Portsmouth 1-1 Ipswich Town - Half-Time
Saturday, 20th Mar 2021 14:02
James Norwood netted his seventh goal of the season to give the Blues a lead at Portsmouth but Pompey skipper Tom Naylor headed a leveller four minutes before the break.
Town boss Paul Cook made four changes on his return to Fratton Park with Norwood, Stephen Ward, Teddy Bishop and Keanan Bennetts returning to the side.
Ward came in at left-back for Myles Kenlock, who was left out of the 18 and Bishop in central midfield for Cole Skuse, who was on the bench.
Bennetts replaced Troy Parrott but playing in a very advanced left-sided position rather than a number 10 with the on-loan Tottenham man on the bench.
Alan Judge moved into a third central midfielder’s role towards the left, although ahead of Bishop and Andre Dozzell. Norwood returned in the out-out-out striker’s role with Kayden Jackson also dropping to the bench.
Kane Vincent-Young was among the subs for the first time in 17 months following his injury problems, while Mark McGuinness and Armando Dobra were also on the bench for the first time since the change of manager.
Jack Lankester, Josh Harrop and Aaron Drinan missed out on places in the 18 having been on the bench for Tuesday’s 2-0 defeat at Fleetwood.
Portsmouth, with new management team Danny and Nicky Cowley in the dugout for the first time following their appointment yesterday, made two changes from the side which lost 1-0 at Peterborough in midweek.
Marcus Harness and Jordy Hiwula came into the XI for Ben Close and Rasmus Nicolaisen, whose own goal settled the game at London Road.
Town wore last year’s burgundy and blue away shirt but with blue shorts with a yellow and burgundy trim and yellow socks.
Prior to kick-off the players and officials both took a knee in support of Black Lives Matter, again with the exception of Toto Nsiala.
Pompey struck the game’s first shot in the fourth minute, Ronan Curtis hitting a 30-yard free-kick which wobbled in the air but was claimed comfortably by Holy.
Town attacked for the first time in the 11th minute when Bishop won the ball on halfway, Bennetts fed Edwards to the right and the Welshman’s chipped cross to the far post was nodded into the side-netting by Norwood having already appeared to have gone out of play.
Two minutes later, Norwood hooked a ball over the Portsmouth backline for Edwards, who was eventually outmuscled by Lee Brown.
Following Tuesday’s lackadaisical display at Fleetwood, manager Cook was constantly barking at his midfield and strikers to press whenever Pompey had the ball in their area of the field, and the cajoling appeared to be having some impact with the Blues having more bite than they had at Highbury.
Referee Alan Young showed his first yellow card of the day in the 18th minute when Jack Whatmough pulled back Bennetts as the on-loan Borussia Mönchengladbach man was about to shoot from 25 yards.
Judge took the free-kick and curled the ball to keeper Craig MacGillivray’s left and the keeper did well to get across to it and push it wide and to safety.
Town, playing at a greater tempo than at Fleetwood and seeing much more of the ball, were working themselves into some promising positions in the Pompey half, while at the other end Portsmouth’s rather fewer forays forward had been snuffed out.
On 29, a corner was worked to Bishop not far outside the area but the midfielder’s shot hit a Pompey defender and flicked through to MacGillivray.
The Blues went closer a minute later when Norwood was played in on the right of the area and cut across to Bennetts but the winger was unable to get a touch and keeper MacGillivray claimed.
But Town didn’t have to wait too much longer for a goal. On 32 Edwards played a clever pass for Norwood in the same area of the box and the striker smashed a powerful shot across MacGillivray and into the net for his seventh goal of the season.
The Blues deserved their lead having been the better side but appeared less attack-minded in the minutes following their goal and in the 41st minute the home team levelled.
Pompey had hardly looked threatening until Curtis sent over a corner from the left and skipper Naylor battled his way to the ball and headed home off the inside of the far post.
Having got back on terms, Portsmouth ended the half the stronger and on 43 Curtis curled a shot wide.
Town would have been good for their half-time lead had they not conceded the goal shortly before the break. They’d looked a much better outfit than on Tuesday and deserved their goal - a second in three games from open play - which was cleverly worked by Edwards and finished comprehensively by Norwood.
Pompey had reacted well to the Town goal but hadn’t looked like grabbing a goal until Naylor’s header from Curtis’s very-difficult-to-defend corner. An entertaining affair which could go either way in the second half.
Ipswich: Holy, Chambers (c), Nsiala, Wilson, Ward, Dozzell, Bishop, Bennetts, Edwards, Judge, Norwood. Subs: Cornell, McGuinness, Vincent-Young, Skuse, Dobra, Parrott, Jackson.
Portsmouth: MacGillivray, Bolton, Whatmough, Raggett, Brown, Williams, Naylor (c), Cannon, Curtis, Harness, Hiwula. Subs: Ward, Nicolaisen, Daniels, Mnoga, Close, Byers, Jacobs. Referee: Alan Young (Cambridgeshire).
Photo: Matchday Images
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