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Ipswich Town 2-1 Bristol Rovers - Match Report
Friday, 2nd Apr 2021 17:03

An opening minute Luke Leahy own goal and Alan Judge's fourth of the season saw the Blues to a 2-1 victory over Bristol Rovers at Portman Road, Luke McCormick netting for the Gas. Leahy unluckily diverted into his own net after 48 seconds, Judge added the second on 11, before McCormick brought the Gas back into the game on 18.

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 the 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 18th 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 - Rovers felt the Czech might have seen red - 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 boss Cook was forced into a change at the start of the second half with top scorer Norwood making way for Aaron Drinan.

The Blues started the half much as they had ended the second with a Toto Nsiala error allowing Ayunga a run at goal and a shot which failed to trouble Holy.

On 51 Upson struck an effort from distance straight at the Town keeper, then a minute later Bishop struck a low shot through to Jaakkola in the Rovers goal.

In the 55th minute Judge’s free-kick from the left was punched out by Jaakkola but only as far as Edwards on the right of the area, but his low goal-bound shot was blocked by Williams. A minute later, a Drinan shot deflected wide off Martinez.

Bristol Rovers boss Joey Barton switched Tutonda for Zain Westbrooke on the hour mark before Bishop, comfortably Town’s most threatening player, burst into the area on the right and sent over a low cross which was cleared.

Three minutes later, McCormick scraped a shot wide from just inside the area after Nsiala had slipped.

Drinan was booked following an aerial challenge with Jack Baldwin on 65, before Jackson, who had had a quiet afternoon, was swapped for Troy Parrott.

Referee Stephen Martin spoke to Drinan for a second time following a clash with Baldwin in the 69th minute with the Bristol Rovers man appearing to have instigated the collision on both occasions before making an awful lot of the contact.

Two minutes later, with Town beginning to look more dangerous, Edwards crossed from the right, and keeper Jaakkola’s punch fell to Judge, who shot over.

The Pirates replaced Walker with Erhun Oztumer on 72 then four minutes later Brandon Hanlan shot across the face with more of the game being played in the Town half.

On 83 skipper Luke Chambers flicked a near-post head from a Judge corner on the left onto the roof of the net.

Four minutes later, the Blues switched Bishop, who had just undergone treatment on the pitch, for Josh Harrop.

Two minutes later, Armando Dobra replaced Judge, while Rovers switched Josh for Upson and Josh Barrett for Ayunga.

Moments before referee Martin ended the afternoon’s proceedings, Harrop shot wide from distance.

Having looked on their way to a comfortable win following their two early goals, the Blues in the end little more than crept over the line to the second victory of the Cook era.

Having conceded, Town again showed their shakiness when things start to go wrong and Rovers could well have been level before the break.

In the second half, there were few real chances at either end as Town huffed and puffed as they have in so many of their recent games. The change of system seemed to change the overall manner of the performance little. Rovers, who remain second bottom, will feel they should have taken a point from the match.

But the win sees Town climb to ninth in the table with the gap to the top six down a point to two with nine games remaining and a visit to rock bottom Rochdale on Monday.

Town: Holy, Woolfenden, Nsiala, Chambers (c), Edwards, Dozzell, Bishop (Harrop 87), Ward, Judge (Dobra 89), Jackson (Parrott 66), Norwood (Drinan 46). Unused: Cornell, McGuinness, Sears.

Bristol Rovers: Jaakkola, Leahy (c), Upson (Hare 89), Hanlan, McCormick, Tutonda (Westbrooke 60), Baldwin, Walker (Oztumer 71), Ayunga (Barrett 89), Martinez, Williams. Unused: Day, Little, Daly. Referee: Stephen Martin (Staffordshire).

Photo: Matchday Images

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Dolphinblue added 17:05 - Apr 2
Good to win but we look so poor and Jackson should not be anywhere near the squad again he does absolutely nothing unbelievably poor player Coyb

DifferentGravy added 17:05 - Apr 2
A win! Take it and celebrate!
Carrying too many players. Jackson should be left out for rest of season. Despite a lack of service, he showed absolutely nothing….. no desire or effort. Ward and Chambers showed commitment, but slow and caught out a number of times. Toto did ok first half but hesitant in second and beaten a lot in the air. Woolfy steady. Dozzell caught so many times in possession and gifted them a goal. Wasn’t sure Edwards was on the pitch first half although improved in second. Judge put a solid shift in. Teddy showed moments of excitement and really covered the ground. Drinian good effort and would have been harshly sent off just for jumping for a header. Parrott did well in his brief time on the pitch.
Big clear out needed. Too many players past it or coasting whilst they earn a living
Will gladly take the 3 points and dream/delude a little longer. Enjoy your evenings

Europablue added 17:06 - Apr 2
A win's a win. Cook is right to get the results however he can at the moment.

BromleyBloo added 17:06 - Apr 2
So unusually we get some luck and in the first minute, then 2-0 up inside 11 minutes and only one way to go/ how many do we score...............

............but no, coasting as we were so we go out of our way to shoot ourselves in the foot again and bring Rovers back in to it. Game on again and rest of the half could go either way, with a few scary moments. McCormick, on loan from Chelsea, a player for them. Overall better than some recent games, but service from midfield to the strikers still very poor...................

Second half similarly scrappy - Norwood off at half-time for Drinan, presumably injured or made no sense to me.

We looked a lot better with 2 upfront - don’t get what PL or PC are on about - fine to play tighter against top teams, but why not against the likes of Rovers, especially at home, or Rochdale. Surely we can be flexible, adapt and have more than one game plan to play to???

Nsiala reborn as a rock at the back, which we needed and Norwood as usual making his presence felt. A lot of the rest dithering and fragile and I still can’t see that Jackson contributes anything.............

To be fair few chances for Rovers after half-time and we saw it out and got the three points, but m, as ever, tortuous to watch. At times we nearly promise to be a good team, but at others we struggle and look so poor...........

Edwards also had a decent game, but not much to report from anybody else.

.........but 3 more points on Monday and COYB!!!

Karlosfandangal added 17:06 - Apr 2
Where was Kenlock today

LWNR2013 added 17:07 - Apr 2
Don’t care ... 3 points

DebsyAngel added 17:09 - Apr 2
A more watchable game - I didn't doze off like the last home game! Thought Bishop was good, and hope it's not another long injury lay off for him. Parrott looked good when he came on, but wish he and Dobra were given more game time.

Thought Jackson was very poor and Dozzell and Judge far too many misplaced passes.

At least it's a win - we need to build on this now.

TimmyH added 17:10 - Apr 2
For anybody who didn't watch the game we won on the back of two early fortuitous goals and then the Ipswich way of letting the opposition back in came to the fore...thereafter a poor game with little quality ensued the type we've been use to for too long.

Too many of our players think they can just cruise through games with little effort - Dozzell a player who needs to be dropped on the back of this one. One day we'll get a win and a performance - they don't happen often now days!!

ShropshireBluenago09 added 17:12 - Apr 2
We won, but we don’t control games and the midfield is to blame for that. Dozzell is lazy, cannot tackle or head the ball. He lost the ball for their goal. Bish was probably MOM for us for his driving runs into their box, but no one else shone in a poor scrappy game.

heathen66 added 17:13 - Apr 2
Players in the box which resulted in 2 goals in the first 11 minutes was a real positive step change, however it seemed as though the players all thought that was it for their afternoons work.
Rovers got back into the game and after that we were outplayed by 23rd place Bristol Rovers (possession, shots and shots on target) and as before we lacked any leadership on or off the pitch with many just waiting for someone else to do something...again.
A welcome 3 points, however these are very worrying times.
That said I do hope Cook does not see 45mins of playing Norwood and Jackson up top as and 'i told you we could not play that formation' exercise and we persist with a 2 up top formation, although would be better in a straight 4-4-2 as we do not have enough pace for 3 at the back

One question...where is Myles Kenlock ???

Radlett_blue added 17:15 - Apr 2
An utterly dreadful performance from Town. & games into the Cook reign & he has now had 2 full weeks of coaching, with no signs at al, he can get any more from this bunch of players. Roll on the summer!

martin587 added 17:17 - Apr 2
3 points very welcome but very hard to watch at times.Certain players once again not trying and too many mistakes from others.Massive clear out in the summer. Nothing more to add.

TimmyH added 17:18 - Apr 2
I have to disagree with a few posters regarding Kayden Jackson - he worked incredibly hard picking himself up off the grass every time the opposition touched him other than that ashtray and motorbike comes to mind.

mdsblue added 17:19 - Apr 2
Relieved to get 3 points from that, if it hadn't been for a freak goal in the first minute and a lucky deflection (which Judge took well to be fair) ,we would have got nothing out of a must win match. We managed to let a team second bottom look more confident and outplay us when they were 2 down after 10 minutes, utterly inept performance. Woolfenden looked very nervy, Chambers another poor performance, created nothing through midfield, particularly Dozzell who is so poor and the strikers given nothing but scraps yet again. How we are still in with a shout of the pay offs is a mystery, but we are so roll on Monday and pray for some quality from somewhere, although where I have no idea.

RobsonWark added 17:20 - Apr 2
Paid my £10 to watch this match - I'd kinda given up a few matches ago. I can't believe how crap these players are. We are not a team. When crowds are allowed back Paul Cook should pick 11 random players from the stands and give them the shirt and let them play the game.

This was UTTER tosh!! What do these players do in training??

spanishblue added 17:20 - Apr 2
Looked like end of season game most of them know they’re leaving and couldn’t care less, Chambers is getting tortoise pace Along with Ward, Dozzel oh dear obviously doesn’t like playing on Fridays,Almost smashed the Telly in frustration at some of the inept play

Thebot added 17:22 - Apr 2
Play drinian he's up for a scrap and it was never a second yellow. I understand the bad rap Jackson gets but Norwood is no better. He's always off side, giving away a foul and needs 100 chances to score 1. Don't blame dozzell for Bristol's goals like mick said everyone was 30/40 yards away at least he showed for the ball. Promised not to spend another £10 this season but I did and I watched it, chuffed with the points.

DerryfromBury added 17:23 - Apr 2
Jackson waste of space

Help added 17:26 - Apr 2
So why does finally getting a win feel so much like a loss. We got 3 points, yay!. So why do I feel so let down and so despondent about it all. Why have I become so detached from my team of nearly 50 years? Do I care, I am not sure any more, I want to but even now its just another game, move on. Really strange feeling.

RobsonWark added 17:27 - Apr 2
All those having a go at Kayden Jackson - it's not right.

Remember his words "I'm a professional footballer ". LOL. A professional BLAGGER more like!

delias_cheesy_flaps added 17:27 - Apr 2
iFollow was playing up so i didn't watch...by the sounds of it I should send iFollow a thank you message for their cr@ppy service!

RobsonWark added 17:31 - Apr 2
and how did Andre Dozzell get a contract? Is it just because daddy played for Town?

therein61 added 17:32 - Apr 2
3 points gained on to the next game we were fortunate in that we were 2 up but then thought after 11 minutes the job was done and dusted(and lost all positivity, squeaky bum time) there are just some of the squad who can't be asked to perform for 90 mins!! they just take the money.

andygizmo added 17:34 - Apr 2
Ugh. Didn’t enjoy that one bit. GK doesn’t command, Ward and Chambers very slow and vulnerable, Dozzell not decisive enough and get caught dithering, Edwards didn’t seem to fancy it and Jackson has little or no strength and no positional sense whatsoever. Woolfenden seems to have gone backwards this season. Apart from that passing was slow and poor. The Team needs a Talisman and out of the strange group we have, that has to be Downes if he chooses to stay on the pitch.

chepstowblue added 17:34 - Apr 2
The performance and how a result comes about is important to me. We were second best and very fortunate to beat a side rooted in the bottom four. Its lucky that players at this level are so inept at taking aim, because at times its shooting practice at Holy's goal. I just cant take us seriously as a side hoping to make the play offs. Its shambolic. Three points yes, am I fooled....no.

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