|Ipswich Town 2 v 5 Bolton Wanderers|
SkyBet League One
Saturday, 11th September 2021 Kick-off 15:00
Ipswich Town 2-5 Bolton Wanderers - Match Report
Saturday, 11th Sep 2021 17:04
Town’s disappointing start to the season hit a new low as Bolton Wanderers came from behind to defeat the still winless Blues 5-2 at Portman Road. Macauley Bonne put his hometown club ahead on five but Dapo Afolayan levelled for the Trotters in the 10th minute, then eight minutes later won the penalty which Eoin Doyle converted to put the visitors in front. A Ricardo Santos own goal put Town on terms on the half hour but just before the break Afolayan added his second in first-half injury time to make it 3-2 and after the break Josh Sheehan and George Johnston made the most of calamitous Blues defending on 47 and 57 to complete Town’s misery.
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 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 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 Santos was nodded inside to 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 have gone in rueing his late miss with Town again defensively at sea as Afolayan gave the visitors the half-time lead.
On-loan QPR frontman Bonne struck the second-half’s first shot from just outside the box in the 47th minute but Bolton keeper Joel Dixon saved with ease.
The visitors immediately went up the other end and scored their fourth of the game. Walton initially did well to save from Sarcevic with his feet, after Doyle again had been given far too much space, but the loose ball was played to Sheehan, who deftly curled low into the corner of the net.
Having extended their lead to two goals, Bolton sought to plunge the knife in further, Afolayan hitting a half-volley not too far wide, before Sarcevic looped a 51st-minute overhead effort well over following a corner.
The fourth visitors goal seemed to knock the stuffing out of Town with the Blues unable to get out of their own half and Bolton pushing for a fifth.
And in the 57th minute it came. Shortly after Walton and Burgess had collided as one sought to clear and one claim, the ball was sent in from the right by Santos and Johnston hooked into the roof of the net at the second attempt.
The fifth Bolton goal triggered loud and prolonged boos around Portman Road, the clearest sign of fan frustration since the start of the season.
There had been little sign that Town would mount anything in the way of a comeback and on 64 Chaplin, who again had looked a threat in brief spells but had been quiet overall, was swapped for Tom Carroll.
The Blues were within an inch or two of reducing the deficit in the 65th minute when Coulson’s free-kick from the left was flicked on to the inside of the post by Bonne, the ball agonisingly bouncing along the line before being cleared. Two minutes later, Evans curled a free-kick into Dixon’s arms.
Walton saved from Doyle on 71 with the visitors looking more likely to net their sixth than the Blues their third.
Sarcevic belted well over from distance on 80 with the game appearing long over from a competitive perspective.
Four minutes later, moments after Kayden Jackson had replaced Burns, a well-worked Blues move ended with Evans crossing from the right of the box but just too far in front of Bonne at the far post.
The final minutes were played out to test match like chatter around Portman Road rather than the buoyant atmosphere in which the afternoon had begun and the final whistle was greeted with more boos, loud but briefer than earlier before the Sir Bobby Robson Stand applauded Bonne and other members of the team after they went over to clap their appreciation on another very disappointing afternoon for Blues fans.
The sixth goal of the game proved key with Town looking beaten as soon as Bolton scored it so soon after the break and their fifth ended any doubt that the points would be going back to Lancashire.
It was the Blues’ first home league defeat of the season and Bolton’s first league win at Portman Road since November 2001.
Town, who have now conceded 15 goals in six in league matches, were defensively more chaotic than at any time previously this season with the backline looking every bit one which had never played together previously and was regularly on a different wavelength from keeper Walton, who had a debut to forget.
Patience from the Blues’ support has been urged with it inevitable that it will take time for a team to settle after such a turnaround in personnel over the summer.
However, after such a comprehensive defeat to foes of old, it’s similarly inevitable that supporters will start to show their frustrations and start to question the manner in which the Blues have begun the campaign - and perhaps also that recruitment revolution - with the same frailties on show every week.
The result sees the Blues, who last conceded five at home when they were beaten 5-2 by Southampton in August 2011, drop to 22nd in the table now 10 points off second and 13 from top spot, although with 40 games of the long League One season still to play.
Town are next in action at home to West Ham’s U21s in the Papa John’s Trophy on Tuesday before a visit to 17th-placed Lincoln - who won 5-1 at Cambridge today - next Saturday.
Town: Walton, Vincent-Young (Donacien 21), Edmundson, Burgess, Coulson, Harper, Evans (c), Burns (Jackson 84), Chaplin (Carroll 63), Aluko, Bonne. Unused: Holy, Penney, Barry, Pigott.
Bolton: Dixon, Jones, Williams, Santos, Johnston (Baptiste 81), Sheehan (Lee 74), Doyle, Sarcevic (c), Afolayan, Isgrove (Kachunga 62), Gordon. Unused: Gilks, Delfouneso, Aimson, Thomason. Referee: Robert Madley (West Yorkshire). Att: 19,267 (Bolton: 553)
Photo: Matchday Images
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