|Ipswich Town 2 v 1 Crewe Alexandra|
SkyBet League One
Sunday, 28th November 2021 Kick-off 15:00
Ipswich Town 2-1 Crewe Alexandra - Match Report
Sunday, 28th Nov 2021 17:04
A Luke Offord own goal and a brilliant Bersant Celina chip saw the Blues to a 2-1 victory over bottom club Crewe Alexandra at Portman Road. Offord turned a Sone Aluko cross past his own keeper in the third minute, then Celina added a fantastic second in first-half injury time. Chris Long’s 73rd minute goal for the Railwaymen made the closing stages more nervy than they ought to have been with Town having missed plenty of chances to put the game out of sight.
Aluko returned to the Blues’ starting line-up in an otherwise unchanged XI. Aluko, who missed the Rotherham game following his father’s death, started on the right with Lee Evans dropping to the bench.
Scott Fraser moved into the middle of midfield alongside skipper Sam Morsy, while Celina was on the left with Conor Chaplin behind lone striker Macauley Bonne.
Former Town academy youngster Ben Knight was among the Crewe Alexandra substitutes.
After the players taking the knee had been warmly applauded by the chilly but expectant Portman Road crowd, the Blues got off to a brilliant start, scoring in only the third minute.
After Janoi Donacien’s first ball across the area had been blocked, but Aluko tricked his way in from the right along the byline beating two men before his low cross was diverted into the net by Alex defender Offord.
Town maintained the early pressure with Aluko continuing to give Crewe left wing-back Rio Adebisi a tough time.
On eight, a free-kick from the right was nodded out for a corner ahead of Bonne. Following the flag-kick, Celina’s cross got caught under Zac Williams before keeper Dave Richards claimed with Town appeals that the defender had handled falling on deaf ears.
There was a scare for the Blues in the 14th minute when Crewe broke quickly from their own area but Long dallied over his pass and Oliver Finney eventually fell over his own feet when he finally received the ball.
On 16 Celina exchanged passes with Chaplin midway inside the Crewe half but the Kosovan’s through ball for Bonne was cut out by a defender.
Two minutes later, there was another shaky moment for the Blues which resulted in Long smashing a shot from the edge of the area which Christian Walton tipped over the bar.
Donacien spent a spell receiving treatment for what looked like a side injury with Kane Vincent-Young preparing to come on before the Town number 44 indicated he was OK to remain on the field.
With Town’s early game intensity having dropped - although with Aluko in particularl still looking dangerous when breaking - Crewe threatened again on 22 when Finney turned a half-volley over from the edge of the box.
Just after the half hour, Celina was clearly angered with Offord after an off-the-ball clash with the visitors’ defender. Referee James Oldham spoke to the pair but without showing any cards.
Town began to restore their earlier dominance, Bailey Clements making a dangerous run down the left before his cross was cut out, then on 36 Chaplin sent over a ball from the same flank which appeared to catch a Crewe player taking it away from Bonne, although the officials awarded the throw-in to the Railwaymen.
Crewe were next to threaten. Following a break down the right, Porter nodded across goal from the far post and Clements did well to get ahead of Finney and then the hastily retreating Celina was able to finally clear.
On 39 Tom Lowery blazed over from the edge of the area with the Blues again looking unconvincing at the back.
In the 43rd minute, with Town looking dominant again, Aluko played in Donacien on the right of the box and the full-back’s dangerous low ball was cleared from inside the six-yard area.
Town should have been two goals in front following the resultant corner. After the ball was cleared, Morsy struck a powerful shot which Richards saved but couldn’t hold. Chaplin dived at the loose ball and seemed certain to score but the ball arced just the wrong side of the post.
With the game in injury time and the half-time whistle only seconds away, Celina brilliantly took down a George Edmundson long ball 25 yards out before spotting Richards off his line and deftly chipping the keeper, the ball irresistibly dropping just under the bar into the top corner of the net to make it 2-0.
It was a goal up there with any the on-loan Dijon man has scored in either of his spells with the Blues and was his fourth of the season.
That was the final action of a half in which the Blues had started like a house on fire before their performance drifted allowing the opposition back into it, , as on a number of other occasions this season, but fortunately without the Railwaymen finding a serious chance from which they might have levelled.
Town got their foot back on the pedal in the latter stages and really ought to have doubled their lead through Chaplin, although it was one of those opportunities where a player throws himself at a loose ball rather than having too much time to think about where it’s going.
But they didn’t have to wait too long for the second via Celina’s moment of brilliance, which should have put the game out of the visitors’ reach.
Three minutes after the restart, Williams was booked for pulling back Aluko with Town having started the second period much as they had ended the first. Fraser’s free-kick looped into the box but just too far in front of Bonne and Richards claimed.
On 49 Clements got his name in the book for pulling back Lowery and in the wake of the subsequent free-kick Porter headed weakly towards goal and Walton was able to grab with little fanfare.
Aluko scuffed through to Richards from the edge of the box on 54, then within a minute Bonne curled wide after cutting in from the left.
Crewe swapped Scott Kashkent for Mikael Mandron in the 56th minute, seconds after Toto Nsiala had turned the ball behind with the visitors in a dangerous position in the Blues box.
Aluko went close to making it 3-0 in the 63rd minute when Donacien’s cross from the right was cleared into his path but his volley looped not too far wide. Two minutes later, Nsiala headed over at the back post from Celina’s left-sided corner.
Town immediately made a double change, Kyle Edwards and Evans replacing Chaplin and Aluko, who was given a warm ovation as he left the field after another hugely impressive display.
Celina moved to the right with Edwards on the left and Evans and Fraser ahead of Morsy in the centre.
Bonne should have made it 3-0 in the 68th minute after a superbly crafted Town move. Edwards fed in Celina on the right of the box and the former Manchester City youngster cut across to Bonne, who slammed over as he broke into the box at pace.
Crewe pulled a goal back out of nothing in the 73rd minute, Mandron cutting into the area on the right before hitting a low shot which Long diverted past Walton to his left.
Suddenly the Railwaymen saw a way back into the game and on 77 Mandron shot over. A minute later, Edmundson slipped on halfway and Crewe broke away on goal but Long scraped across the face and well wide.
Town might have done better a minute later when Bonne fed Edwards on the left of the box. The former West Brom man played in Fraser to his left but Richards blocked the Scot’s effort from a very tight angle.
The Blues threatened again on 81 when Edwards teed-up Celina on the edge of the box but his shot bounced wide.
Despite Town having had more than enough opportunities to put the game to bed, Crewe continued to have their moments. On 84 Long was slipped in on goal but Walton did well to divert wide, although the linesman’s flag had been raised. A minute later, ex-Blues youngster Knight was introduced for Regan Griffiths.
In the 86th minute Edwards made a strong run from deep into the area holding off a number of defenders before smashing his strike high and wide. Soon after, Edmundson was booked for impeding Richards as the keeper looked to clear following a Town corner.
Town found themselves under pressure in the closing moments with Fraser making an important challenge to clear the most significant moment of danger.
Seconds before the whistle confirmed Town’s victory, the midfielder played in Bonne but the striker was thwarted by Richards, taking his run of goalless games to five matches.
The Blues had more than enough chances to seal the three points during the second half but once again made the closing stages nervy for themselves. While the sides’ 6-4 from 2004 was never on the cards, the scoreline could easily have been something along the lines of 5-2.
Town once again showed their inconsistency within games, having spells where they were totally dominant, but without taking enough of their chances, then allowing the opposition to get themselves back into the match and have opportunities.
The highlight of the match was undoubtedly Celina’s goal, which is unlikely to be bettered in League One or many other divisions this season.
The win sees the Blues climb to 11th in the table, seven points off the play-offs and 11 from the top two ahead of two home cup ties, the Papa John’s Trophy game with Arsenal’s U21s on Wednesday and League Two Barrow in the FA Cup next Saturday.
Town: Walton, Donacien, Nsiala, Edmundson, Clements, Morsy (c), Fraser, Aluko (Evans 66), Chaplin (Edwards 66), Celina, Bonne. Unused: Hladky, Burgess, Vincent-Young, Evans, Harper, Edwards, Pigott.
Crewe: Richards, Offord, Long, Lowery, Porter (c), Finney, Griffiths (Knight 85), Sass-Davies, Williams, Kashket (Mandron 56). Unused: Jaaskelainen, Thomas, Gomes, Lundstram, Woodthorpe. Referee: James Oldham (Derbyshire). Att: 18,883 (Crewe: 225).
Photo: Matchday Images
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