|Portsmouth 0 v 4 Ipswich Town|
SkyBet League One
Tuesday, 19th October 2021 Kick-off 19:45
Portsmouth 0-4 Ipswich Town - Match Report
Tuesday, 19th Oct 2021 21:42
Macauley Bonne, Conor Chaplin, Sone Aluko and Wes Burns were on target as the Blues thrashed Portsmouth 4-0 at Fratton Park. Bonne gave Town the lead with his 10th of the season four minutes before the break when he embarrassed home keeper Gavin Bazunu, then Chaplin netted against his old side on 54 and Aluko made it 3-0 four minutes later, before Burns added the fourth in the 75th to complete the rout.
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 Chaplin continued in the number 10 role and Aluko was again on the right having scored twice at the Abbey Stadium with Bersant Celina and 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 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 were leading at half-time for the sixth successive away game in all competitions and they will have been all too aware that they had won only two of those matches.
But nine minutes after the restart, having been on top but via their first real attack of the second period, the Blues doubled their lead.
Donacien sent over a well-struck low cross from the right and Chaplin deftly guided a first-time effort into the corner of the net giving Bazunu no chance. Chaplin, who had come through the ranks at Pompey from the age of six, conspicuously failed to celebrate his fourth goal of the season, all in the last six matches.
Four minutes later, it was 3-0. Evans intercepted in midfield, Chaplin played wide to Aluko and the Nigerian international’s scuffed shot crept under Bazunu and over the line. It was another bad error from the keeper, who also conceded a howler during Saturday’s 4-1 loss at Rotherham.
The home fans’ frustrations were audible with boos ringing around the ground, while an apple core was thrown towards Town manager Cook from the stand and onto the pitch for a second time since the break.
In the 64th minute Town swapped Edwards for Burns, while Pompey switched Marquis for George Hirst, the son of former England international David. Five minutes later, the home side replaced Harness with Reeco Hackett.
Morsy was booked for a foul on Kieron Freeman on 72 before Portsmouth, who were looking a well beaten side, swapped Connor Ogilvie for Shaun Williams.
Ogilvie’s first involvement saw Burns run at him down the right in the 75th minute before hitting a shot from a tight angle which Bazunu saved at his near post.
But the Welshman had to wait less than a minute before bagging his second goal of the season. Donacien crossed low from the right and Burns slammed a low shot past Bazunu.
As the Town players and fans celebrated, the home support chanted “This is embarrassing”.
On 78 Chaplin was replaced to warm applause from his old fans, which he acknowledged as he left the field on the far side, leading to chants of ‘He’s one of our own” from the Pompey support. Rekeem Harper took over for the Blues.
Blues keeper Walton was forced into his first serious save in the 80th minute when Hirst was found in space on the right of the box and hit a shot at his near post.
From the corner, a couple of Pompey shots were charged down before Burns broke and found Bonne, whose shot was blocked.
Celina replaced Aluko, who will be delighted to have added another goal to his two on Saturday, in the 85th minute.
The home fans had been ironically singing ‘We’ve got the ball” in the final minutes and renewed their boos at the final whistle, while the Town players went over to applaud the 1,260-strong Town support.
At half-time the game was far from won, particularly given the Blues’ record for allowing leads to slip.
But Town began the second half strongly and the goals from Chaplin and Aluko quickly put the game beyond Portsmouth and Burns’s strike added some icing.
An important win for the Blues, who hadn't won at Fratton Park since 2012, after the disappointment at Cambridge on Saturday and one manager Cook will have particularly enjoyed against his old club.
The Blues, who have now taken 14 points from their last seven games and have lost only one of their last eight in all competitions, winning five, are now up to 13th, five points off the play-offs as it stands with Fleetwood visiting Portman Road on Saturday. The season finally seems to have started to come together.
Portsmouth: Bazunu, Freeman, Raggett, Williams (Ogilvie 73), Romeo, Tunnicliffe, Morrell, Brown (c), Harness (Hackett 69), Curtis, Marquis (Hirst 64). Unused: Bass, Thompson, Azeez, Jacobs.
Town: Walton, Donacien, Edmundson, Nsiala, Penney, Morsy (c), Evans, Aluko (Celina 85), Chaplin (Harper 78), Edwards (Burns 64), Bonne. Unused: Hladky, Burgess, El Mizouni, Barry. Referee: Josh Smith (Bedfordshire). Att: 16,301 (Town: 1,260).
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