Ipswich Town 0-0 Oxford United - Half-Time
Saturday, 20th Feb 2021 16:02
Town’s home game against Oxford remains 0-0 at half-time.
Skipper Luke Chambers, Toto Nsiala, James Wilson, Teddy Bishop, Keanan Bennetts, Alan Judge and James Norwood all returned as manager Paul Lambert made seven changes from the team which drew 0-0 at home with Northampton on Tuesday.
Chambers came in at right-back with Luke Matheson dropping to the bench, while at the centre of the defence Toto Nsiala, who had been out since the home defeat to Peterborough in January with a hamstring problem, partnered Wilson, who last featured in the Lincoln match in October before suffering a knee injury. Myles Kenlock continued at left-back with Tomas Holy in goal.
In midfield, Andre Dozzell moved deeper, with Flynn Downes banned for two games for his red card on Tuesday, alongside Bishop, with Judge on the left and Bennetts, who had been out with a groin problem since the Burton match in December, on the right. Norwood was the central striker with Troy Parrott playing just behind him.
There was no place in the 18 for Luke Woolfenden and Mark McGuinness, who have been the regular central defensive partnership of late, or Luke Thomas, who suffered a knock during Tuesday’s match.
Prior to kick-off both teams and the officials took a knee in support of Black Lives Matter, before the Blues started the game positively.
In the sixth minute, a Chambers cross from the right reached Norwood, who headed back across goal but without much power and Rob Atkinson cleared off the line.
The Blues continued to see most of the ball against an Oxford side which had made a slow start and on 14 Bennetts struck a low curling effort which visitors’ keeper Jack Stevens claimed at the second attempt. The winger needed treatment after the effort but was OK to carry on.
The U’s managed their first attack in the 17th minute, Mark Sykes sending over a cross from the right and Wilson scuffed his clearance, but well over his own bar.
Following the corner on the right, Cameron Brannagan crossed from the left and the ball was nodded back for Matty Taylor, who headed against Kenlock and over for another flag-kick. From that, the ball was played to Brannagan on the edge of the box and his shot flew well wide.
In the 23rd minute Alex Gorrin fouled Bennetts, who had had a lively opening to the match, midway inside the Oxford half on the Town right, the defender picking up the game’s first yellow card from referee Marc Edwards.
Bennetts rather wasted the free-kick, the on-loan Borussia Mönchengladbach man immediately running into trouble after the ball had been played to him.
Two minutes later, Sykes saw a 25-yard effort deflect behind with Oxford starting to look more of a threat, although still not overly fluent.
In the 28th minute Parrott went close to scoring his first senior goal. Following an Oxford corner, Judged played a ball forward for Norwood to chase down the left and the striker crossed from the left and found Bennetts on the right. The winger tricked his way into space before crossing to Parrott, who turned a shot past the far post and wide.
In the 32nd minute Oxford weren’t too far away when Brandon Barker hit a low cross-shot from the left which ran between Taylor and the post and wide.
Parrott smashed a free-kick into the visitors’ wall from well out in the 35th minute having been fouled with the Blues having some good spells on the ball - and also winning it back quickly after they’d lost it - as well as breaking quickly and potentially dangerously on Oxford following their attacks. However, without having created another serious chance.
Half-time came without that situation changing or the U’s managing to carve out an opening at the other end.
Town had certainly been much better than they were against Northampton, although that wasn’t difficult, but still without threatening on too many occasions.
Parrott’s effort just past the post was the best of the Blues’ opportunities with Norwood’s early header having lacked any power.
Similarly, Oxford had had one or two opportunities but without looking convincing or like a side in their current impressive run of form.
Town: Holy, Chambers (c), Nsiala, Wilson, Kenlock, Dozzell, Bishop, Bennetts, Parrott, Judge, Norwood. Subs: Cornell, Matheson, Ward, Harrop, Lankester, Sears, Drinan.
Oxford: Stevens, Ruffels, Moore (c), Gorrin, Brannagan, Taylor, Sykes, Forde, Atkinson, Lee, Barker. Subs: Eastwood, Hall, Winnall, Henry, Grayson, Shodipo, Kelly. Referee: Marc Edwards (Tyne and Wear).
Photo: Matchday Images
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