|Burton Albion 0 v 1 Ipswich Town|
SkyBet League One
Saturday, 16th January 2021 Kick-off 15:00
Burton Albion 0-1 Ipswich Town - Match Report
Saturday, 16th Jan 2021 17:07
Mark McGuinness’s first career goal saw the Blues to a hard-fought 1-0 victory against bottom club Burton Albion at the Pirelli Stadium. The centre-half nodded home a deflected Alan Judge cross in the 73rd minute following a free-kick with sub Aaron Drinan having hit the bar four minutes earlier.
Town boss Paul Lambert, who was back in the dugout but sitting on the bench for the most part, made six changes with Tomas Holy, Toto Nsiala, Flynn Downes, Teddy Bishop, Gwion Edwards and James Norwood starting XI.
Holy replaced Dai Cornell in goal with the Welshman on the bench. At the back, Nsiala came in for Luke Woolfenden, who was also among the subs, alongside McGuinness.
In midfield, Downes, a half-time sub in last week’s 3-2 home loss to Swindon, returned in the three alongside Andre Dozzell and back-from-injury Bishop ahead of them, while Judge moved to wide right.
It was the first time the all-academy trio had started a competitive match in the same midfield three having impressed in the pre-season friendly against West Ham.
Edwards, still joint-top scorer with five goals along with the still absent Jon Nolan despite having been out since November, was wide on the left with Armando Dobra not involved.
Norwood, who scored his first league goal of the season having come off the bench last week, is the central striker, while Drinan dropped to the bench alongside Oli Hawkins, back after missing out last weekend with a minor knee problem. Kayden Jackson and Emyr Huws, who both started last week, missed out on a place in the squad and both watched from the stands.
The Brewers, playing their first home game since Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink’s return as manager, made two changes with midfielder Ciaran Gilligan and striker Charles Vernam coming into the side for midfielder Colin Daniel and defender Kieran Wallace, who were both missing from the 18. Ex-Blues striker Luke Varney was among the subs.
The game kicked-off after both teams had taken a knee in support of Black Lives Matter but was stop-start in the early minutes due to injuries to Burton players. On seven Jon-Joe O’Toole was replaced by Michael Bostwick.
Neither keeper was tested in a battling first 15 minutes as the teams sought to gain control. Burton had come closest to creating a chance when Lucas Akins crossed from the right but the ball scuffed off Ryan Edwards’s head and away from goal.
Town began to see more of the ball in the Burton half as the game passed the 20-minute mark but without causing Ben Garratt in the Brewers goal a problem with an easily caught Judge cross his only involvement.
The Blues were looking forward earlier than has usually been the case with Norwood looking to make runs in behind.
On 29 Chambers was booked for a challenge on Bostwick, although having appeared to make no contact with the home substitute who had leapt somewhat dramatically in the air.
Four minutes later, Vernam broke towards the byline on the left of the box and Nsiala slid in the divert behind. The Burton man required treatment before continuing.
Town continued to see most of the ball and on 38 Edwards, lively on his return, crossed from the left but was unable to find a team-mate.
The Blues eventually won a corner from which Nsiala rose highest but was unable to get enough on the ball to send it towards goal due to a foul, according to the centre-half. Referee Neil Hair wasn’t interested.
Burton skipper John Brayford appealed that he’d been fouled by Dozzell as a subsequent corner looped past him at the other end but again the official paid no heed to the appeals.
Burton should have gone ahead in the 44th minute when Ryan Edwards’s deflected cross looped over Holy, struck the bar and fell to Vernam, who seemed certain to score until Blues skipper Chambers threw himself into the path of his effort at goal to divert it behind.
After three additional minutes referee Hair brought a scruffy half in which chances had been very rare at both ends.
The standout opportunity - in truth the only clear-cut chance - was Vernam’s at the end which Chambers had blocked superbly.
The Blues had failed to give home keeper Garratt anything to do with one or two crosses from either flank and Nsiala’s header their most dangerous moments.
Town had, however, been less ponderous in possession than in recent games with more of the match being played in the opposition half, while Chambers and Nsiala had often looked to play early balls forward for Norwood to chase.
Returning trio Edwards, Downes and Bishop had shown glimpses of their best form but without having been able to hurt the opposition.
Five minutes after the restart Edwards almost sent Norwood away on the break, however, a Burton toe cut out the Welshman’s pass as Town counter-attacked with the home side having started the second half positively.
In the 55th minute Norwood was booked for coming back on to the field having been treated for an injury without being waved on, although the striker claimed, somewhat vociferously, that the fourth official had told him to go on.
Town began to start showing some threat, a neat interchange on the right involving Dozzell and Bishop saw Judge into space but the Irishman’s cross was blocked. Moments later, Norwood was swapped for Drinan.
The game was beginning to get a little more open and just after the hour mark, Joe Powell played in Akins, who tried to round Holy, however the Czech stuck out one of his long legs to take the ball away from the striker. From the resultant corner, Brayford was booked for a dive having again claimed a penalty after a tangle with Dozzell.
The Burton skipper shot well wide from 20 yards in the 64th minute with the Brewers having been the better side in the second half.
Town went very close to going in front in the 67th minute. Chambers turned away from his man on the right in the aftermath of a Dozzell corner from the left which like too many of Town’s flag-kicks had hit the first man. The skipper’s cross was flicked on by Bishop and Drinan looped a header over Garratt but off the bar and behind. The Blues were beginning to look the more threatening of the two teams.
On 71, Judge was found as he broke towards the byline by Chambers’s throw but the former Irish international’s cross failed to find a Town player.
A minute later, Hawkins took over from Bishop, who will have been happy enough with his return, having just won a free-kick just outside the area to the left.
And when play restarted, the Blues took the lead. Dozzell tapped the ball back to Judge from the free-kick, his cross caught a Burton foot on its way and McGuinness nodded his first senior goal past Garratt and into the net.
The Blues had begun to get on top after making a slow start to the second half, although the goal was their first shot on target.
Owen Gallacher was booked for a foul on Judge on the right in the 76th minute and from the free-kick the Blues went close to a second. The unlucky Drinan, who is still to score a senior goal for Town, stooped to head goalwards by Garratt somehow bundled it away.
Burton switched Powell and Vernam for new signings Sean Clare and Josh Parker, then on 79 Town replaced Edwards with Freddie Sears.
There was a scare for the Blues seconds later when the otherwise solid Nsiala inadvertently mis-kicked a cross from the left towards his own goal but Holy, who like Garratt had had a quiet afternoon, quickly got down to his left to save.
Sub Parker should have done better in the 81st minute when Akins pulled the ball back from the left but the debutant frontman blazed over from just inside the area.
Dozzell was booked for a cynical foul on Akins in the 83rd minute as Burton looked to get forward, then two minutes later Drinan joined him for a foul on Gallacher, who needed to be replaced by Indiana Vassilev having suffered a knock in the challenge.
Town saw out the final scheduled minutes and an additional four without much trouble to confirm a hard-fought three points.
The game was far from a free-flowing classic and Burton will rue not taking their chance just before half-time.
The Brewers began the second half strongly but Town, who were far from brilliant, gradually began to take control and were starting to look the more threatening side, Drinan having hit the bar, when McGuinness reacted quickest to the deflection on Judge’s cross to head into the net.
The win, completing the Blues' first double of the season, sees Town move up a place to seventh, one point behind Charlton in sixth with two games in hand with the Addicks on the same points as fifth-placed Peterborough and Doncaster in fourth with Posh having played the same as Town and Rovers one fewer.
Next up for the Blues are back-to-back home matches against Peterborough next Saturday and Sunderland the following Tuesday.
Burton: Garratt, Brayford (c), Edwards, Powell (Clare 76), Hemmings, Akins, Carter, Vernam (Parker 76), O’Toole (Bostwick 7,) Gallacher (Vassilev 86), Gilligan. Unused: O'Hara, Varney, Hart.
Ipswich: Holy, Chambers (c), Nsiala, McGuinness, Ward, Dozzell, Downes, Bishop (Hawkins 72), Judge, Edwards (Sears 79), Norwood (Drinan 59). Unused: Cornell, Woolfenden, Kenlock, Lankester, Sears. Referee: Neil Hair (Cambridgeshire).
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