|Lincoln City 0 v 1 Ipswich Town|
SkyBet League One
Saturday, 18th September 2021 Kick-off 15:00
Lincoln City 0-1 Ipswich Town - Match Report
Saturday, 18th Sep 2021 16:59
Ipswich Town’s wait for a first win of the season finally ended as Macauley Bonne’s 30th-minute goal saw the Blues to a 1-0 victory over his former loan club Lincoln City at Sincil Bank. Bonne headed home Hayden Coulson’s left-wing cross with the Blues withstanding Imps pressure in the second half to claim their first three-point haul of 2021/22.
Bersant Celina was handed his second Town debut, Tom Carroll his first league start for the club and Vaclav Hladky, Janoi Donacien and Scott Fraser returned to the team.
Christian Walton was missing from the squad, presumably due to injury, with Hladky between with the sticks. Donacien was at right-back with Kane Vincent-Young also not included in the 18.
Carroll was in the centre of midfield alongside skipper Lee Evans with Rekeem Harper on the bench.
Celina made his first appearance of his second spell, having had his work visa confirmed, in the number 10 role behind lone striker Bonne with Fraser on the left. Sone Aluko was perhaps unlucky to drop to the subs, along with Conor Chaplin, having impressed in last week’s defeat to Bolton.
Kyle Edwards was again missing from the 18, as was Kayden Jackson, who suffered a knock in Tuesday’s Papa John’s Trophy defeat to West Ham’s U21s.
Former Blues midfielder Teddy Bishop was one of four players to come into the Lincoln side along with TJ Eyoma, Cohen Bramall and Lewis Fiorini.
Ahead of kick-off, the teams taking a knee was applauded by both sets of fans with the home support in good voice in the early stages.
Town were first to threaten in the fifth minute when a Celina and Fraser exchanged passes and the Scot looped in a cross which was only just in front Bonne.
Neither team was able to work another opportunity until just after the quarter hour when Cohen fed in Chris Maguire on the left of the box but his effort from a tight angle was blocked.
Town had spent their time prodding and probing down their left with Celina dropping deep and Fraser often coming inside, but without having been able to find their way into a dangerous area since the early cross towards Bonne.
On 21, Anthony Scully made a strong run into the Blues box before being halted by George Edmundson, illegally according to the home fans, before Town broke strongly through Wes Burns, who played inside to Bonne but the on-loan QPR man’s return pass failed to find the Welshman.
Lincoln were seeing most of the ball, also down their left flank, but like Town were struggling to create a serious chance.
But as the game moved towards the half-hour mark, the Blues began to take control, Fraser and Coulson interchanging neatly on the left to win a corner.
In the 29th minute, good work from Burns and Donacien on the right of the box led to another flag-kick from which Evans nodded back across goal and Cameron Burgess headed on to the underside of the bar with the ball somehow being scrambled away ahead of Evans as he sought to get on to the rebound.
But a minute later, the Blues took the lead. Coulson whipped over a superb cross from the left and Bonne powered a header past keeper Josh Griffiths to claim his fifth goal of the season. The Lincoln defence protested that the Town goalscorer had pushed Eyoma but referee Ben Speedie waved away their complaints.
Town went looking for a second and in the 33rd minute Bonne exchanged passes with Celina on the edge of the box but Lewis Montsma slid in to make a superb challenge on the Kosovan when he looked set for a debut goal.
With the Blues well on top and having been given a significant boost in confidence by the goal, Lincoln were forced to make a change on 36 when Maguire was swapped for Hakeeb Adelakun.
Following the change, Town continued to press for their second. Carroll’s clever flick fed Celina, who played a ball into the left of the box for Burns to chase. The pacy wideman reached it but shot over wit his left foot.
Some of the Imps crowd thought their side had levelled in the 40th minute when Fiorini struck a shot from just outside the area which flew not too far wide of Hladky’s right post and bounced off the hoarding and into the wrong side of the back of the net.
The home fans claimed a penalty in the final scheduled minute of the half when Scully went to ground as he tried to take the ball past Donacien but there looked to have been no contact and referee Speedie again waved away the protests.
Lincoln were finishing the half strongly with Edmundson and Coulson both forced to defend balls inside the box before referee Speedie ended proceedings.
Speedie was approached by Imps manager Michael Appleton as he made his way off at the whistle and the home boss was booked for his protests, either into the late penalty decision or the Town goal, or perhaps both.
While there hadn’t been an awful lot between the teams with both having had spells on top, the Blues’ goal was the one shot on target, Town had also come close when Burgess hit the woodwork and had worked one or two other opportunities.
Celina had added clever footwork to the Blues’ attack and had interchanged well with Fraser and Coulson down the left in particular, while Carroll had added assured confidence on the ball to the midfield.
Lincoln had had one or two chances although with Hladky yet to make a save and ex-Blue Bishop having had a quiet half.
Four minutes after the restart, the home fans thought they levelled. Fiorini crossed from the left and found Regan Poole breaking in at the back post untracked from where he slammed into the net. However, the linesman’s flag had been raised.
Coulson, who was the man who ought to have been tracking Poole, sat down as Hladky prepared to take the free-kick having looked in discomfort after stretching his groin as he hooked a waist-high ball down the line a few minutes earlier.
After the on-loan Middlesbrough man, again one of Town’s top performers, had undergone treatment on the pitch he was replaced by Luke Woolfenden, who joined Edmundson at the centre of the defence with Burgess moving to left-back.
Town had struggled to get going since the break and as the hour-mark approached were finding themselves under pressure. On 57 Bramall hit a low goal-bound shot which struck Burns and flew into the side-netting. A minute later, the former Colchester left-back was found in a good position to cross but sent the ball over the bar.
Just after the hour, Burns was booked for a foul with the Blues protesting that referee Speedie had allowed an Imps throw to be taken with Evans down nursing an injury. From the free-kick, Fiorini shot straight at Hladky who claimed comfortably.
Two minutes later, Bonne looked to have been caught by a high challenge by home skipper Liam Bridcutt on halfway but referee Speedie again ruled against the Blues and allowed Lincoln to attack, Fiorini sending over a dangerous low ball from the left which Town just about scrambled away.
The Lincoln pressure continued with the excellent Burgess heading a number of dangerous balls away and Edmundson charging down a Fiorini drive.
In the 66th minute Celina, who like Town overall had faded in the second half after a promising first period, not surprisingly given his lack of football, was replaced by Harper. Almost immediately the former West Brom man required treatment after being fouled by Bridcutt but was OK to carry on.
Town finally showed some threat going forward in the 69th minute when Fraser played a clever ball down the left for Harper, playing in the number 10 role, who crossed towards Burns who was breaking towards the penalty spot. However, Eyoma did superbly to beat the winger to the ball and clear.
On 71, Scully’s cross-shot from the left looped on to the roof of Hladky’s net with the Czech keeper untroubled. Three minutes later, Bishop was booked for a foul on Carroll some while after the challenge had taken place, referee Speedie having played an advantage at the time, although the former Town man looked to have slipped.
Town finally showed the patience and composure which had been lacking since the break in the 76th minute and weren’t far away from adding to their lead. After some controlled passing on the left, Harper was sent away and cut back to Bonne, who laid off to Fraser, who in turn fed Burns. The Welshman teed-up the Scot and his curling shot was saved by Griffiths.
Bishop was replaced by Lasse Sorensen in the 78th minute having had a quiet afternoon against his old club. Moments later, there was a scare for the Blues when Hladky missed his punch as a cross came over from the right but the ball was bundled away.
Town swapped the tiring Fraser for Aluko on 81 and the home side brought on Dan Nlundulu for Bridcutt. Two minutes later, Evans was booked for a foul on Scully.
Adelakun shot straight at Hladky in the 86th minute with the home side continuing to press for an equaliser in the final minutes and Town rarely getting out of their own half.
Early in seven minutes of injury time Adelakun blazed well over for the home side and the Blues saw out the very lengthy final few minutes before referee Speedie finally blew his whistle.
Town’s wait for a win finally comes to an end in their seventh league game and it was a performance of two halves. The Blues were good for their lead at the break having looked a threat on the break with Celina having been a strong influence on his debut, while Bonne took his fifth goal of his spell with his hometown club superbly.
After the break it was a backs to the wall, all hands to the pumps display akin to many an away performance during Mick McCarthy’s time in charge. And Town saw off the danger to record their first clean sheet of the season.
At the end, CEO Mark Ashton went across to the Blues' support behind the goal and high-fived with those in the front row.
The win is Town’s first in the league at Sincil Bank since a 4-1 win in April 1961, a victory Paul Cook and the new owners will see the Blues’ season get up and running ahead of back-to-back home games against Sheffield Wednesday and Doncaster Rovers.
Lincoln: Griffths, Poole, Eyoma, Montsma, Bramall, Bridcutt (c) (Nlundulu 81), Bishop (Sorensen 78), Fiorini, Maguire (Adelakun 36), Hopper, Scully. Unused: Long, Robson, Sanders, Longdon.
Town: Hladky, Donacien, Edmundson, Burgess, Coulson (Woolfenden 51), Carroll, Evans (c), Burns, Fraser (Aluko 81), Celina (Harper 66), Bonne. Unused: Holy, Chaplin, Norwood, Pigott. Referee: Ben Speedie (Bootle). Att: 9,874 (Town: 1,710).
Photo: Steve Waller
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