Ipswich Town 0-0 MK Dons - Half-Time
Saturday, 10th Apr 2021 16:00
Town’s home game against the MK Dons remains 0-0 at half-time with both sides having come close to breaking the deadlock just before half-time.
Flynn Downes returned to the Blues line-up with Armando Dobra and Aaron Drinan also coming into the team as manager Paul Cook switched what appeared to be Plan D as he looked to get Town’s play-off push back on track.
Downes, who had been out of action for almost a month with a hamstring injury, came into central midfield alongside Teddy Bishop with Andre Dozzell in a narrow role to his left and Gwion Edwards on the right. Dobra played off Drinan up front with the duo both making their first starts of Cook’s time as boss.
At the back, Luke Woolfenden moved out to right-back with skipper Luke Chambers and Toto Nsiala the centre-halves and Stephen Ward at left-back.
Alan Judge and Troy Parrott dropped to the bench having been in the side which drew 0-0 at Rochdale last week with Tristan Nydam in the matchday 18 for the first time since returning from the serious ankle injury he suffered in July 2019.
James Norwood remained absent having suffered a thigh injury last weekend and Kane Vincent-Young was also not in the 18 following his hamstring injury, while Kayden Jackson was also missing, presumably having picked up a knock.
For the Dons, defender Warren O’Hora, midfielder Louis Thompson and veteran striker Cameron Jerome missed out due to injury with long-serving skipper Dean Lewington, Scott Fraser and Will Grigg, who played for Town boss Cook at Wigan and who has been linked with the Blues, returning to the XI.
Following a two-minute silence in tribute to His Royal Highness The Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, who died yesterday aged 99, the first action of the Blues’ new era saw Dobra pick up a yellow card within the first minute for an over the top challenge on Lewington which the Dons backline felt was a more serious offence warranting more serious censure, and they might have had a case.
Three minutes later the Albanian U21 international hit the first shot of the game towards an empty net from midway inside his half but missed the target, Dons keeper Andrew Fisher having kicked poorly as Drinan put him under pressure as loudly instructed by manager Cook from the sidelines.
Visiting keeper Fisher was having a shaky start and on 10 he made heavy weather of dealing with a corner from the right but the ball didn’t fall for a Town player and was cleared.
The Blues had started well with the Dons unable to get on the ball, however, they gradually began to get their passing going and threatened for the first time in the 20th minute when Nsiala turned Daniel Harvie’s cross wide. From the corner from the left, Zak Jules shot straight at Tomas Holy having slipped over.
On 22, Ward crossed low from the left and Edwards went to ground as he battled to get to the ball past two defenders but referee Tom Nield wasn’t interested in his appeals for a penalty.
MK continued to see most of the ball but without threatening, while referee Nield’s over-fussy approach was breaking up the game and frustrating the Town team, who had been on the wrong end of most of his more pernickety decisions.
The visitors weren’t too far away from going in front in the 42nd minute when Scott Fraser shot into the side-netting after a Grigg effort had been blocked by Nsiala.
A minute later, MK claimed the ball had struck Chambers’s arm as Fraser tried to find a way through the Town backline but referee Nield was unconvinced.
The Blues went within a whisker of taking the lead in the 44th minute when Downes cut out a loose Dons pass on halfway and sent Edwards away on the right. The Welshman measured a low cross and Dobra slid in but sent the ball just the wrong side of Fisher’s left post.
That was the last action of an often cagey half in which the Blues had started on top before the Dons got their passing going and saw most of the ball.
Both sides had had long spells of possession but were only able to find a way through the opposition’s backline with the two late chances at each end.
Fraser will be frustrated that he failed to hit the target with his shot, while Dobra will feel similarly regarding his effort. Overall, the scoreline was probably a fair reflection at the break.
Town: Holy, Woolfenden, Nsiala, Chambers (c), Edwards, Dozzell, Bishop, Downes, Ward, Dobra, Drinan. Subs: Cornell, McGuinness, Nydam, Judge, Sears, Parrott, Hawkins.
MK Dons: Fisher, Lewington (c), Jules, McEachran, Darling, Grigg, Fraser, Laird, Surman, O'Riley, Harvie. Subs: Nicholls, Kasumu, Brown, Sorensen, Mason, Houghton, Sorinola. Referee: Tom Nield (West Yorkshire).
Photo: Matchday Images
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