Ipswich Town 2-3 Bolton Wanderers - Half-Time
Saturday, 11th Sep 2021 16:07
Bolton Wanderers lead the Blues 3-2 after a pulsating first half at Portman Road.
Christian Walton and George Edmundson were handed their Town debuts, Sone Aluko his first league start and Macauley Bonne and Conor Chaplin returned from injury.
Walton took over from Vaclav Hladky in goal with the Czech dropping out of the 18 and Tomas Holy on the bench.
Edmundson, who has been recovering from a hamstring problem since his move from Rangers, was at the centre of the defence alongside Cameron Burgess - for the first time since a 5-4 EFL Trophy defeat to Carlisle while they were both at Oldham in 2016/17, their only previous game together - with Luke Woolfenden missing from the 18.
Aluko was on the left of the three behind striker Bonne in place of Kyle Edwards, who is injured.
Scott Fraser was also absent from the squad, while Bersant Celina is not yet ready to be involved and Samy Morsy is suspended.
Aside from Bonne, who was released by the Blues at 14, there was no academy player in the Town 18.
Bolton made one change from Monday’s 0-0 draw with Burton with Josh Sheehan taking over from Kieran Lee in midfield.
As has been the case all season, the prior-to-kick-off taking a knee was warmly applauded by the Blues support.
Bolton were first to threaten in the third minute, skipper Antoni Sarcevic looping a header well over from a Sheehan corner, conceded by Burgess as he defended a free-kick in from the right.
But a minute later, the Blues went in front with their first attack of the game. Wes Burns beat Trotters left-back Liam Gordon and, with the defender having gone to ground somewhat easily, crossed low to the far post where the unmarked Bonne was able to tap into the net for his fourth goal of the season. Bolton protests came to nothing.
In the ninth minute Bolton might well have levelled when Lloyd Isgrove chased Eoin Doyle’s flick-on and burst towards goal, however, Edmundson slid in to block and then dispossess the Wales international.
But the visitors only had to wait a minute for an equaliser. A long ball from Ricardo Santos was nodded inside to Dapo Afolayan, who had been left a gap in which to shoot low through Walton’s legs and into the net to claim a birthday goal.
Kane Vincent-Young was yellow-carded for a foul on Afolayan in the 13th minute with the game almost like a basketball match with play quickly moving from one end to the other.
And in the 19th minute the Trotters took the lead from the penalty spot. Vincent-Young, already on a booking, mistimed a challenge on the right of the Blues’ box and felled Afolayan.
There were few protests prior to Doyle confidently slamming the kick down the middle as Walton dived to his right.
Isgrove was booked for a foul on Hayden Coulson in the 20th minute before Town boss swapped Vincent-Young for Janoi Donacien, almost certainly to avoid the risk of the former Colchester man being shown a second yellow card having already been booked once and conceded a penalty for challenges on Afolayan.
Bolton subsequently had a spell where they were well in charge but without threatening Walton’s goal further, but as the game approached the half hour mark the Blues began to get more into the game with Gethin Jones picking up the afternoon’s third yellow card for a foul on Aluko.
And on 30 Town levelled. Burns again burst away on the right, crossed low and Santos mis-cleared past his own keeper and into the roof of the net.
Their second goal seemed to give the Blues a huge shot of confidence and on 33 after a spell of possession on the right, Chaplin shot over from the edge of the box. Moments later, the former Barnsley man flicked a header wide at the near post from Coulson’s left-wing cross.
Town might have gone back into the lead in injury time when Burns, already with two assists to his name, beat his man on the right and cut back to Bonne, who scuffed his shot the wrong side of the post.
Bolton immediately went up the other end and claimed the lead themselves. Afolayan was found in acres of space on the left by a cross-field ball from Jones and curled an inch-perfect shot beyond Walton’s left hand and into the corner of the net.
Moments later, referee Madley ended what had been a frenetic half which could have ended with either side in front.
The Blues had grabbed themselves an early lead but once again left themselves too open at the back, allowing the Trotters to level and then go in front with Vincent-Young having been unable to deal with Afolayan.
Having weathered a spell where Bolton threatened to take control, the Blues got back into it via the own goal forced by Burns and had a spell in which they might well have gone back in front.
Bonne will rue his late miss with Town again defensively at sea as Afolayan gave the visitors the half-time lead.
The game’s sixth goal would appear to be crucial and it seems certain more will come if the second half is anything like the first.
Town: Walton, Vincent-Young (Donacien 21), Edmundson, Burgess, Coulson, Harper, Evans (c), Burns, Chaplin, Aluko, Bonne. Subs: Holy, Penney, Carroll, Barry, Jackson, Pigott.
Bolton: Dixon, Jones, Williams, Santos, Johnston, Sheehan, Doyle, Sarcevic (c), Afolayan, Isgrove, Gordon. Subs: Gilks, Delfouneso, Aimson, Lee, Kachunga, Thomason, Baptiste. Referee: Robert Madley (West Yorkshire).
Photo: Matchday Images
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