Ipswich Town 0-0 Gillingham - Half-Time
Tuesday, 27th Oct 2020 19:57
Town’s home game against Gillingham remains 0-0 at half-time despite the Blues dominating and Jack Lankester hitting the bar.
On-loan Arsenal man Mark McGuinness was handed his Town debut, Luke Woolfenden his first League One appearance of the season and Freddie Sears a return to the side as the Blues made three changes from the team which lost 1-0 at Lincoln on Saturday.
McGuinness and Woolfenden formed a new central defensive partnership with Toto Nsiala dropping to the bench and James Wilson out of the 18.
Lankester moved into a free advanced central midfield role having played wide on the right on Saturday with Jon Nolan suspended for three games following his red card at Sincil Bank.
Sears was on the left of the front three with Gwion Edwards on the right and Oli Hawkins in the centre.
Gillingham included former Blues loanees Jordan Graham and Dominic Samuel in their starting XI.
Sears struck the first shot of the game in the ninth minute from 20 yards but the ball deflected wide.
The Blues, with assistant boss Stuart Taylor in charge in manager Paul Lambert’s absence, dominated the ball and looked the more dangerous side in the opening minutes, albeit without creating many chances.
In the 15th minute Andre Dozzell curled a free-kick wide after he, Lankester and skipper Luke Chambers had all argued their own case for taking it.
Sears had the ball in the net in the 19th minute but with referee Antony Coggins having blown his whistle for a foul.
The former Colchester man had been played in by a ball over the top, Gills keeper Jack Bonham came out to collect but collided with defender Christian Maghoma and dropped it for the striker, However, Coggins appeared to indicate that he felt Sears had committed a foul, which looked harsh on the Town number 20.
Bonham received treatment for the knock he received in the incident but was able to continue.
Lankester went within a couple of inches of his first goal since January 2019 in the 24th minute when he stuck out a leg to divert a Chambers header back into the box towards goal and saw it strike the bar and fall safely for the visitors.
Three minutes later, Rob McKenzie was booked for a foul on Edwards as the Welshman broke towards halfway.
In the 33rd minute Gills keeper Bonham was forced off having received treatment again for what appeared to be a wrist injury presumably suffered in the earlier clash.
League debutant Joe Walsh, whose most recent of his five previous senior outings was in the EFL Trophy tie at Portman Road last month, replaced the former Bristol Rovers man in goal and with his first touch picked up a back pass just inside his area. The free-kick was played to Sears but he scuffed it wide.
Town went close again in the 40th minute when a patient spell of passing ended with Edwards breaking away from his man on the right of the box and cutting back to Sears, whose low shot was deflected behind off a couple of Gills players.
From the corner, Hawkins headed off a defender and over with the subsequent flag-kick coming to nothing.
In five minutes of injury time, Lankester took a dip from 25 yards but scraped his effort wide.
The half had been all Town - as the 75-25 possession stats illustrated - and after an unthreatening start had created more than enough opportunities to go in front.
Lankester went very close when he hit the bar, Sears looked unlucky with his disallowed effort and was unfortunate with his later chance which was diverted wide, while Dozzell wasn’t far away with his free-kick.
More of the same after the break and the Blues are likely to continue their 100 per cent home league record.
Town: Holy, Chambers (c), Woolfenden, McGuinness, Ward, Dozzell, Bishop, Lankester, Sears, Edwards, Hawkins. Subs: Cornell, Bennetts, Nsiala, Kenlock, Dobra, Huws, Simpson.
Gillingham: Bonham (Walsh 33), Jackson, Tucker, Maghoma, Medley, McKenzie, Dempsey (c), MacDonald, Graham, Samuel, Akinde. Subs: Eccles, Robertson, Woods, Willock, Coyle, Oliver. Referee: Antony Coggins (Bicester).
Photo: Matchday Images
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