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Dartford 0-1 Ipswich Town - Match Report
Saturday, 10th Jul 2021 14:52

Tawanda Chirewa’s second-half goal saw Town to a 1-0 victory over Dartford at Princes Park in their opening pre-season friendly. The midfielder curled home in the 73rd minute to see the Blues to the win.

Town’s first pre-season friendly against Dartford at Princes Park remains 0-0 at half-time.

All six of Town’s summer signings - Wes Burns, Lee Evans, Rekeem Harper, Macauley Bonne, Vaclav Hladky and Matt Penney - started the first half as the Blues got their pre-season fixtures under way.

As expected, none of the more senior players training with the U23s - Flynn Downes, Teddy Bishop, Kayden Jackson, Myles Kenlock and Brett McGavin - were involved.

Released Town youngster Kai Brown was among the subs for Dartford, who play in National League South.

The Blues squad wore black armbands and the game was preceded by a minute’s applause in tribute to Paul Mariner, whose death was announced this morning.

Town fans, at an away game for the first time since the visit to Blackpool in early February 2020, sang songs in tribute to the legendary striker.

With rain falling steadily, Bonne, playing in a front two alongside James Norwood, went close to his first goal for his hometown club in only the second minute, taking the ball on a couple of strides before hitting a powerful shot which struck the top of the bar.

The game started at an unusually frantic pace for a pre-season friendly, perhaps due to the atmosphere created by the returning fans. On seven Luke Woolfenden headed wide from a corner on the right off a defender.

In the 14th minute, Penney crossed low from the left after good work from Armando Dobra but home keeper Dan Wilks claimed ahead of Norwood.

The game continued to played at a pace far higher than a lot of the Blues’ first-team fixtures last season with the new signings very much involved.

Evans, wearing the captain's armband, sprayed a number of passes out to the flanks, while Penney showed his attacking intent with numerous crosses from the left.

Harper was very neat and tidy in the centre of midfield, showing quick feet, while Burns showed his pace down the right and Bonne his strength up front, in addition to his early effort at goal. Hladky hadn’t been called into action.

On 29 Bonne hit the woodwork again, this time the outside of the left post, after more good work from Dobra, however, the linesman had raised his flag.

Two minutes later, the Albanian U21 international felt he should have been awarded a penalty when he drove into the box before being felled. The referee showed no interest.

In the final scheduled minute before the break, Burns made a run from inside the Town half before eventually being brought down 25 yards out. Norwood’s free-kick slammed into the gut of one of those in the wall.

That was the final action of a lively and unusually competitive half. Bonne had gone closest to a goal with his early strike and it was Town who presented the greater threat throughout, albeit without creating many clear-cut chances. At the other end, Hladky had had a quiet first 45 minutes in goal for the Blues.

As expected, Town changed their entire XI ahead of the second half with Tomas Holy the only senior man involved and skippering. Midfielder Idris El Mizouni and central defender Corrie Ndaba were the most experienced of the outfielders.

In a throwback to an earlier era, the fans behind each goal switched ends ahead of the half with Princes Park standing for the most part.

A minute after the restart Gerard Buabo, who starts as a full-time scholar this summer and was up front with fellow new first year Nico Valentine playing off him, headed a right-wing cross to sub Dartford keeper Craig King.

On 49 former Blues youngster Kai Brown shot low through to Holy from the edge of the area.

A minute later, Dan Roberts tried to catch Blues keeper Holy out with a chipped effort from the left which the big keeper palmed behind.

After a Buabo break which ultimately came to nothing, Dartford, who had made a number of changes at the break, threatened through Luke Wanadio, who forced Holy to save at his left post.

Jesse Nwabueze shot over in the 56th minute for the Blues having cut in from the right flank.

Three minutes later, El Mizouni, playing alongside Tawanda Chirewa in central midfield, curled an effort from distance which looped not too far wide of the post.

In the 65th minute, Samuel Odaudu forced Holy into the game’s best save to that point with a low shot from the edge of the box which the keeper was just able to tip past his left post.

Unsurprisingly given their greater experience, the home side began to dominate and shots at the Town goal were becoming a more regular occurrence. On 69 Jack Jebb struck an effort from outside the box which Holy claimed.

However, in the 73rd minute the Blues took the lead, Chirewa, who made his senior debut as schoolboy at Colchester in November 2019, curling a superb strike past King in the Dartford goal and just inside his left post.

Five minutes after the Town goal George Porter shot straight at Holy from 20 yards, then on 84 ex-Blue Brown ran on to a looped ball over the top from the back but put his effort wide of the post as well as Holy.

Town almost went two goals in front in the 87th minute when Cameron Humphreys made a clever run to the right of the box and cut back to Valentine, whose effort was cleared off the line.

Nwabueze saw a strike deflected wide for a corner in the closing moments before the referee confirmed that the Town fans travelling to an away game for the first time in 17 months were celebrating a victory.

While results aren’t a particular concern in pre-season, a win is always welcome, perhaps more so given the very young side which was fielded in the second half.

The young lads more than held their own against their more senior opposition weathering a spell when the home side were starting to get on top just prior to the goal. In the latter stages they might have increased their lead with the Darts tiring.

Town are next in friendly action against Bury Town on Tuesday evening.

Town first half: Hladky, Donacien, Nsiala, Woolfenden, Penney, Harper, Evans (c), Burns, Dobra, Norwood, Bonne.

Town second half: Holy (c), Agbaje, Stewart, Ndaba, Armin, El Mizouni, Chirewa, Humphreys, Nwabueze, Valentine, Buabo. Att: 1,620.

Photo: Matchday Images

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ringwoodblue added 15:02 - Jul 10
A victory, a clean sheet and 45 mins game time for our new signings to gel. What’s not to like!

The most telling thing from today was the absence of the exiled players who are looking increasingly frozen out of Cooks future plans. I still think this is a mistake if we fail to sign suitable replacements, we will surely have to call on the likes of Downes and Kenlock.

I assume Nolan is still recovering after his injury.

planetblue_2011 added 15:06 - Jul 10
Well done boys a win is a win & a good work out for the squad⚽️

Monkey_Blue added 15:09 - Jul 10
Not including the likes of downes, kenlock, Bishop et al seems spiteful and counter productive. If you don’t want them that’s a judgement. To humiliate them out the door is not right.

Bazza8564 added 15:13 - Jul 10
Sound start and good to see the youngsters featuring. No doubt there will be some who moan about Downes, Bishop Jackson etc etc not being used, with so much transfer activity and doubtless deals lined up for these guys, no point putting them in doubt due to injury.
We don't know what we don't know at present, Ashton's interview in the EADT this week called out speculation as somethingthat slows deals down, thats why its quiet.
I understand RingwoodBlue's point, I just think we need to have faith that there is nothing to panic about at this stage....

Blueys_child added 15:15 - Jul 10
If the out of favour players wanted to be in the first team picture they could have played their way into it. Dobra is proof of this, he went from u23s training to back with the first teamers inside 3 days of pre season training so no complaints from me with the team selection.

trublulax added 15:16 - Jul 10
Ringwoodblue and Monkey blue are both on the money. Cook is playing a dangerous game.

Nice to start with a win in any event.

FramlinghamBlue added 15:20 - Jul 10
@trublulax - why is it a dangerous game? He doesn’t want them why would
He play them?

Monkey_Blue added 15:22 - Jul 10
Saying they can play their way into contention is ok…. Do you know how they’ve performed in training? There seems an element of ego and spite in Cooks choices. I know his issue with chambers was the players respected him above himself.

markchips added 15:23 - Jul 10
Surely a sign that new players are in our sights and therefore the sooner the likes of bishop move on the better. Pretty sure I hear mention of 2 departures in the Ashton interview.

trublulax added 15:24 - Jul 10
Because we have no depth as it stands. All very well saying trust the process, but with a squad as small as ours I would prefer to have fresh players in before all others are written off.

Drifter3012 added 15:25 - Jul 10
Nice confidence boost. Glad the youngsters went on to win the game.
Cook has stated his intentions. He is looking to play a settled side and I think he is keen to move some players on. So keeping them free from injuries is obviously key. Whether that is the right plan or not, maybe debatable but that is his job and he will have to live by those decisions.

blues1 added 15:25 - Jul 10
Monkeyblue. Talking rubbish as always. Those players have been told clearly that they have the chance to be with the 1st team squad if they wish. So clearly not done enough to get themselves in favour. Whereas Dobra did within a few days. So its down to them whether they end up leaving or not. If they want to stay they need to show it.

trublulax added 15:28 - Jul 10
Blues1 - so you’d prefer Hunohreys over Downs in midfield on Aug 7 if evans/Harper were injured?

PavlovsCat added 15:36 - Jul 10
Regardless of one’s views regarding those players currently frozen out, I’m guessing Cook won’t want to scupper any ongoing/potential deal by risking injuries in what is only a friendly.

algarvefan added 15:37 - Jul 10
Lets see this game and others pre-season for what they are, glorified training sessions against other teams, a chance for Paul Cook to run his eye over what he has available to him. I'm sure there will be more new players coming in and we are certainly a work in progress that's for sure. Sounded like some real positives that is a plus and we move on to Tuesday, but a win and a clean sheet show something is working!! Onwards and Upwards on this otherwise sad day for Town fans.

Crinkle59 added 15:38 - Jul 10
There is surely no point in devaluating players just to prove a point ,hope it doesn't cost us

buzbyblue added 15:39 - Jul 10
trublulax - so you'd rather play the same players that downed tools and and were absolutely a disgrace to the shirt last season?

Steve_ITFC_Sweden added 15:48 - Jul 10
So the yoofs managed in the second half what the "first" team couldn't in the first half! Results don't mean much in these matches, and we must expect a period of adjustment, but it's good to get a win.

johnwarksshorts added 15:51 - Jul 10
The ousted players have had ample time to show whether they want to be here and fight for their place so I have no problem with PCs decision. Judge him after 10 games with his own players and then we will see if he was correct.

BromleyBloo added 15:54 - Jul 10
Well an away day out! We obviously need 6 more quality players in ASAP and don’t go to Dartford...................

ChestnutSe added 16:19 - Jul 10
The club needs to get money in for those 3 to help fund the wages of the new players. 60% of the transfer fees received will fund the new players wages in a gamble to get us up this season and then away from the salary cap in div 1

number8 added 16:28 - Jul 10
Think it was pretty obvious the vast majority of last year’s squad didn’t have the Kahunas for playing average teams, let alone decent ones.

Sounds like more players will be coming in, hopefully making it more difficult for inadequate players to make the match day squad.

Less moaning would be good 👍

Crinkle59 added 16:28 - Jul 10
If we don't change the style of play we I feel we ill not do any better, walking football is for the over 60s.

BeattiesBackPocket added 16:31 - Jul 10
I knew monkeyblue would only comment on yet another negative! Why not go on the page and comment about the 5 players it looks like we’re getting in or any positive stuff?? You may want players who haven’t shown enough fight monkey but I don’t. Dobra was able to show the manager HE WANTED TO STAY if the others havent then good riddance why on earth you want players at the club who look like they don’t want to be here is beyond me monkey and most people

runningout added 16:34 - Jul 10
If some of the absent players were that keen to play and had the right work ethic. They would be having a decent word with the coach. We can’t forget about our shoddy recent seasons surely. I personally think those players have had their time with this once good club

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