Ipswich Town 3-1 Fleetwood Town - Match Report
Sunday, 9th May 2021 13:56
First-half goals from James Norwood, Gwion Edwards and Troy Parrott saw Town to a comfortable 3-1 home victory over Fleetwood Town in a typical meaningless final-day game at Portman Road. Norwood gave the Blues the lead on three, Edwards made it 2-0 six minutes later and Parrott added the third on 29, while Wes Burns pulled one back for the visitors in the 72nd minute.
Luke Chambers skippered the Blues in what could be his final game for the club, coming in at right-back for Kane Vincent-Young, who suffered a shoulder injury at Shrewsbury on Tuesday evening.
Loanee Parrott, whose spell is up after today’s game, kept his place behind lone striker James Norwood with Teddy Bishop again on the bench, alongside Kayden Jackson, Toto Nsiala and Cole Skuse, with all four also out of contract this summer. For Fleetwood, former Blues loanee Callum Connolly skippered.
Town went ahead from the first serious attack of the game in the third minute. Armando Dobra brought the ball in from the right inside the area then, with no Fleetwood challenge having come in, squared to Norwood, who shot low past Alex Cairns in the visitors’ goal.
It was Norwood’s 10th goal of the season, making sure he ends an injury-hit campaign on double figures, as he has done every year since 2013/14 season when he was with Forest Green Rovers.
Six minutes later it was 2-0. Edwards out-muscled James Hill on the Town left, cut in and shot right-footed low past Cairns. It was the Welshman’s sixth goal of the season but his first since October.
Fleetwood’s first chance came in the 12th minute when Kyle Vassell cut across to Harrison Biggins but the ball was stabbed away from the striker and Dai Cornell in the Town goal claimed.
Edwards, another who could be playing his last game for the club with his deal up this summer, was forced off with a knock in the 16th minute and replaced by Keanan Bennetts with the loanee from Borussia Mönchengladbach playing his final match before his loan expires.
Cornell was forced into a save two minutes later when Dobra was robbed on the halfway line after Luke Woolfenden played him an under-hit ball and Barrie McKay was sent away on the left before hitting a low shot which the Town keeper stopped and then grabbed at the second attempt.
The Cod Army threatened again on 24 when Burns crossed from the right but Ged Garner was unable to get in a shot and the ball was scrambled away, albeit rather untidily.
Despite the visitors having reacted well to conceding the two earlier goals, the Blues made it 3-0 in the 29th minute.
Norwood cleverly threaded in Parrott inside the area and the Irish international confidently placed his shot to the keeper’s right to claim his second goal of his spell and of his senior career.
It was the first time Town had scored three times at home in the league this season, having previously netted only twice in their last eight matches, in the 2-1 win at Swindon last week. Town last scored three goals in a half at Blackpool in October.
Biggins saw an effort deflect wide in the 35th minute after Fleetwood had broken quickly and had been two on one at one stage before the Town backline retreated. Then, following the resultant corner, Danny Andrew forced Cornell to bat away his well-struck shot.
Vassell shot too close to Cornell from just behind the penalty spot on 44, the final action of a dominant half from the Blues.
Town started positively grabbing their two early goals as the visitors began the game somewhat hesitantly at the back. Confidence flowed from there with the Blues passing the ball around and looking for opportunities as well as they have at any time this season.
To their credit, Fleetwood didn’t completely crumble as they might have done in a meaningless final day game, albeit without showing the intensity they might have done earlier in the season, and had one or two chances themselves before the Blues made it 3-0 with their third shot on target of the afternoon. How they could have done with such clinical finishing earlier in the campaign.
Fleetwood swapped Kyle Vassell for Nathan Sheron ahead of the second half but it was the Blues who were first to seriously threaten after the restart, Parrott shooting into the side-netting having been sent away on the left of the box by Flynn Downes.
On 57 the Dubliner was again sent away down the left by Andre Dozzell and cut in but allowed the ball to run too far in front of him and his eventual shot was blocked.
At the other end, Burns hit an effort into the side-netting off Mark McGuinness, another loanee playing his last game, from the right of the box after the visitors had broken quickly. On 52 Sam Finley was booked for pulling back Downes.
Town skipper Chambers wasn’t far away from a goal as the game reached the hour mark, the right-back catching a Fleetwood defender dawdling on the ball on their own touchline. The veteran’s effort from a tight angle was pawed over by Cairns. From the corner, McGuinness sent the ball well over, the on-loan Arsenal man claiming he had been fouled.
The Blues were camped in the Fleetwood half, prodding and probing for an opening and on 65 they should have made it 4-0. Bennetts sent over a curling low cross from the left, the best of his spell with the club, but the unmarked Norwood scuffed well wide when it looked easier to score, the striker acknowledging the winger’s excellent ball.
Bishop replaced Norwood, who had suffered a knock moments earlier, for the final 20 minutes with Parrott taking on the lone striker’s role.
Almost immediately, the Irishman fed Dobra in on goal as the Albanian U21 international made a clever run across the area from the right but keeper Cairns thwarted him. The 20-year-old is still waiting for his first league goal.
Fleetwood reduced the deficit in the 72nd minute when Burns was sent away down the right and shot powerfully across Cornell and into the net.
Six minutes later Skuse and Jackson were handed what could be their final appearances for the club, along with loanee Josh Harrop, whose loan spell ends today. Skuse, making his 277th appearance for the club 268 starts and eight as a sub, replaced Bennetts, Jackson Parrott and Harrop Dobra
Harrop was on the right and Bishop the left with Skuse in central midfield alongside Downes with Dozzell ahead of them.
As the game moved into its final 10 minutes Jordan Rossiter was booked for pulling Downes’s shirt on halfway.
McKay smashed a low free-kick well wide on 85 before Fleetwood made a triple change in which he Andrew, Finley were replaced by Barry Baggley, Josh Morris and Glenn Whelan.
On 88 Burns shot low and hard across the face of the Town goal, then as the match moved into three minutes of injury time Bishop crossed onto the roof of the net.
A comfortable Town win for the Blues who having established their early lead never looked in any real trouble.
Having established their two and then three-goal lead they probably played as well as at any time this season, albeit in a final-day dead rubber, showing that they can play once they’re a couple of goals in front, as they did against Blackpool at Portman Road earlier in the year.
Although Fleetwood kept at it and pulled a goal back in the second half, there never seemed any likelihood that the Blues’ lead was in danger.
Town finish the season ninth in League One, two places better off than last year, but will hope they’re very much more in the mix come this time next season.
Town: Cornell, Chambers (c), Woolfenden, McGuinness, Kenlock, Downes, Dozzell, Edwards (Bennetts 16 (Skuse 78)), Parrott (Jackson 78), Dobra (Harrop 78), Norwood (Bishop 70). Unused: Holy, Nsiala.
Fleetwood: Cairns, Andrew (J Morris 85), Connolly (c), Burns, Rossiter, Vassell (Sheron 46), McKay (Baggley 85), Finley (Whelan 85), Biggins, Garner, Hill. Unused: Coleman, Holgate, S Morris. Referee: John Busby (Oxfordshire).
Photo: Matchday Images
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