Ipswich Town 0-0 Northampton Town - Half-Time
Tuesday, 16th Feb 2021 20:00
Town’s home game against second-bottom Northampton remains 0-0 at half-time with the visitors having had the better of the chances.
Josh Harrop was handed his full debut as Blues boss Paul Lambert made five changes from the team which lost 2-1 at Peterborough a week ago.
Luke Matheson and Myles Kenlock returned as the full-backs with Stephen Ward and Luke Chambers dropping to the bench. Luke Woolfenden and Mark McGuinness continued at centre-half with Tomas Holy in goal.
Flynn Downes skippered from the deeper midfield role with Andre Dozzell and debutant Harrop, one of five loan players in the starting XI, ahead of him with Teddy Bishop and Alan Judge subs having started at London Road.
Troy Parrott was the lone central striker with Freddie Sears on the left and Luke Thomas on the right. James Norwood was on the bench.
Northampton made two changes from the team which lost 2-0 at home to Burton Albion on Saturday with Jack Sowerby and Fraser Horsfall replacing Ryan Watson and Cian Bolger.
The Cobblers made the brighter start with Sam Hoskins hitting a second minute shot straight at Holy from the left of the box.
Northampton, without a goal in their last five games and having scored only one in their last eight, continued to see most of the ball with the Blues struggling to get going.
On 11 a stray Parrott pass was picked up on halfway by Mark Marshall, who played the ball a long way ahead of him as he looked to beat McGuinness in a foot race but Holy was out quickly to clear.
In the 17th minute Sowerby was sent away down the left by Danny Rose and brought the ball into the area before hitting a weak shot which Holy grabbed at the second attempt.
As the game passed the 20-minute mark the Blues finally started to show signs of getting going, Dozzell trying a clever ball into the path of Parrott’s run which was cut out by a Northampton toe on the edge of the box.
In the 26th minute Parrott was caught with a high boot 30 yards out and wasted the free-kick, hitting a shot a long way wide with little power with a cross a better option.
Two minutes later, Bryn Morris got first view of referee Darren Drysdale’s yellow card for a late tackle on Thomas midway inside the visitors’ half towards the right. Harrop curled over a cross and the ball eventually fell to Sears, who looped an effort over the bar.
The Cobblers weren’t too far away from ending their long search for a goal in the 34th minute when Marshall crossed from the right and Sowerby played back to Hoskins breaking into the box but his low strike was blocked by Matheson. The ball was looped back in but McGuinness was fouled.
A minute later following a Northampton corner which Holy had punched clear under pressure, Marshall struck a low 20-yard shot which was also blocked. Town were again leaving their front three across the halfway line from opposition corners with Harrop also outside the area.
The Cobblers, with caretaker-manager Jon Brady periodically shouting instructions loudly from the press box, went even closer in the 42nd minute when Marshall fed Peter Kioso on the right of the box from where the overlapping full-back struck a powerful effort at Holy’s near post which the keeper palmed on to the post and across the face of goal to relative safety.
Two minutes later, Marshall, whose pace had caused Town problems all half, was found breaking away on the Northampton right following a Town corner but chose to shoot when a cross was the better option and dragged well wide.
As the game moved into a single minute of additional time, Woolfenden was booked for a foul on Rose.
The visitors will have left the field feeling that they should have ended their goal drought and claimed the lead having had all the half’s chances, two of which might well have been put away, Kioso’s late shot which hit the woodwork and Hoskins’s effort which was blocked by Matheson.
Town had shown little all half aside from winning a handful of free-kicks in dangerous areas but which came to very little, as has so often been the case of late, and once again went a full 45 minutes without registering a shot on target.
There's little doubt had fans been present that the Blues would have been booed off as they made their way to the tunnel.
Ipswich: Holy, Matheson, Woolfenden, McGuinness, Kenlock, Dozzell, Downes (c), Harrop, Thomas, Sears, Parrott. Subs: Cornell, Chambers, Ward, Bishop, Judge, Lankester, Norwood.
Northampton: Mitchell, Kioso, Horsfall, Jones, Mills (c), McWilliams, Sowerby, Morris, Hoskins, Marshall, Rose. Subs: Arnold, Bolger, Harriman, Watson, Ashley-Seal, Edmondson, Chukwuemeka. Referee: Darren Drysdale (Lincolnshire).
Photo: Matchday Images
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