
Neither side made a change of personnel ahead of the second half but the Blues moved Sears into the middle, Edwards to the left, from where he scored two goals last week at Blackpool, and Judge to the right.
The change looked to have some impact with Town seeing more of the ball in the Stanley half and passing it around at a greater tempo. On 51 Bishop turned away from his man midway inside the Accrington half before hitting a powerful 25-yard strike which flew not too far wide of Savin’s right post.
And in the 54th minute Town took the lead via Edwards’s fifth goal of the season, more than anyone else in the division.
After a spell of Blues possession in the Accrington half, Dozzell played forward to Sears just outside the box and the former West Ham man looked to play a pass between the two centre-halves for the Welshman, the ball catching one of the defenders on its way through to Edwards, who took it on to the right before cutting a low shot across Savin and into the net.
The visitors looked to get back on terms and in the 60th minute Nottingham saw what looked to be a goal-bound strike blocked.
Accrington continued to take the game to Town and on 67 Conneely hit a low strike from distance which Holy did well to save down to his left with Kenlock clearing the loose ball.
Town were looking a threat every time they broke forward, albeit without having been able to create a serious opportunity.
However, in the 70th minute, after Jon Russell had hit another shot from distance for Accrington straight at Holy, the Blues doubled their lead via Sears’s first league goal of the campaign, his third in all competitions and his first since the opening day Carabao Cup victory over Bristol Rovers.
Stanley defender Ross Sykes, red-carded in the fixture between the sides at the Wham Stadium last season, played a loose pass midway inside his side’s half to the left. Judge seized upon it and played it forward for Sears, who took it into the area before deftly clipping over Savin and into the net.
In the 74th minute Huws, who had grown into the game in the second half, made way for Nolan.
On 80 Cameron Burgess was yellow-carded for a foul on Chambers, who joined him in the book for dissent.
A minute later, a Town corner from the right struck a Stanley defender and bounced to Savin with Bishop, who was completing a full game for only the fifth time in his senior career, just unable to get a touch on it.
Judge made way for home debutant Bennetts in the 84th minute, the on-loan Borussia Mönchengladbach winger soon getting into the action, cutting in from the left but scuffing his shot to Savin.
In injury time Simpson took over from Sears, who will have been delighted to find the net having been given his chance down the middle after the break.
Town might have made it three in injury time when Dozzell broke forward and fed Bennetts to his right but the loanee’s effort was saved. Simpson cut the loose ball back to Dozzell, whose strike was blocked.
Town were much better after the break and once they had got their noses in front the win never looked in question with Edwards and Sears both taking their chances confidently.
The win sees the Blues stay top of League One having won five and drawn one of their first six league games for the first time since the famous 1980/81 campaign.
Town will be looking to continue their excellent early season form when they travel to seventh-placed Doncaster on Tuesday with another away trip, to Lincoln, who are third, next Saturday.
Town: Holy, Chambers (c), Nsiala, Wilson, Kenlock, Dozzell, Huws (Nolan 74), Bishop, Judge (Bennetts 84), Sears (Simpson 90), Edwards. Unused: Cornell, Woolfenden, McGuinness, Nolan, Lankester.
Accrington: Savin, Nottingham, Hughes, Burgess, Sykes, Butcher, Russell, Pritchard, Uwakwe, Bishop, Conneely (c) (Cassidy 74). Unused: Baxter, Allen, Barclay, Rodgers, Scully, Mohammed. Referee: Robert Lewis (Shrewsbury).
Photo: Matchday Images
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