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Ipswich Town 2-2 Arsenal U21s (3-4 on pens) - Match Report
Wednesday, 1st Dec 2021 21:56

Town’s Papa John’s Trophy campaign came to an end after they were beaten 4-3 on penalties by Arsenal’s U21s following a 2-2 draw having been 2-0 in front at half-time. Kayden Jackson scored twice for the Blues on 31 and 43 but a Kane Vincent-Young own goal and a Flo Balogun strike levelled the game and the young Gunners won the shootout with Bersant Celina and Joe Pigott both missing their spot-kicks.

Town boss Paul Cook made XI changes with Vaclav Hladky starting in goal, Vincent-Young at right-back, Matt Penney on the left and Luke Woolfenden and Cameron Burgess, who skippered, the centre-halves.

In midfield, Tom Carroll, playing his first game since the end of September following a hip flexor problem, was the deepest of the central three with Idris El Mizouni ahead of the former QPR man to his left and Rekeem Harper to his right. Kyle Edwards was on the left and Kayden Jackson on the right with Pigott up front.

The Blues also named a strong bench with no youngsters featuring, despite a number of them missing yesterday’s U23s game. On-loan Aston Villa striker Louie Barry was also absent from the squad.

Former England international Jack Wilshere, who has been training with his old club in recent weeks, travelled as part of the Arsenal U21s’ coaching staff, who were led by former Barnsley and Wycombe striker Kevin Betsy.

After the very sparse Portman Road crowd had applauded both teams taking a knee, the visitors struck the game’s first shot from a 25-yard free-kick but the strike was little trouble for Hladky.

Town first threatened in the fifth minute when Pigott was sent away down the right by Woolfenden’s clearance. The striker took the ball away from his man and spotted a gap to Ovie Ejeheri’s left but the keeper was able to claim comfortably to his left.

Omari Hutchinson hit the game’s next shot at goal wide from 25 yards with the Blues subsequently starting to see most of the ball.

On 16 Vincent-Young sent over a dangerous-looking cross from the right towards Pigott which was headed out for a corner.

Four minutes later, Carroll crossed from the left following a long spell of Town possession and El Mizouni smashed a shot against Joel Lopez from the edge of the box.

Town continued to dominate with Arsenal only seeing anything of the ball after a rare misplaced Blues pass. On 25 Vincent-Young crossed from the right and Omar Rekik just got in ahead of Pigott as he sought to head goalwards.

Harper poked a weak effort through to Ejeheri on 28 from Edwards’s pass in from the left.

Three minutes later, the Blues went in front. Having perhaps been overly intricate in their approach play up to that point, Jackson decided to take matters into his own hands after picking up a loose ball 25 yards out to the right, from where he smashed a low shot which caught the first defender before going under Ejeheri’s left arm.

The strike was Jackson’s first goal of the season and his first since the 2-1 win at Plymouth on December 5th, four days short of a year ago.

Charlie Patino became the first player to get his name in referee Brett Huxtable’s book on 34 for a foul on Vincent-Young midway inside the Town half.

Arsenal went close to levelling the scores in the 40th minute when Lopez’s header from a cross from the right looped on to the top of the bar before Hladky claimed.

Having waited almost a year for a goal, Jackson’s second came only 12 minutes after his first. Penney whipped over a ball from the angle of the area on the left and the striker turned past Ejeheri from eight yards.

Moments before the half-time whistle, Gunners skipper Flo Balogun, a scorer in the visitors’ 2-1 win in the same competition last season, shot across the face and wide from the left of the area.

Town were worthy of their lead at the break having been in control for most of the half and with Jackson having taken his opportunities with confidence belying his long spell without a first-team goal.

Arsenal’s youngsters showed typical composure on the ball and threatened occasionally with Lopez’s header the closest they came to a goal.

The Gunners swapped Patino for Salah Oulad-M’Hand ahead of the second half with the Blues beginning the period positively.

On 50 Pigott slammed a free-kick from 20 yards, which he had won himself, into the wall.

Town’s lead should have been extended to three goals in the 54th minute when Vincent-Young crossed from the right and El Mizouni headed over from six yards when it looked easier to hit the target.

Arsenal began to look more dangerous and should have pulled a goal back on the hour when Balogun was threaded in one-on-one with Hladky by Omari Hutchinson but Burgess got back to stab the ball away from the striker and the keeper claimed.

A minutes later, Balogun had another opportunity. Zak Swanson crossed from the right but Balogun was unable to get enough on it to direct it goalwards at the far post. The US-born frontman should probably have attacked it with the other foot.

Town went close to their third in the 64th minute when Ejeheri saved sharply from Harper’s shot after the ball had fallen to the midfielder just outside the area, the keeper doing brilliantly to get across to his left to tip over the bar.

Two minutes later, Balogun shot over for the Gunners with the ball catching a Town player on its way.

And from the corner, the visitors pulled a goal back, Swanson’s flag-kick finding the back of the net off Vincent-Young, who appeared to be trying to get out of the way of the ball after hearing a call from Hladky.

Having looked out of the match completely at half-time, the young Gunners equalised in the 71st minute, Balogun, who had been having a tough night until that point, slipping the ball between Hladky and his left post from a tight angle after exchanging passes with Hutchinson.

Town had once again allowed an opposition back into a game which had looked won and on 77 the visitors weren’t far from a third when Rekik headed a Hutchinson free-kick from the right straight at Hladky.

The Blues’ performance had drifted badly, perhaps due to having so many players in the side with few recent games under their belts.

On 79 manager Paul Cook made a triple change with Lee Evans, Celina and Janoi Donacien replacing Harper, Edwards and Vincent-Young.

The changes appeared to have an impact and in the 81st minute Pigott headed Donacien’s cross from the right only just wide. Moments later, Lopez was booked for handball.

Pigott struck an effort from the edge of the box which Ejeheri palmed beyond his left post, then following the resultant corner Celina sent a shot high and wide from the edge of the box.

Town were showing more urgency and playing the game at a greater tempo. On 85 Penney was played in on the left of the box but his low cross was cut out and the corner came to nothing.

In the 87th minute the Blues thought they’d won it when Jackson whipped in a low cross from the right and Pigott slammed into the net, but the linesman raised his flag for offside.

Donacien was booked for a foul as the game moved into four minutes of injury time, Town then swapping El Mizouni, who moments earlier had claimed what would have been a very generous penalty, for Conor Chaplin. Seconds later, Balogun shot well over the bar on the turn from inside the area.

Moments before the whistle, Penney and Celina exchanged passes on the left and the former Sheffield Wednesday man cut across the area but the ball was turned out of play at the far post with no Town player adding a touch.

That was the final action of the 90 minutes with the game going straight to penalties, as had been the case in the Blues’ previous Papa John’s Trophy game against Colchester.

Lee Evans took Town’s first kick at the Sir Bobby Robson Stand end and slammed it into the corner of the net to the keeper’s right.

Balogun, after some delay due to Ejeheri retreating to the wrong side of the goal, did much the same with his penalty to make it 1-1.

Chaplin smashed his spot-kick straight down the middle to restore the Blues’ lead before Lopez stroked his low into the corner just beyond Hladky’s right hand.

Celina was next for Town and took a slow run up before hitting a weak kick which was easy for Ejeheri.

However, Rekik’s subsequent penalty for Arsenal was well saved by Hladky to his left to keep the score at 2-2.

Pigott was next for Town but hit his kick off Ejeheri’s right post and Mika Biereth gave the Gunners a 3-2 lead with a penalty straight down the middle before exchanging words with Hladky and the fans behind the goal.

Two-goal Jackson found the net with his penalty to level at 3-3 but Hutchinson belted the visitors’ final penalty into the top corner to win the tie 4-3 on penalties.

Town were again guilty of allowing an opposition side who looked beaten back into the game and the defeat on penalties ends their involvement in the Papa John’s Trophy for another season.

Town: Hladky, Vincent-Young (Donacien 79), Woolfenden, Burgess (c), Penney, El Mizouni (Chaplin 90), Carroll, Edwards (Celina 79), Harper (Evans 79), Jackson, Pigott. Unused: Holy, Fraser, Kenlock.

Arsenal U21s: Ejeheri, Norton-Cuffy, Rekik, Ogungbo, Lopez, Patino (Oulad-M’Hand 46), Akinola, Swanson (Alebiousi 89), Hutchinson, Balogun (c), Biereth. Unused: Mitchell, Olayinka, Taylor-Hart, Cozier-Duberry, Ideho. Referee: Brett Huxtable (Devon). Att: 4,065 (Arsenal: 244).

Photo: Matchday Images

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BromleyBloo added 21:56 - Dec 1
So not much in it until the first goal and then we dominated and totally in control, only more so after Jackson’s second. KVY very good and Woolfy also. Never rated Jackson and surely with Norwood, he goes in Jan, but prepared to shoot and score and his second was a class finish.

So, what do we do again? Get lazy and casual, go to sleep and, yet again, invite them back in to the game - terrible, why can’t we see a game out/how dumb and amateurish can we be???

Okay so it doesn’t really matter, but how can we lose a game like that - hang your heads, again………………

3 wins in a week - having a giraffe!!!

Gilesy added 21:57 - Dec 1
Something isn't right for this to happen week after week no matter who's in the team.

DifferentGravy added 21:58 - Dec 1
Not bothered by comp but annoyed we threw away 2-0 lead. They werent in it for 65 mins....sigh.

Positives.....not a fan of Kayden as a player but he was played out of position (again) and played well(and scored his pen). El Miz was example to others. KVY put in a very good shift.

fallguy1234 added 21:59 - Dec 1
It can’t get any worse, COOK OUT NOW

pablo123 added 21:59 - Dec 1

DaGremloid added 22:00 - Dec 1
Seriously, what does this clown manager say to the team at half-time? This is happening almost every game. Never mind the penalty misses – penalties are usually always a lottery – we should have won that in normal time. Totally pathetic.

And since when did we become a club who doesn’t care about cup games? When did some fans start not to care about cup games? What’s wrong with having a cup run? I was going to say we stood a chance of winning this competition with the supposed decent squad we’ve got. Then I remembered whose in charge...


bixleyboy added 22:02 - Dec 1
They say a 2 goal lead is a dangerous one.

midastouch added 22:03 - Dec 1
ITFC = Ipswich Town Forget Cups!
It's so depressing, we can't even beat a bunch of kids!

SpiritOfJohn added 22:03 - Dec 1
Sounded like the triple substitution came too late. Not sure why Cook didn't take decisive action sooner...

DifferentGravy added 22:04 - Dec 1
Dagremloid.....ive never been bothered by this comp. The league cup...ok...........the fa cup YES.....and any european comp DEF.

If I am that desperate to go to Wembley I will get the train in to jolly ol Lundun.

If we had continued in the comp then fair enough.....but not losing sleep over it. Just annoyed with second half performance.

mightyhorse added 22:04 - Dec 1
Thank you Mr Cook and goodbye. Time to pull the trigger. The players are just not responding. Time to go.

VanDusen added 22:05 - Dec 1
All I can say is - good. Joke competition and we should never be playing these teams to shore up the Premier League monopoly. May the EFL get an Arsenal U21 v Chelsea U21 final at Wembley in front of 2000 people. Also - isn't this the lowest Ipswich home crowd ever? Seems not even the fans want these nonsense games.

Let's now go and beat Barrow in a proper cup and play the proper Arsenal in the 3rd round!

Barty added 22:05 - Dec 1
Embarrassing- lost for words other than Cook out now

Bert added 22:06 - Dec 1
The attendance would seem to indicate that this competition is of little benefit to anyone.

del45 added 22:07 - Dec 1
This club is now a embarrassment now we lose against kids can we get any lower.

SickParrot added 22:08 - Dec 1
We were never going to win all 3 games so this was the least important but the failure to hold onto a 2 goal lead yet again, especially against an under 21 side, shows that the mentality of this squad is sadly lacking.

multiplescoregasms added 22:08 - Dec 1
Looking forward to him telling us how good Arsenal were, and how well we played. What the fluck did he say to them at half time?? I Can't wait until Saturday to see who the turd puts in for yet another disappointment. Just go mate. This can't go on.

Elizabeth added 22:09 - Dec 1
Absolute dross .. why oh why so many changes ? Totally clueless and inept managing / coaching .. We will never get out of this league with the current personnel .. but who else is there who would want the job .. languishing in league one and going nowhere .. we need a blxxxx miracle !!

Northstandveteran added 22:09 - Dec 1
Currently wearing my

"Not in the least bit surprised" face.

Still, at least it can't get any worse.......

runningout added 22:09 - Dec 1
Our lot of numbskulls are looking like the lowest form of professional footballers. Naive beyond words. If they can’t wake up and get off their elevated perch, it will cost their manager his job sooner rather than later

dukey44 added 22:11 - Dec 1
Sorry yes it's a tosh cup but this man isn't good enough as our manager.. Time to move on..

itfchorry added 22:11 - Dec 1

Will not have Our Club embarrassed anymore.

Thanks Mr Cook - Now have to face an office
of Arsenal Supporters tomorrow morning.

By the way your record at the Club stinks.

Foreverdon_Blue added 22:13 - Dec 1
Enough is enough, Cook has to go NOW!!!!!

multiplescoregasms added 22:13 - Dec 1
It doesn't matter what your opinion is of the Papa Johns or how many turn up to watch it. The issue is how a team of experienced professional footballers can turn a 2-0 lead into a loss ion penalties. That 2nd half was shocking, there was nothing good about it. The performance is a major issue yet again. Still, gives us breathing space to claim that mid table spot for the next few months. Cock.

midastouch added 22:19 - Dec 1
They say don't waste your life worrying about things that will never happen, such as Ipswich going back to Wembley! :-(

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