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Gillingham 0 v 4 Ipswich Town
SkyBet League One
Saturday, 8th January 2022 Kick-off 15:00
Gillingham 0-4 Ipswich Town - Match Report
Saturday, 8th Jan 2022 17:01

First-half goals from James Norwood, Wes Burns and Macauley Bonne, and a Conor Chaplin penalty in the second saw brilliant Town to a 4-0 victory over 10-man Gillingham at the Priestfield Stadium.

Kieran McKenna’s side played the Gills off the park from the off with perhaps their most complete performance of the season, Norwood giving them the lead on nine, Burns netting the second four minutes later and Bonne ending his goalless run on 23. The home side had Daniel Phillips red-carded for a second bookable offence with 17 minutes remaining, before Chaplin scored from the spot on 85 to complete a memorable afternoon first away game under new manager Kieran McKenna.

Christian Walton returned to an otherwise unchanged Blues side having missed the 1-0 victory over Wycombe Wanderers in McKenna’s first game in charge due to Covid. The on-loan Brighton man replaces Vaclav Hladky, who drops to the bench.

Cameron Burgess, who also had Covid, and Kane Vincent-Young were back on the bench with Scott Fraser and Toto Nsiala dropping out.

For the Gills, former Town loanee Mustapha Carayol started, while academy youngster Stuart O’Keefe skippered.

Ahead of kick-off, as rain continued to fall steadily as it had throughout the day, both teams took a knee.

The Blues, wearing their white and black away kit, got off to a bright start and almost created an opening within the first minute when Wes Burns played a one-two with Macauley Bonne, which looked to have sent the Welshman into the area in the clear but the right wing-back lost his footing on the wet surface on the edge of the box as he took the return pass.

In the fifth minute, a long Ryan Jackson throw from the Gills right was headed well back into the Town fans behind the goal by Vadaine Oliver.

But Town had started very confidently and in the ninth minute they went in front. George Edmundson played a cross-field ball to Janoi Donacien, who exchanged a one-two with Burns before taking it forward to the edge of the area and playing it into Bonne’s feet.

The Blues’ top scorer swept it wide to skipper Sam Morsy, who whipped over a low cross which James Norwood slammed into the net from close range, the striker’s fourth goal in four league games.

After play restarted, Donacien was was shown the first yellow card of the game for a foul on Carayol on the Gillingham left.

In the 13th minute Town doubled their lead. Bonne turned away from his man, brought it forward and laid it to Burns on the right of the box from where the wing-back smashed a shot between Gills keeper Jamie Cumming and his left post. The Welshman delightedly celebrated his fifth goal of the season with his team-mates.

Bonne had played a part in both and in the 24th minute his 10-game goal drought came to an end when he netted the Blues’ third and his 12th of the season from another brilliantly constructed move.

Sone Aluko, in a number 10 role behind Bonne and Norwood, played a defence-splitting pass for Matt Penney on the left and the wing-back cut across to the on-loan QPR man who stroked into the empty net as cheers erupted from the ecstatic - if a little damp on the open terrace - 2,100-strong Town support and boos from the home fans.

The Blues were well worth their three-goal lead having played their slickest football of the season, the additional time on the training ground afforded by the recent postponed matches clearly having paid dividends.

The possession stats at the half-hour of 75-25 in their favour illustrated their domination with their one-touch passing at pace and movement having Gillingham chasing shadows.

The Gills caused the first moment of hesitation in the Blues’ backline in the 39th minute when a Jackson cross hit a Town defender and ran loose but the danger was averted and the Blues quickly went back the looking for a fourth, Burns seeing a dangerous cross headed out at the near post.

In injury time Carayol struck a speculative shot from distance which caught a Town player and went for a corner from which Daniel Phillips was unable to get enough on his header to direct it goalwards.

Moments later, the half-time whistle was greeted by boos from the home support and applause from the travelling Town fans, delighted with their side’s superb display.

The Blues had started confidently and were in control of the half from the off, carving the Gills apart with their slick, fast-paced football as they gained a well-deserved three-goal lead.

Gillingham had looked shell-shocked and had only really shown any threat from a couple of set pieces.

With a mountain to climb in the second half, the Gills swapped David Tutonda for new Norwich City loanee Tom Dickson-Peters.

But Town began the period in the same vein as their first-half performance with the Gills cutting out a couple of early crosses before Aluko was felled 25 yards out, the home side having been unable to get the ball off the Nigerian international legitimately all match.

Evans smashed the resultant free-kick into the wall, then on 54 Bonne screwed a shot wide from a similar distance but to the right.

Four minutes later, Edmundson brought the ball forward some distance before laying off to Morsy, whose effort was blocked by Rhys Bennett.

Walton had to deal with an awkward ball played down the middle following a Town corner in the 62nd minute, the keeper appearing to chest down outside his area as Gills players converged with the home support claiming he’d handled. Referee Alan Young showed no interest and there were few if any protests on the field.

Two minutes later, O’Keefe was booked for catching Evans on the top of his foot with his studs.

On 66 Gillingham assistant manager Paul Raynor joined his club’s skipper after taking his protests too far following a clash between Norwood and Bennett in which he claimed the Town man had used an elbow, although it looked to be half a dozen of one and six of the other with the pair having exchanges words moments earlier.

Penney shot just over from the left moments later, then in the 68th minute Edmundson, again superb at the back for the Blues, brought the ball forward once more and struck a low shot which Cumming bundled away to his right.

At the other end, Phillips scuffed a shot well wide before being shown a yellow card for dissent after claiming his side should have been awarded a corner.

Town made a double change in the 71st minute with Norwood and Bonne replaced by Kayden Jackson and Joe Pigott. Seconds later, as Bonne had selfies taken with the Blues fans as he made his way around the pitch, Aluko shot over from distance.

Two minutes later, the Gills’ afternoon got even worse when they were reduced to 10 men. Phillips, needlessly booked for dissent a few minutes earlier, was shown his second yellow card and then a red for a foul on Penney on halfway.

The once-again-outstanding Aluko made way for Chaplin in the 80th minute shortly before Burns tried to score a replica of his earlier goal but only found the side-netting.

In the 84th minute the Blues were awarded a penalty when Max Ehmer hauled Pigott to the floor as a corner from the left came across.

Sub Chaplin slammed the spot-kick straight down the middle to claim his second goal at the Priestfield this season, having netted in the Papa John’s Trophy tie between the sides earlier in the campaign, and his seventh of the season in total.

Bennett headed well wide for the Gills from a left-sided corner, moments before the Town fans chanted “We want five” to a response of “We want one!” from the home supporters.

Town went within an inch or two of scoring their fifth as the game entered injury time, Pigott battling for a loose ball on the byline inside the area on the right before cutting across to Morsy, whose effort hit the top of the bar.

The final whistle was met by more boos from the home fans as the Town support continued to chant in tribute to their team, who had put in a display to remember.

While the Blues previously won 4-0 away at Portsmouth and 4-1 at Wycombe, this was perhaps a more complete display and if it’s anything like an indicator of the football that will be played throughout McKenna’s time at Portman Road then fans could be in for a treat.

It was men against boys for the most part with Gillingham never allowed to get a foothold in the game as the Blues controlled from start to end and passed the ball around them, while preventing the Kent side from managing a single shot on target.

The win moves Town up a place to 10th now eight points off the play-offs ahead of next Saturday’s visit to Bolton Wanderers.

Gillingham: Cumming, Jackson, Ehmer, Bennett, McKenzie, Tucker, O’Keefe (c), Phillips, Carayol (Lloyd 79), Tutonda (Dickson-Peters 46), Oliver. Unused: Chapman, Sithole, Reeves, Lee, Dempsey.

Town: Walton, Donacien, Woolfenden, Edmundson, Burns, Aluko, Morsy (c), Evans, Penney, Norwood, Bonne (. Unused: Hladky, Vincent-Young, Burgess, Carroll, Chaplin, Jackson, Pigott. Referee: Alan Young (Cambridgeshire). Att: 6,401 (Town: 2,073).

Photo: Pagepix

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BromleyBloo added 17:02 - Jan 8
Fantastic again! Gillingham very poor, but we murdered them - 3 nil up after circa 20 mins and game over. Should’ve/could’ve scored even more, but, unlike previously, we managed the game out and never gave them a sniff of a chance to come back.

Results above us also good, so, let’s go, this could be on - please don’t let this be another false dawn!?!

Aluko and Burns very good - also Morsy, Evans, Edmundson, Penney, but everybody was and we looked so much more comfortable with two up front, albeit against a very poor team that allowed us so much space.

Same again please and onwards and upwards…………….McKenna may be the chosen one!


ShropshireBluenago09 added 17:02 - Jan 8
Top performance again. McKenna has improved us 10 fold. Playing 3-5-2 but flexible within that system. Quick 1 & 2 touch football, pass and move, no fear, all playing with freedom. If only Cook could have been more flexible in his approach we would certainly have been pushing the top 3 by now.


Kingfisher49 added 17:03 - Jan 8
Bet Mr Evans blew a few gaskets this afternoon. Great result.

Ipswichbusiness added 17:03 - Jan 8
That’s more like it.

Well done all!

Monkey_Blue added 17:03 - Jan 8
Not felt this optimistic for a very long time

TimmyH added 17:04 - Jan 8
Good performance all round particularly the first 25 minutes...Morsy, Aluko and Burns the pick but good performances from other players. Question is was it a case of us playing well with some crisp passing and intensity as KM likes to specify or Gillingham being poor? A bit of both I'd suggest!

Great start for KM and 100% win record so far :) - take note Paul Cook!

Saxonblue74 added 17:04 - Jan 8
Superbly entertaining in the first half against a truly appalling Gillingham side. Looked excellent to a man. A more professional 2nd half perhaps. Well down Town, pleased for our travellers, looked grim in there! Happy 2022!

johnwarksshorts added 17:06 - Jan 8
Great performance, we look so much better under McKenna so far, all giving 100%. Toss up for me between Morsy&Aluko for mom. Let's hope this is the start of our winning streak to push on for play offs. COYB Believe!

Saxonblue74 added 17:06 - Jan 8
...well done Town

chopra777 added 17:06 - Jan 8
Perfick down in Kent. KM you are a magician. Our play was good throughout. Onwards and upwards.

Orraman added 17:09 - Jan 8
After the last 3 games great respect to John McGreal who, in just 2 weeks, came up with a team and formation that Cook couldn’t find in 9 months. Carried on by Kieran McK and a superb display today by all concerned

pistolpete added 17:09 - Jan 8
A great result and lovely to finally get a new manager bounce after so many years of disappointment!

This is the team we were promised at the start of the season now that they are being properly coached & allowed to go forwards.

& also, isn't funny to see that playing 2 strikers will get us results after being told by previous managers that playing 2 up front doesn't work!

RobsonWark added 17:10 - Jan 8
The best I've seen Town play for a long, long time. KM has worked wonders with the team already. Hard to pick a MOM as everyone played so well put Morsy and Evans dominated the midfield and were everywhere on the pitch looking for the ball. They were the engine room that kept everyone ticking. Burns had another good game. Edmundson looks better and better in every game. Great to see Bonne break his goal drought - hopefully he'll go on a goal scoring run now. Only critic I have is that after we have a great build up play sometimes our final ball into the box is not so great.


Saxonblue74 added 17:14 - Jan 8
Pistolpete, I agree to an extent but we were lge1 top scorers playing with 1 up.

bringonbrazil added 17:15 - Jan 8
Morsy outstanding. He ran and ran. Superb team performance. Wes Burns way too good for this league. 8 point gap. We can do this. Well done Away fans-sounded loud on ifollow.

Saxonblue74 added 17:16 - Jan 8
Monkey Blue feeling optimistic? Things are looking up!🤣

htb added 17:16 - Jan 8
Very happy with that. The most relaxed I’ve felt watching Ipswich in a long time. A very good team performance looked comfortable all over the pitch. Movement off the ball so much better. Do we dare dream we have turned a corner and found a manager who can really take us forward. Well done to all.

bluesnightorg added 17:17 - Jan 8
THAT is what I'm talking about.

Bluroo added 17:17 - Jan 8
McKenna is a class act.
Quality performance, tactically astute, energetic and committed and easy on the eye.
I wonder how long it will be before those calling the “playoff wishers” delusional will pipe down…
2 weeks ago we needed 15 wins from 23 now it’s down to 13 from 21. So far so good.

ITFC_Cotton added 17:18 - Jan 8
Great stuff, very composed performance all round. Buzzing for those that made the journey knowing the weather would be woeful well done all!

Suffolkboy added 17:18 - Jan 8
What a lovely result and bringing optimism for the weekend ! Well done all concerned and well done to all from ITFC in the open at Gillingham !

graham2408 added 17:19 - Jan 8
Gillingham's poor? Let's face it, they played as well as "new" Ipswich allowed them too.

Bert added 17:20 - Jan 8
What a difference a few weeks has made. Gone is the ponderous, laboured and unenterprising football replaced with tenacious, attacking and positive performances from all over the field.What a tonic this is. Well done KMcK, the team and the backroom staff. Isn't it great that we kept the faith. More high octane performances like this..... add that illusive commodity called consistency and who knows we could possibly get to a play off spot. The new era has begun !

sospier added 17:20 - Jan 8
Outstanding performance from the team.Desire to win great one touch football and superb goals.Not to mention us wonderful supporters.

Bluearmy_81 added 17:21 - Jan 8
Absolutely buzzing to see the team I love own a game like that in league 1. Too right and about time! Keep playing like that and we can make and win the playoffs...

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