|Ipswich Town 2 v 1 Burton Albion|
SkyBet League One
Tuesday, 15th December 2020 Kick-off 19:45
Ipswich Town 2-1 Burton Albion - Match Report
Tuesday, 15th Dec 2020 21:55
Emyr Huws’s first league goal in more than three years saw Town to a 2-1 victory over League One’s bottom side Burton Albion at Portman Road. Keanan Bennetts gave the Blues the lead in only the fourth minute but Joe Powell hit back for the Brewers on 22 with Huws heading in a scruffy rebound 10 minutes from time to hand the points to the Blues, who as a result climb to fifth.
Town boss Paul Lambert made three changes with Huws, Bennetts and Oli Hawkins coming into the team for Jack Lankester, Armando Dobra and Jon Nolan.
Nolan suffered an injury in Saturday’s 2-0 defeat to Portsmouth and missed out, while Lankester and Dobra dropped to the bench.
Huws joined Andre Dozzell in the deeper midfield roles with Alan Judge ahead of them and Kayden Jackson on the right and Bennetts on the left with Hawkins the central striker.
Burton made two changes from the team which drew 1-1 away against the MK Dons on Saturday with John-Joe O'Toole in for the suspended Stephen Quinn and Niall Ennis replacing Ciaran Gilligan, who was among the subs.
As on Saturday, 2,000 Blues fans were at Portman Road as they watched their side aim to end a run of three winless home games.
Town got off to the perfect start in the fourth minute when Hawkins won a long ball forward and nodded it to Jackson, who headed on to Bennetts, who took it on into the area before hitting a low shot across Brewers’ keeper Kieran O’Hara and into the net for his first goal in senior football.
It was Town’s first goal against 11 men for more than five games and the first time they had scored first in a fixture since the home win against Crewe, 10 matches ago.
The Blues went close again on eight when Dozzell tricked his way past a defender just outside the area and played a ball into Hawkins, who laid it to Jackson and the former Accrington man hit a shot from the right towards O’Hara’s near post which the keeper did very well to bat behind for the first of two corners.
Following the second flag-kick, the ball eventually reached Bennetts, who struck a curling 25-yarder which only just arced past the keeper’s left post.
The Blues had managed more penalty area action in the opening 10 minutes than they had in the entire 90 against Portsmouth with the goal having given them a significant boost of confidence.
But that didn’t last and Burton started to see more of the ball and in the 22nd minute they levelled with their first serious chance.
After a Mark McGuinness cross-field pass had been cut out, Colin Daniel found space on the left and sent over a low cross which Powell swept into the net through a crowd of players from 10 yards.
Having conceded, Town reverted to the plodding, ponderous passing at the back which has characterised so many of their recent performances.
However, as the game passed the half-hour mark the Blues began to play more of the game further forward and with greater tempo with McGuinness and Luke Woolfenden both taking the ball forward from deep and with the on-loan Arsenal man also pulling off a couple of deft turns.
On 31 Huws battled his way into the box on the left but his stabbed shot failed to test O’Hara who claimed comfortably.
In the 40th minute Woolfenden tried to find Judge with a ball over the top as the Irishman broke into the box and Burton defender Sam Hughes headed down to Bennetts, who twisted and turned just inside the area before hitting a shot which flew not too far wide, despite having undergone treatment for what looked like a groin problem a couple of minutes earlier.
Town were getting back on top but not yet looking as dangerous or playing with the same intensity as they had in the opening 10 minutes.
Referee Darren Bond’s half-time whistle was greeted by muted boos followed by scattered applause by the 2,000 season ticket holders.
The Blues had started like a house on fire by their own recent standards and got their reward when Bennetts netted his goal, although O’Hara may feel he ought to have got down to his low shot more quickly.
However, after the opening 10 minutes Town lost their impetus and conceded another poor goal with Burton carving their way through in a manner similar to Pompey at the weekend.
From there, the Blues returned to their familiar laborious and unproductive passing at the back until the latter stages when they began to show a bit more attacking intent but without finding another opening.
Dobra warmed up on his own during half-time and replaced Bennetts ahead of the second half, the on-loan Borussia Mönchengladbach winger having evidently succumbed to his groin injury.
Three minutes after the restart, a loose ball fell to Hawkins inside the area and the big frontman turned a shot wide off a defender. From the corner, Blues skipper Chambers claimed he’d been hauled to the ground and looked as though he had a case and made that clear to referee Bond.
On 51 Michael Bostwick shot over from distance for Burton before McGuinness was shown the game’s first yellow card for an attempted foul in the build-up as the Brewers broke. A minute later Jackson joined the Irish U21 international in the book for a foul on Bostwick.
In the 55th minute O’Hara failed to hold of a 25-yard Judge shot but Bostwick was first to the rebound with Jackson lurking. Less than a minute later, Judge shot over from just outside the box after the Blues had won the ball back in a dangerous area.
Huws was caught by a late and high challenge by Daniel as he broke forward midway inside the visitors’ half on 57 with the Burton man unsurprisingly shown a yellow card.
The Welshman fortunately recovered from the knock quickly and as the game reached the hour mark hit a powerful low shot straight at O’Hara from Jackson’s cutback from the right.
Town were beginning to threaten more regularly and in the 62nd minute Hawkins knocked down to Judge, who hit a bouncing ball on the turn past O’Hara’s right post.
In the 65th minute Ward hit a shot straight at O’Hara after Dobra had been played in round the back on the left and his low cross had been cleared to the edge of the box.
The game was held up for several minutes on 70 with Niall Ennis requiring treatment after clashing heads with McGuinness in front of the dugouts. The Burton wideman was eventually able to continue.
Judge scraped wide with an overly ambitious effort from 30 yards on 76 with the Blues continuing to push for a second goal but not that convincingly.
However, in the 80th minute, they regained the lead. Judge crossed from the right, Burton failed to clear the high ball with 6ft 5in tall Hawkins making his presence felt and Huws first hit a shot which was blocked then nodded into the net off a defender.
It was a goal as scruffy as they come but Huws wasn’t complaining. It was the Wales international’s first goal of the season and his first in the league since the 3-1 home win against Newcastle in April 2017.
Burton continued their record of having conceded at least one goal in all of their League One second halves this season.
On 86 Bostwick was cautioned for a foul on Judge before Town swapped Jackson, who had required treatment on the pitch, for Aaron Drinan prior to Burton failing to take a golden chance to level for a second time.
Ennis crossed from the right, an off-balance Chambers failed to clear on the edge of the six-yard box and the ball reached Lucas Akins, who somehow lifted the ball over under pressure from Judge and with Dai Cornell in the Town goal advancing.
As the match moved into six minutes of injury time, Burton swapped Steven Lawless for Charles Vernam prior to a melee halfway inside the Brewers’ half.
After Dobra fouled Edwards, who remonstrated with him, the Albanian U21 international was thrown to the floor by Burton skipper John Brayford before most of the rest of the two teams joined in. Eventually order was restored and Dobra, Edwards and Brayford were booked.
Town might have made it 3-1 in the closing moments with Drinan having a shot blocked by O’Hara before Hawkins turned over from close range in the aftermath. For the first time since fans made their return a whistle was met by cheers from the home support with the Blues having ended their three-game home winless run.
While never wholly convincing, Town did enough to claim the three points having created enough opportunities - although mainly half-chances - in the second half with Huws’s scruffy goal perhaps typifying the overall display.
Even then Burton might have grabbed a point and Akins will spend his journey back to Burton wondering how he had missed his late opportunity.
But for Town the victory was probably more important than the performance and with results elsewhere going their way they move up to fifth but level with the three sides above them, including Peterborough in third who they meet at London Road on Saturday, and two points behind leaders Hull City.
Town: Cornell, Chambers (c), Woolfenden, McGuinness, Ward, Dozzell, Huws, Judge, Bennetts (Dobra 46), Jackson (Drinan 88), Hawkins Unused: Holy, Nsiala, Kenlock, McGavin, Lankester.
Burton: O’Hara, Brayford (c), Daniel, Edwards, Bostwick, Powell, Akins, Vernam (Lawless 90), O’Toole, Hughes, Ennis. Unused: Garratt, Wallace, Fox, Vassilev, Gallacher, Gilligan. Referee: Darren Bond (Lancashire).
Photo: Matchday Images
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