Ipswich Town 2-1 Bristol Rovers - Half-Time
Friday, 2nd Apr 2021 16:02
A Luke Leahy own goal and Alan Judge's fourth of the season gave the Blues a 2-0 lead over Bristol Rovers but Luke McCormick pulled a goal back for the Gas to leave the scoreline 2-1 at half-time.
Town boss Paul Cook made two changes with Kayden Jackson and Luke Woolfenden coming into the side
Cook was forced into one of those changes with Kane Vincent-Young picking up a hamstring injury on his return at Wigan last week. Woolfenden, his replacement from the bench at the DW Stadium, came in on the right of a back three.
Stephen Ward and Gwion Edwards were the wing-backs with Andre Dozzell and Teddy Bishop behind Alan Judge in midfield.
The Blues boss had been weighing-up whether to move away from his preferred 4-2-3-1 system in recent weeks and finally took the plunge with Jackson starting alongside James Norwood in a front two - for the first time since February last year - with Freddie Sears dropping to the bench. Bristol Rovers started former Town youngster Ed Upson in their midfield.
Town took the lead in only 47th second in more than slightly fortuitous circumstances. Jackson and two defenders had gone to ground as they challenged inside the area to the right. David Totunda cleared against Edwards, the ball looping off the Welshman, and then Gas skipper Leahy’s out-stretched leg before crossing the line off the inside of the post.
In the 11th minute Town went 2-0 in front. After the ball had been cleared, Dozzell struck a volley from 25 yards which struck Pablo Martinez and deflected to Judge, who hit his first effort against George Williams. The ball fell kindly for the Irishman, who struck a second low effort past Anssi Jaakkola in the visitors’ goal, his fourth of the campaign.
After their nightmare start, Bristol Rovers began to see more of the ball and in the 19th minute they pulled a goal back.
Jonah Ayunga dispossessed Andre Dozzell midway inside the Town half and fed Luke McCormick, who took the ball on to the edge of the box and chipped the advanced Tomas Holy. It was a goal which was very preventable from a Town perspective.
The Blues were knocked off their stride having conceded and looked distinctly shaky with Rovers on top and looking for a leveller. On 22 Ayunga chased a ball behind the Blues’ backline, beat Holy to it and was sent flying by the keeper just outside the area to the right.
Holy was booked for his challenge with the free-kick coming to nothing. A subsequent free-kick from 25 yards out to the left was smashed into the wall, then moments later McCormick shot wide.
Town had shown little threat since their second goal but just before the half hour, Norwood turned Judge’s low free-kick from the right past the post when he will feel he ought to have done better.
The Blues continued to look nervous on the ball, giving possession away all too regularly, with Rovers presenting the greater threat and in the 38th minute they should have equalised. Zain Walker crossed low from the right and an unmarked McCormick hit his shot the wrong side of Holy’s left post.
On 41 Ayunga hit a low shot from distance from the right that the Town keeper dealt with comfortably, then three minutes later Walker shot into Holy’s arms from the right.
Rovers continued to look the more threatening side in the two additional minutes with the Blues never really having recovered from conceding their goal.
After a perfect and to a significant degree fortunate start, Town were in a position to comfortably beat the lowly visitors but an unforced error led to the Rovers goal with the Blues not able to regain control of the game and by the end of the half were struggling to prevent the visitors from grabbing a leveller.
Town: Holy, Woolfenden, Nsiala, Chambers (c), Ward, Edwards, Dozzell, Bishop, Judge, Jackson, Norwood. Subs: Cornell, McGuinness, Harrop, Dobra, Sears, Parrott, Drinan.
Bristol Rovers: Jaakkola, Leahy (c), Upson, Hanlan, McCormick, Tutonda, Baldwin, Walker, Ayunga, Martinez, Williams. Subs: Day, Little, Hare, Daly, Westbrooke, Oztumer, Barrett. Referee: Stephen Martin (Staffordshire).
Photo: Matchday Images
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