|Ipswich Town 1 v 0 Gillingham|
SkyBet League One
Tuesday, 27th October 2020 Kick-off 19:00
Ipswich Town 1-0 Gillingham - Match Report
Tuesday, 27th Oct 2020 21:01
Teddy Bishop’s goal three minutes from time saw Town to a 1-0 victory over Gillingham at Portman Road. The Blues had had plenty of chances in the first half, before the Gills improved after the break but Bishop’s fourth goal of the campaign claimed the points for Town, who move up to third in League One.
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.
Jack 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.
Nervous-looking 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.
Gillingham started the second half on the front foot but without troubling their former keeper Tomas Holy unduly.
Four minutes after the restart ex-Blues loan winger Graham sent a free-kick deep into the Sir Bobby Robson Stand.
Just before the hour mark another former Blues loanee Samuel found Alex MacDonald who struck his shot against the grounded Chambers, who had got an important touch on the cross, when he really should have scored.
Town began to find their feet again after a slow start to the second period and in the 63rd minute Bishop struck a powerful effort from the edge of the box which Walsh tipped over.
Within a minute, Bishop found Woolfenden in a dangerous position in the box. The defender deftly took it away from his man but shot just wide.
But the Gills were still threatening and on 67 Zech Medley’s shot deflected off Chambers into Holy’s arms. A minute later, Town swapped Sears for Armando Dobra.
Town appeared certain to score in the 69th minute when Hawkins got to the byline on the right and played the ball low across the six-yard box for Edwards who looked set to score his sixth of the season until Ryan Jackson remarkably slid in and somehow took it away from the Welshman. The Blues’ frustrated penalty appeals were ambitious and fruitless.
McGuinness headed a Dozzell corner over in the 76th minute, before Lankester was replaced by Emyr Huws. Gillingham swapped Jackson for Scott Robertson.
Holy batted away a Samuel strike from the edge of the box in the 80th minute after John Akinde had broken away from Woolfenden before being halted in his tracks by the defender - perhaps not entirely legally - just outside the area.
Town were by now camped on the edge of the Gills’ box. On 84 Edwards hit a shot which Walsh did well to push past his left post. Following the corner, Huws headed wide from the edge of the box.
And in the 87th minute the deadlock was broken. Edwards nodded a Chambers cross from the right out to Ward to his left and the Irishman teed-up Bishop to waft a shot past Walsh to his left and into the net for his fourth of the season.
A minute after the Town goal, Gills boss Steve Evans was booked for dissent and goalscorer Bishop for time-wasting.
Town swapped Bishop, who had been undergoing treatment, for Keanan Bennetts in the final minute of scheduled time, then as the game moved into five additional minutes the Kent team switched skipper Kyle Dempsey for Vadaine Oliver.
Almost immediately, the sub hit the post with a header, a corner from the right having made its way to him at the back of the box.
It was a lucky escape for the Blues who were forced to withstand some pressure from the visitors in time added on but were able to see out the remaining minutes to continue their 100 per cent home record and fourth League One home clean sheet of the season.
Having dominated the first half, Town were less impressive immediately after the break but got back on top and had had a number of chances to go in front prior to Bishop’s goal well-worked and well-taken goal.
The Blues are in home action again on Saturday when Crewe Alexandra visit Portman Road.
Town: Holy, Chambers (c), Woolfenden, McGuinness, Ward, Dozzell, Bishop (Bennetts 90), Lankester (Huws 77), Sears (Dobra 68), Edwards, Hawkins. Unused: Cornell, Nsiala, Kenlock, Simpson.
Gillingham: Bonham (Walsh 33), Jackson (Robertson 76), Tucker, Maghoma, Medley, McKenzie, Dempsey (c) (Oliver 90), MacDonald, Graham, Samuel, Akinde. Unused: Eccles, Woods, Willock, Coyle. Referee: Antony Coggins (Bicester).
Photo: Matchday Images
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