|Ipswich Town 2 v 1 Fleetwood Town|
SkyBet League One
Saturday, 23rd October 2021 Kick-off 15:00
Ipswich Town 2-1 Fleetwood Town - Match Report
Saturday, 23rd Oct 2021 17:05
Bersant Celina smashed home an injury time winner as Town beat Fleetwood 2-1 at Portman Road to record back-to-back league victories for the first time under Paul Cook. Conor Chaplin gave the Blues the lead with a sharp shot four minutes after the break but the Cod Army looked to be on their way to a point after Callum Morton had equalised on 82 until Celina lashed home his first goal of his second spell with the Blues three minutes into added-on time.
Boss Cook named the same team that beat Portsmouth 4-0 at Fratton Park on Tuesday. Christian Walton continued in goal with Janoi Donacien at right-back, Matt Penney at left-back and Toto Nsiala and George Edmundson the centre-halves.
Lee Evans was alongside skipper Sam Morsy in the centre of midfield with Kyle Edwards on the left and Sone Aluko on the right, Conor Chaplin the number 10 and Macauley Bonne the central striker.
Joe Pigott returned to the bench having missed the last two games following his father’s death. For Fleetwood, former Town striker Joe Garner was among the substitutes.
Co-owner Brett Johnson, watching the side the Gamechanger 20 Ltd ownership group took over in April live for the first time, was applauded by the Portman Road support as he took his seat in the directors’ box.
Town started the game on the front foot and Edwards struck the first shot of the match in the third minute following an Evans short corner on the left but hit his effort over the bar.
Soon after, Donacien crossed from the right, Bonne nodded back from the byline but visiting keeper and skipper Alex Cairns grabbed it above Chaplin.
Fleetwood threatened for the first time in the 10th minute from a free-kick midway inside the Town half. The cleverly-worked set piece saw Harrison Biggins, son of ex-Norwich City striker Wayne, lay the ball off to Ged Garner on the edge of the area. The frontman feinted away from one man but took too long and Donacien blocked.
The Cod Army were having a decent spell with the Blues unable to push out of their half until the 13th minute when George Edmundson headed the ball in the net from an Evans free-kick on the right but with the linesman’s raised flag coming as little surprise.
The Blues - and the stands - had been a little flat and the performance lacking in tempo, but in the 17th minute Aluko took a free-kick in the centre circle quickly and after the ball was returned to him, the Nigerian international played a clever ball in behind the defence for Bonne to chase, however, the striker was offside.
Moments later, Bonne had an excellent chance to add to his 10 goals when Chaplin floated a ball from the left but the on-loan QPR man’s header was too close to Cairns, who claimed.
But it was Fleetwood who would see most of the ball and play the more composed football as the game moved towards the half hour. On 27, Dan Batty did well on the right and cut back to Garner with space to shoot but Evans did well to close down and block.
Three minutes later, Aluko sent over a corner from the right which Cairns got a hand to ahead of Nsiala, who as a result headed over at the far post.
In the 32nd minute, Chaplin was tripped by James Hill as he turned after receiving a ball to feet and looked to be in on goal 10 yards outside the area. Hill was booked and the free-kick came to nothing.
Aluko shot wide from distance in the 35th minute with the Blues on top but making little headway.
On 42, Bonne headed a right-wing cross wide, while a Max Clark ball into the box from the Fleetwood right was diverted into the air with Walton claiming.
An underwhelming half from the Blues, who started positively but failed to maintain their impetus with their display pedestrian and lacking in tempo. Off the pitch, the Portman Road crowd had been surprisingly subdued in the wake of Tuesday’s result.
The one standout opportunity was Bonne’s header but the striker was unable to direct the ball away from the keeper.
Fleetwood had been neat and tidy and had looked threatening on occasion with one or two desperate defensive blocks from Town defenders but with keeper Walton not required to make a save.
Chaplin almost found himself in behind the Fleetwood defence within seconds of the restart, but the ball just wouldn’t run for the former Barnsley man and then also for Bonne.
But Chaplin, co-owner Johnson and the rest of the Portman Road crowd didn’t have to wait too much longer for a goal.
The forward received a 49th-minute pass from Morsy inside the D, made himself space with his first touch before smashing a low left-foot shot past Cairns with the keeper not even able to make a move before it hit the back of the net.
Town had started the half with greater intensity than they had ended the first and the Blues subsequently looked to build on Chaplin’s fifth goal of the season.
Edwards wasn’t too far away in the 58th minute when he was found in space on the left of the box by Evans and hit a shot which Cairns did well to stop.
The Blues were forced into a change on the hour after Aluko suffered what looked to be a broken nose. Wes Burns took over.
Fleetwood had rarely got out of their half since the break but soon after the substitution Batty hit a low free-kick at Walton’s right post which the keeper did well to get down to to push behind.
Town swapped Edwards, who had had one or two moments without really stamping his mark on the game, for Celina in the 65th minute, while the Cod Army brought on ex-Canary Anthony Pilkington for Clark.
There was a scare for the Blues in the 68th minute when Garner found himself in a promising position on the right of the area with a number of Town defenders hesitant about making a tackle. Eventually, the Fleetwood striker hit his shot too close to Walton, who saved. Fleetwood were showing some fight with the game far from over.
Town immediately broke up the other end, Chaplin finding Celina with a deft touch and the Kosovan international taking it on and returning the ball on the left of the area but the ex-Portsmouth man’s cross was too close to the keeper.
In the 71st minute Jay Matete was booked for needlessly sending Morsy flying well after the ball had departed.
The Blues began to restore their dominance and a minute later Burns tricked his way in from the right but his low cross was cleared from inside the six-yard box.
Chances started to come more frequently. Cairns saved from Bonne, then Evans looped a cross in from the right and Burns turned a shot over.
In the 75th minute sections of the Town support thought the Blues had hit their second of the game but Burns’s strike from the right of the box had merely smashed into the side-netting.
Two minutes later, Fleetwood’s free-kick expert Danny Andrew had a chance to add to his four set-piece goals already this season but sent the ball well into the Sir Alf Ramsey Stand. On 79 Callum Johnson was yellow-carded for a foul on Celina.
Fleetwood had never looked out of the game and in the 82nd minute they levelled. Sub Paddy Lane looped a cross from the right to the far post and Morton headed home with Town appealing that the striker was offside to no avail.
Having conceded, the Blues went looking for the goal which would put them back in front, a defender’s toe just preventing Chaplin from playing in Burns on the right of the box.
As the game moved into its penultimate scheduled minute, Evans crossed from the right to Bonne, who headed across goal but well wide.
Town were pushing for the goal which would prove to be the winner as the match moved into five minutes of injury time but without looking particularly convincing.
However, three minutes into added-on time. Evans’s deep cross from the left reached Donacien at the back of the box from where the right-back knocked it back across goal for Celina, who volleyed home the first goal of his second spell with the club before celebrating by waving his shirt around his head and throwing it into the Sir Bobby Robson Stand.
After Celina had been booked for his overzealous celebration, Chaplin was replaced for the final couple of minutes by Cameron Burgess but there was little opportunity for the centre-half to get involved before the final whistle confirmed co-owner Johnson had witnessed a victory on his first visit to Portman Road.
While Town deserved the three points on the balance of the game, they were never hugely convincing and Fleetwood always seemed to have a chance of taking something from the match.
The visitors’ leveller might have seen heads drop but that was never the case with Town getting on with the job in hand of restoring their lead with Celina the man on the spot to slam home after great work from Donacien.
Back-to-back league wins for the first time under manager Cook sees Town move to 10th only four points off the play-offs ahead of a visit to leaders Plymouth, who drew 1-1 at Morecambe today, next Saturday.
Town: Walton, Donacien, Edmundson, Nsiala, Penney, Morsy (c), Evans, Aluko (Burns 60), Chaplin (Burgess 90), Edwards (Celina 65), Bonne. Unused: Hladky, Harper, El Mizouni, Pigott.
Fleetwood: Cairns (c), Andrew, Morton, Garner (Lane 75), Matete, McLaughlin (Carl Johnston 81), Hill, Batty, Callum Johnson, Biggins, Clark. Subs: Crellin, Garner, Pilkington, Edmondson, Teale. Referee: Sam Allison (Wiltshire). 20,099 (Fleetwood: 133).
Photo: Matchday Images
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