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Ipswich Town 0-0 MK Dons - Match Report
Saturday, 10th Apr 2021 17:04

Town recorded their third 0-0 draw in four matches as the first game under their new ownership ended in a stalemate with the MK Dons at Portman Road. Sub Freddie Sears went closest for the Blues in the second half when he looped an effort wide with visiting keeper Andrew Fisher out of his goal.

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. The Dons included former Blues academy striker Charlie Brown on the bench.

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 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, with new chairman Mike O'Leary watching from the stand, 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 and the period came to a close with neither team having hit a shot on target.

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.

Two minutes after the restart, the Blues had Holy to thank for keeping the scores level. After Grigg had been fouled on just outside the area by Nsiala, former Norwich midfielder Andrew Surman curled a low shot which the big Czech keeper did superbly to get across and down to to push past the post.

The Blues saw a lot of the ball in the early stages of the half and won a couple of corners which came to nothing.

Just before the hour mark, Dobra did well to ride a tackle as he broke away following Dons attack and fed Drinan to his left. The Irishman’s effort at goal was deflected behind by Harry Darling and the corner was cleared before being returned down the left by Ward to Dozzell, whose low cross was claimed by Fisher ahead of Drinan.

At the other end, a ball in from the left reached Grigg with his back to goal. The on-loan Sunderland man was unable to get in an effort himself but he played back to Matt O’Riley, who hit a strike which was straight at Holy.

In the 61st minute the Dons swapped Matthew Sorinola for Harvie, while the Blues made a triple change bringing on Nydam for his first senior competitive game in two years to the day, having last featured as a in the 2-0 defeat at Brentford, his only appearance under Paul Lambert, Judge and Sears for Dozzell, Bishop and Dobra.

Moments after the changes, Blues keeper Holy was forced into a double stop from O’Riley. A deep ball from the left had reached the midfielder on the right of the box and Holy first saved his initial shot and then held onto his rebound.

On 70 Parrott replaced Edwards, who had been undergoing treatment on the pitch a few minutes earlier for a knock. Parrott went to the most advanced point of a diamond midfield ahead of Downes with Nydam to his left and Judge to his right.

Within seconds of the change, Downes played a clever ball through into the area for Sears, who cut on to his right foot before hitting a shot which fizzed just past Fisher’s left post. On 71 Grigg and Josh McEachran were replaced by ex-Blues youngster Brown and David Kasumu.

Town should have gone in front in the 78th minute when Woolfenden’s long ball went over Jules and sent Sears away on the right with Fisher well out of his ground. The former West Ham man looped towards goal but sent the ball the wrong side of the post. It was Town’s best chance of the afternoon and one Sears will feel he should have taken.

Downes was booked for a foul on Fraser as the match moved into its final 10 minutes with one mistake or moment of quality appearing enough to win it for either team.

In the 84th minute Judge smashed an otherwise goal-bound shot into what looked to be a Town player from just outside the area after a corner had been cleared.

The Dons then began to put the Blues under pressure with the Town backline making a number of important blocks in and around their area. On 88 Oli Hawkins took over from Drinan.

In four minutes of injury time Ward nodded behind at the far post with O’Riley arriving behind him as Sorinola’s ball came in from the left and soon after referee Nield brought the Blues’ third 0-0 draw in four to an end.

Town had the better of the second half’s few chances with Sears going close with his shot and then having the best opportunity of the game when he looped wide with Fisher out of his ground.

The Blues were more threatening in the second half but have now gone 259 minutes without a goal and worse, 218 minutes, the best of part of three games, without managing a single shot on target.

As at Spotland last week, neither side really showed enough going forward to win it with both defences largely resolute.

Town remain eighth in the League One table, still three points off the play-offs ahead of Tuesday visit to 20th-placed AFC Wimbledon, who won 5-1 at Accrington today.

Town: Holy, Woolfenden, Nsiala, Chambers (c), Edwards (Parrott 70), Dozzell (Nydam 62), Bishop (Judge 62), Downes, Ward, Dobra (Sears 62), Drinan (Hawkins 87). Unused: Cornell, McGuinness.

MK Dons: Fisher, Lewington (c), Jules, McEachran (Kasumu 71), Darling, Grigg (Brown 71), Fraser, Laird, Surman, O'Riley, Harvie (Sorinola 61). Unused: Nicholls, Sorensen, Mason, Houghton. Referee: Tom Nield (West Yorkshire).

Photo: Matchday Images

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rnblue63 added 17:04 - Apr 10
Useless Simply Awful

Bluearmy_81 added 17:05 - Apr 10
It's clear from the last few games in particular just how much damage Evans did to ITFC, we are beyond toothless. Ward, Chambers, Judge, Dozzell, Drinan, Hawkins, Jackson and Sears all need to go to name just a few. I hope the new owners have deep pockets, we need serious investment here and its going to take time...

BromleyBloo added 17:05 - Apr 10
Interesting changes - good to see Dobra and Drinan an honest player, who gives his all if nothing else, but think I’d have given Hawkins a go because again, whether due to poor midfield service/creativity just more of the same with no presence upfront and not a shot on target in the first half. Dobra one good chance just wide, but that was the only real scoring opportunity and apart from that just huffing and puffing with little result. Dons not good, but dominated possession in first 45.

Second half a bit better as we pushed forward, then lost our way again and back to the same, although we defended well - as ever, just little happening upfront. PC obviously thought the same so 3 subs followed by another and we seemed to have a bit more about us.

...............but no, just huffing and puffing with no attacking edge whatsoever - Sears missed an open goal!

So tough......................


belgablue added 17:06 - Apr 10
Pathetic. Bring on the end of the season. What is the point of Freddy Sears?

Positive: Great to see Nydam back.

Tractor_Boy_in_HK added 17:06 - Apr 10
Mick Mills said it all for us. We're dreadful up top, and formations all over the show.

Still no creativity or passion. On the 42nd minute we had the ball deep in the MK Dons zone - I said, this will end up with Holy. Sure enough, twenty seconds later it's to Toto and back to Holy. Unreal.

Another clean sheet but Chambers will again be slagged off and ranked lowest in the fan voting. He's past it but far from our biggest problem, folks.

Buryblue78 added 17:07 - Apr 10
Worst attacking display I've seen in my 52 years following town
They look like condemned men who have lost the will to live
They should try watching it!!!

midastouch added 17:07 - Apr 10
If they can't get up their game after a momentous week like this then it's a sad indictment.

BlueandTruesince82 added 17:07 - Apr 10
Clueless up front but at least we have stopped conceding silly goals.

Expect the defence to be kept broadly together in the summer and the changes to come up top

TimmyH added 17:08 - Apr 10
ZZZZZZZZZZ!!...No shots on target the last 2 games says it all. As I keep saying too early to judge PC but it would be nice to at least get a reasonable performance for once under him even if we don't win.

A majority of the players look like they're just not interested or certainly lack any quality.

cat added 17:08 - Apr 10
Another garbage performance from our crop of underachievers, lead by our glorious (hoof it anywhere) Captain hopeless.
This bunch are paid handsomely for their efforts, yet are incapable of putting in a decent shift for either the new manager or owners. Maybe they know their time is up, but nevertheless it’s rewarding to feel like you’ve earned your large wedge.
An utterly disgraceful and embarrassing turnout against very poor opposition.

mg415 added 17:09 - Apr 10
freddie with the an easy chip of the keeper misses the goal ?
get rid

ShropshireBluenago09 added 17:10 - Apr 10
More of the same unfortunately. We look better defensively, but really struggle to create and finishing is poor when we do get in good positions.
On the plus, Downes and Dobra had good games and Nydam played well when he came on.
Still only 3pts off. We just need goals and in particular Norwood back.

Blue_Meanie added 17:10 - Apr 10
180 minutes without a shot on target.
Don’t watch them any more.
Don’t listen on Suffolk.
What’s the point, just the BBC sport app which informs me; no shots on target again and 34% possession.
Professionals??? Yeah right

Hope the yanks have deep pockets


DebsyAngel added 17:11 - Apr 10
Almost dozed off in the first half - again. Second half more watchable, but we were toothless. Sears should have scored - twice. Drinan should have had a shot, but dithered about, chance gone. Holy made some good saves, and Downes was decent, and nice to see Nydam play - he wasn;t too bad. But all in all, this is not good enough and lots of players not up to the job. We need a lot of changes to the team come summer.

thechangingman added 17:11 - Apr 10
Is there ANYTHING that can give us a bounce???????????????

Tractorboy58 added 17:12 - Apr 10
What exactly has Paul Cook achieved in his 9 games ? ..I know the players are poor, but surely should be doing a lot better than this !

warksonwater added 17:12 - Apr 10
Just when you didn't think it could get any worse. The words 'cow's backside' and 'banjo' spring to mind.

chepstowblue added 17:13 - Apr 10
Worryingly its getting worse.Two games without an attempt on target is hilarious. Gamechanger 20 have not surprisingly put the club up for sale !

DoseOfReality added 17:14 - Apr 10
Well if after the last week you can’t get up for 3 points and getting in the playoffs you never will.

& this lots of useless players never will.

It could take a long time to recover from the damage Evans has done but happy days it’s over.


TractorRob added 17:14 - Apr 10
At half time I was thinking is this better than the Northampton game which was the worse in living memory. Just about in the end. The positives ..a clean sheet again and some good intricate play in midfield. The negatives are too many to cover them all, here are some. Not a shot on target again against two poor sides. Not closing down enough. How much time did they get on the ball, all over the pitch but especially around our box, compared to us. Everyone knows that a running man can get higher than a standing one, so why do we put 5 or 6 in their six yard box at corners with no one to run in from the edge of the box? Their keeper has the advantage there. Drinan (did he touch the ball in the final third in the first half?) too wide too often. We need his goal threat (he has scored once remember) in the middle. Hawkins brought on, presumably to effect a change - in the 87th minute – for goodness sake.

Bert added 17:15 - Apr 10
Another miserable game to watch devoid of any quality or skill. Apart from Downes, the midfield was absent, Dobra looked like he wanted it, the back four solid but lacking any forward movement, Nydam tried to get in the game and good to see him back. Holy had a decent game and Sears should have scored. Cook must be scratching his head trying to understand who to keep and who to say goodbye to but there needs to be far more of the latter than the former.

martin587 added 17:15 - Apr 10
Shameful.None of them are fit enough to wear a blue shirt.Complete clear out at the end of the season.PC has really got his hands full.Let’s just hope the owners invest in the summer.Enough said.

Help added 17:16 - Apr 10
Now PC is not doing the post match interview all very worrying.

DerryfromBury added 17:16 - Apr 10
Utterly atrocious. nothing to add.

BangaloreBlues added 17:17 - Apr 10
It's official - our season is over.
If we do reach the play offs it will be embarrassing, so it's better not to get there.
We all need to be patient and wait until the end of season clear out.
None of the players have anything in them in the way of desire to play for this club, as most of them probably know they'll be asked to leave next month.
Roll on August.

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