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U23s Confirm Play-Off Place Via Forest Victory
Tuesday, 27th Apr 2021 14:58

Town’s U23s confirmed their place in the Professional Development League Two play-offs via a 2-1 defeat of Nottingham Forest at Portman Road with Matt Ward and Tyreece Simpson netting the goals in the first half.

The side coached by Kieron Dyer and Terry Butcher are second in the table and now can’t be caught by the teams behind them. The Blues are set to face Sheffield United, the winners of Professional Development League Two, in the semi-finals.

Town went closest to opening the scoring in the seventh minute when Levi Andoh’s cross from the right flew far nearer to goal than he intended and almost brushed the outside of the post on its way out of play.

Moments later at the other end, Ateef Konate cut in and struck a goalbound effort which Blues keeper Bert White palmed over. From the resultant corner, which was taken short and worked low into the area, Baba Fernandes blazed over.

The visitors continued to present the greater threat and on 16 Jamie McDonnell hit a low shot wide from distance.

However, within a minute the Blues were in front. Andoh broke into the area on the right and crossed low for Matt Ward, who deftly flicked with the inside of his heel past Forest keeper Michael Statham and into the net.

Both sides won corners following the Town goal but without any coming to anything, then on 24 Blues left-back Ross Crane was yellow-carded for a foul on McDonnell.

Following the resultant free-kick, Fin Back joined him in the book for a foul on Callum Page as the on-trial Needham Market youngster he broke away.

As the game moved towards the half-hour, Andoh headed over from a free-kick on the right, then on 34 Tawanda Chirewa shot over from distance.

Town doubled their lead in the 39th minute when Forest corner was cleared to Ward on halfway and Tyreece Simpson was sent away down the right. The striker used his strength to hold off Malique Spooner as he burst into the area before slipping the ball under Statham and into the net.

Just before the break Chirewa shot over from just outside the area following a Town corner.

Forest had seen more of the ball in what had been a closely contested half and had gone nearest early on.

However, Town U23s, in stark contrast to the senior side, had been clinical when they had created the half’s two outstanding opportunities with Ward finishing cleverly and Simpson brushing aside his defender before slipping home similarly confidently.

With neither side having created a second-half chance, the Blues swapped Fraser Alexander for Cameron Humphreys in the 56th minute. A minute later, Konate sent a Forest free-kick from 30 yards out well over the bar.

In the 65th minute Blues keeper White was forced to palm wide at his right post after a cross from the opposite flank had made its way to the other side of the box.

And from the resultant corner, the visitors levelled, Back rising to head across White and into the corner of the net.

Four minutes after the Forest goal, the Blues thought they’d been handed the chance to restore their two-goal lead when Aaron Donnelly appeared to have clumsily felled sub Colin Oppong, who had replaced Simpson, in the area and the referee pointed to the spot. However, the linesman appeared to indicate the Town striker had kicked the ground and the referee changed his decision.

Four minutes before the scheduled end, Albie Armin headed straight at keeper Statham at the far post from a corner on the left with the Blues looking the more likely scorers of the game’s fourth goal.

A minute later, Chirewa was played in on the edge of the box and hit a low shot which Statham saved low with his left hand, then schoolboy sub Nico Valentine, making his U23s debut, hit another effort from the same area which the keeper batted away.

Forest broke quickly up the other end and sub Yassine En-Neyah lobbed White but saw the ball loop the wrong side of the post.

With the game now in injury time, Valentine’s shot deflected to Chirewa, whose effort from eight yards flew into the side-netting, much to his frustrating.

Moments before the whistle, Fernandes headed a corner from the right well over the bar.

A deserved victory for the U23s, who clinically took their chances in the first half and rarely looked in too much danger of losing their lead despite Forest pulling a goal back and in the latter stages they had chances to add to their lead.

The win sees the young Blues stay second in Professional Development League Two South, joining the U18s in the end-of-season play-offs.

U23s: White, Andoh, Armin, Clements, Crane (Valentine 79), Alexander (Humphreys 56), Healy, Chirewa, Ward, Simpson (Oppong 65), Page. Unused: Bort, Bradshaw.

Forest: Statham, Back, Spooner (Raha 82), McDonnell, Fernandes, Donnelly, Gibson-Hammond (En-Neyah 46), Hammond, Taylor (c), Fewster (Dekel-Daks 71), Konate. Unused: Akers, Andrew.

Photo: Matchday Images

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Ebantiass added 15:17 - Apr 27
well done ,lets hope some of these young ones can brake into the first team or thereabouts.

dangerous30 added 15:27 - Apr 27
Well done town 👍

johnwarksshorts added 15:29 - Apr 27
Play Simpson on Saturday.

midastouch added 15:30 - Apr 27
johnwarksshorts, you took the words out of my mouth :-)

dangerous30 added 15:30 - Apr 27
I think there is a mistake in the wording as town was 2 -0 at the time (And from the resultant corner, the visitors levelled, Back rising to head across White and into the corner of the net.)

90z added 15:37 - Apr 27
Well done lads! Always nice to see the youngsters playing well and getting results. Just a shame the 1st team can't hit a barn door !

Upthetown1970 added 15:54 - Apr 27
U23's play offs
U18's play offs
U18's FA youth cup 1/4f Friday!
1st team!! Oh dear!!

dirtydingusmagee added 16:03 - Apr 27
well done lads, at least you can all hold your heads up .

Steve_ITFC_Sweden added 16:15 - Apr 27
Certainly don't see goals like that from the first team. Well done, Simpson and all the others!

DifferentGravy added 16:16 - Apr 27
Couple of quality goals. Cheeky finish for the first and superb strength and slotted home for the second. Simpson definitely needs another game for the first team.

Well done lads

WhoisJimmyJuan added 16:17 - Apr 27
I just hope Mr Cook was watching. There is life outside the first team.

heathen66 added 16:44 - Apr 27
Players in the box, midfielders busting a gut to support them...fantastic !!!
Perhaps PC should make the 1st Team watch that game as a learning exercise.
Massive well done to Butcher and Dyer !!!

Linkboy13 added 16:54 - Apr 27
The goal scoring record of the so called first team strikers is hardly setting the world alight, and even though the standard of u23s football is so poor i think you've got to give Simpson another go just for his physical attributes. Just hope he's you'st to playing in a team with no midfield that's been the biggest problem at the club for several years now. Only Downes is worth keeping and Nydam for the future.

chepstowblue added 17:37 - Apr 27
Other than perhaps Norwood, not one of our first choice strikers could have scored the goal that Simpson did today. I saw him at Blackpool last season and he made an immediate impact. Baffling that he's rarely been given a chance since!

Skip73 added 17:40 - Apr 27
Play them all on Saturday.

Linkboy13 added 18:45 - Apr 27
Chepstowblue He's had a very disappointing season for the u23s and even been on the bench several times. I think you'll agree to earn a place in any team you have to work for it that's the way it works im afraid. But we have been so poor with players not even bothering to put in any effort i would give anyone a run out.

RobsonWark added 19:12 - Apr 27
Watching the highlights on YouTube with no sound on I thought we had conceded two own goals - I'm not used to seeing the ball played forwards by ITFC players and the ball being played into the opponents box.

norfolkbluey added 21:14 - Apr 27
Play the majority of this team on Saturday and shame the the first team.
Well done boys the true ITFC.

bobble added 21:59 - Apr 27
dyer and butcher should take the top jobs

BettyBlue added 22:59 - Apr 27
Odd wording.

"Town’s U23s confirmed their place in the Professional Development League Two play-offs via a 2-1 defeat of Nottingham Forest at Portman Road."


"Town’s U23s confirmed their place in the Professional Development League Two play-offs via a 2-1 WIN against Nottingham Forest at Portman Road."

BettyBlue added 23:00 - Apr 27
Are we more concerned about Notts Forrest being defeated or ITFC winning something??

Sad times in Ipswich.

BettyBlue added 23:02 - Apr 27
Play the majority of this team on Saturday with Keiron Dyer captain in midfield.

waldenblue7 added 07:01 - Apr 28
Well done boys, some positivity at last! 👍

JewellintheTown added 07:10 - Apr 28
Excellent to see such great goals from a team wearing the club shirt. Great goals & team work. Well deserved result.
Hoping Cook is holding back introducing any of the u23 players into the first team so they're not polluted by the dross already in it. Fresh start next season though I hope with new blood from the u23s added plus new additions & the odd remainer from the first we'll be in an excellent position to storm the league.

TractorRoyNo1 added 09:19 - Apr 28
Great to see mid-Suffolk schoolboy make his debut

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