Portsmouth 0-1 Ipswich Town - Half-Time
Tuesday, 19th Oct 2021 20:42
Macauley Bonne’s 10th goal of the season four minutes before the break has given the Blues a 1-0 lead at half-time at Portsmouth.
Christian Walton, Toto Nsiala, Lee Evans and Kyle Edwards all returned to the Blues side facing manager Paul Cook’s old club.
Walton took over in goal with Vaclav Hladky dropping to the bench alongside Cameron Burgess, who was replaced at the centre of the defence by Nsiala.
Evans came back into midfield having missed Saturday’s 2-2 draw at Cambridge as his wife was having a baby with Idris El Mizouni among the subs. Edwards was on the left wing with Scott Fraser absent from the 18.
Former Pompey man Conor Chaplin continued in the number 10 role and Sone Aluko was again on the right having scored twice at the Abbey Stadium with Bersant Celina and Wes Burns continuing on the bench.
On-loan Aston Villa forward Louie Barry returned to the 18 but with no place for Kayden Jackson, who was in the squad at the weekend, or James Norwood.
For Portsmouth, Ronan Curtis returned to their line-up after suspension, while ex-Blues loanee Ryan Tunnicliffe also started. Winger Michael Jacobs, who came close to joining Town over the summer, was on the bench.
Prior to kick-off both teams - with the exception of Nsiala - took a knee to applause from both sets of fans.
There was a nervy start for Walton when he cleared against Curtis after an under-hit back pass from George Edmundson - a strong wind at pitch level perhaps affecting it - but the ball ricocheted behind.
On three, Edwards was sent flying close to the byline on the left by Tunnicliffe - who as fortunate not to be booked - and after the free-kick had initially been half-cleared, Chaplin hit a low shot at the near post which John Marquis deflected behind.
As the game moved past the 10-minute mark Town began to control the game with Edwards, Penney and Chaplin interchanging on the left. On 11, Evans crossed from the right and Bonne headed over but having strayed offside.
Moments later, Curtis was booked for clattered into Janoi Donacien on the touchline with the ball going nowhere and, after arguing the toss with referee Josh Smith, was booked.
There was a scare for the Blues in the 15th minute when Pompey skipper Brown took the ball on down the left after Curtis had beaten Donacien in the air and crossed low for Marcus Harness, who shot low but wide from the edge of the box when he will feel he ought to have done better.
Harness got his name in the book for a late challenge on Blues skipper Morsy on 18, showing his frustration after having an appeal for a free-kick of his own turned down moments earlier.
Town had seen most of the ball but with Pompey having looked more dangerous when breaking.
On 24 Nsiala allowed a ball to slip under his foot but Edmundson got across to cover and was eventually fouled by Marquis.
Five minutes later, Edmundson was booked for a relatively minor foul on Curtis on the touchline on the right.
Pompey saw more of the ball as the half moved into its final minutes with the Blues ragged.
But in the 41st minute they went in front. There seemed little danger for Pompey but keeper Gavin Bazunu dwelled on the ball after it had been passed back to him by KSean Raggett and Bonne closed him down and took it off him as the Irish international glovesman tried to take it inside him.
The striker just managed to keep it in play, then showing a Marcus Stewart-like composure, cut back inside as Bazunu slid in before lashing into the top corner of the empty net.
It was a brilliant goal created and converted by Bonne, who has taken his season’s total for the Blues to 10 already in only 10 league starts and two sub appearances.
Town looked a more composed side as they played out the final minutes of the half with the whistle greeted by boos from the home fans.
While Bonne deserved his goal for his tenacity as much as anything else, neither side had looked like scoring prior to that, aside from Harness’s effort for the home side.
The Blues’ performance had drifted in the spell prior to the goal but having gone in front they looked to have regained control in the minutes prior to the break.
Town now need to hold on to - or extend - their lead in the second half.
Portsmouth: Bazunu, Freeman, Raggett, Williams, Romeo, Tunnicliffe, Morrell, Brown (c), Harness, Curtis, Marquis. Subs: Bass, Ogilvie, Thompson, Azeez, Hackett, Hirst, Jacobs.
Town: Walton, Donacien, Edmundson, Nsiala, Penney, Morsy (c), Evans, Aluko, Chaplin, Edwards, Bonne. Subs: Hladky, Burgess, Harper, El Mizouni, Burns, Celina, Barry. Referee: Josh Smith (Bedfordshire).
Photo: Matchday Images
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