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Ipswich Town 0-0 Cheltenham Town - Match Report
Tuesday, 22nd Feb 2022 21:50

Boss Kieran McKenna’s 100 per cent home record with Town came to an end as the Blues were frustrated by Cheltenham, the game ending 0-0. McKenna’s side dominated for most of the match and created enough chances to have claimed the three points.

Bersant Celina, Conor Chaplin and Tom Carroll returned to an XI otherwise unchanged from the 3-0 home victory over Burton Albion on Saturday.

Carroll joined skipper Morsy in the centre of the midfield with Lee Evans having picked up a knee problem late on at the weekend.

Celina and Chaplin started behind Kayden Jackson, who was the central striker having scored one and assisted two against the Brewers. Sone Aluko and Joe Pigott dropped to the bench with James Norwood not in the 18.

Cheltenham, at Portman Road for the first time since a 3-1 Southern League defeat in March 1938, make four changes from their weekend 5-5 draw at Wycombe Wanderers with Lewis Freestone, Reece Hutchinson, Charlie Colkett and Andy Williams in for Ben Williams, who is among only five subs, and William Boyle, Callum Wright and Kion Etete, who are out of the squad.

After the two teams had taken a knee to applause, the Blues got off to a positive start with Chaplin shooting wide from 25 yards in the third minute.

Town should have gone ahead two minutes later when Celina brought the ball forward on the left before sending over a cross which somehow reached one-time Cheltenham loanee Wes Burns breaking towards the far post from where the Welshman was unable to keep his shot down.

Celina continued to be in the thick of the action and on 12, after exchanging passes with Dominic Thompson in the Blues’ half, the Kosovan international brought the ball to the edge of the box before shooting not far over the Robins’ goal.

Town were dominating and in the 17th minute Chaplin twice went close. First the former Barnsley and Portsmouth man hit a sharply-taken shot against a defender from a Burns cross from the right, then when the ball was returned from the other flank sent a diving header towards the corner of the net which visiting keeper Owen Evans palmed away to his right.

Within a minute, Celina shot in to the side-netting, then Chaplin struck an effort which hit a defender and looped up into keeper Evans’s arms.

In the 21st minute, Jackson broke away on the left and sent over a cross which was just too high for Chaplin despite the diminutive forward’s best efforts.

There was a scare for the Blues soon afterwards when keeper Christian Walton played a pass straight to Robins midfielder Elliot Bonds 25 yards out from where he shot over.

Jackson curled a weak effort into Evans’s arms in the 27th minute with the Blues maintaining their dominance.

Morsy felt he should have been awarded a penalty two minutes later when Carroll, having a very impressive game in the centre of midfield, miscued a half-volley from the edge of the area well wide following a corner on the left.

Celina, who had taken the flag-kick, picked up the ball and hit a low shot which deflected out to Morsy, who was crowded out as he looked to shoot, illegally according to the Egyptian international but not referee Andy Davies.

Town continued to look for the opening goal, Burns shooting over from the right of the box in the 37th minute from Morsy’s pass.

On 44 Burns turned a cross from the right against a Cheltenham defender, who he claimed had stopped it with a hand. Referee Davies said otherwise but from the corner Town went close yet again, Luke Woolfenden flicking a head just over the bar.

As the half moved into its final scheduled minute, Chaplin volleyed over from just outside the box.

That was the last chance of a first half entirely dominated by the Blues with the shot count of 13-1 and possession percentage of 69-31 illustrating Town’s control of the match.

The Blues had passed the ball around slickly and at a tempo and had created enough openings to be ahead, albeit without forcing visiting keeper Evans into too many big saves.

Cheltenham, who beat Town 2-1 at Whaddon Road earlier in the season, had defended determinedly but had shown next to nothing going forward.

Comedian Omid Djalili was interviewed over the PA at half-time having moved to Ipswich during the lockdown and having become a regular at Town this season.

The Chelsea fan paid tribute to new boss Kieran McKenna, then Town’s great side of the 1970s and early 1980s - “Everyone’s second favourite team” - and some of those players, including the late Kevin Beattie and Paul Mariner, before giving his version of the Shefki Kuqi swan dive goal celebration, to the amusement of the Portman Road faithful.

Town made a scruffy start to the second half with the visitors looking potentially threatening but without being able to carve out a chance.

The Blues quickly restored their earlier dominance and on 52, Jackson cut a ball back from the right to the edge of the six-yard box but no Town player was on hand to add the final touch.

Just before the hour, with the Portman Road crowd upping the volume as they got behind their side, Chaplin looked to have played in Jackson but the ball hit the striker’s heel.

On 64 Colkett was shown the first yellow card of the game for a late tackle on Burns after the wing-back had been played in on the right by Morsy. From Celina’s free-kick, the ball flashed across the face and somehow wide.

Moments later, Town swapped Thompson and Jackson for Kane Vincent-Young and Macauley Bonne, then on 71 Cheltenham switched Hutchinson with Ben Williams.

A minute later, Andy Williams shot straight at Walton with the visitors showing more going forward than earlier in the game with the Blues less in control.

Freestone was booked for an agricultural tackle on Chaplin, then on 74 Aaron Ramsey, who a few minutes earlier had spent a lengthy period down injured following what looked a minor collision with Burns, was replaced by Wright.

Town hearts were in mouths in the 77th minute when an Alfie May free-kick from the left flew through a crowd of players and was blocked in front of the line before being grabbed by Walton.

But the Blues began to settle again and a minute later, following a corner, Chaplin crossed from the left and the ball fell to Bonne beyond the far post but the on-loan QPR man shot over.

The excellent but tiring Carroll was replaced by Pigott in the 79th minute, then on 82 Chaplin shot over when stretching from a Vincent-Young ball from the left 25 yards out. Two minutes later, Ben Williams was booked for preventing Town from taking a throw-in.

In the 86th minute Pigott and Celina both went for a Burns low ball in from the right with the former AFC Wimbledon man getting there first but with his first touch badly letting him down when a first-time shot looked the better option.

Town continued to push as the game moved into its final moments but not overly convincingly, while Cheltenham looked to waste time and stop the game from having any flow.

The announcement of six additional minutes led to a roar from the Blues support, but it was the Robins who were next to go close, Andy Williams volleying wide from beyond the far post.

Williams subsequently took the turf, much to the frustration of the Town team. Edmundson tried to pull him up but only succeeded in pulling him along the grass, then Woolfenden was confronted by Robins skipper Charlie Raglan. Once order was restored, the latter pair were booked as the Sir Bobby Robson Stand chanted ‘Boring, boring Cheltenham’.

The game was coming to a scruffy end with the Blues not particularly looking like finding the goal they’d been searching for all game.

Deep in injury time, a Celina corner from the left only reached Chaplin, who hooked over, the last chance of the game.

A frustrating night for Town as manager McKenna’s 100 per cent home record ended. In the first half the Blues dominated and they were well on top for most of the second period, although while having scrappier periods and running out of ideas towards the end.

Cheltenham, who have now drawn seven in their last 10, defended resolutely and battled for their point, but Town really had enough chances to have had the game won but on too many occasions keeper Evans wasn’t forced into a save.

One positive for Town was the clean sheet, the fifth in a row, matching a club league record achieved previously in August and September 2019, in March and April 2013 and during the same period in 1997.

The Blues, who travel to face Morecambe on Saturday, remain ninth, still four points away from the play-offs.

Town: Walton, Donacien, Woolfenden, Edmundson, Burns, Morsy (c), Carroll (Pigott 79), Thompson (Vincent-Young 66), Celina, Chaplin, Jackson (Bonne 66). Unused: Hladky, Burgess, Bakinson, Aluko.

Cheltenham: Evans, Pollock, Raglan (c), Freestone, May, A Williams, Blair, Hutchinson (B Williams 71), Bonds, Ramsey (Wright 74), Colkett (Long 88). Unused: Flinders, Soule. Referee: Andy Davies (Hampshire). Att: 21,318 (Cheltenham: 251).

Photo: Matchday Images

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BromleyBloo added 21:52 - Feb 22

Dominated the game as much as I have seen for a long time from the get go with nearly 70% possession and Morsy and Celina running the show, albeit in different ways. Lots of chances and great, fluid attacking play, particularly out wide on both sides. Should’ve been 3 up by half-time and Chelt just not in it, but we didn’t score……………

…………….and surprise, surprise they came out better in the second half and we lost our way and struggled to create anything meaningful. Didn’t give the ball enough to Celina and his influence disappeared. Similar with others and we let Chelt grow in to the game and give us some uncomfortable moments towards the end. Ambitious subs to win the game and a bit more animated in the last quarter, but a massive opportunity for another 3 points lost. So frustrating, especially given other results. Based on the first half we should’ve won easily!!!


ShropshireBluenago09 added 21:52 - Feb 22
Frustrating game - should have won in it 1st half. Ran out of ideas 2nd.
Cheltenham stopped us playing.
Would like to see Simpson get a run soon, even if it is 20 mins off the bench.

eddiespearitt03 added 21:56 - Feb 22
VERY disappointing result. Chances to score or create a better chance to score and flopped every time. Oh boy. Could be said " All part and parcel of following this club". Just when you think we are getting momentum nd then a game like this always appears. COYB.

chepstowblue added 21:57 - Feb 22
A very damaging result. The only plus is that we've gained a point on Wycombe and Plymouth and Sunderland are currently losing.There is no leeway for any slip ups in the next three games, all of which will be tough battles. A wasted opportunity, but not for the want of trying.

TimmyH added 21:58 - Feb 22
Sadly I feared at half time this would be one of those frustrating matches, started well and could have been 2 up in the first 20 minutes but for poor finishing thereafter struggled to create that much. 2nd half was fairly poor from us and looked a bit one paced with not much of an idea and at times poor control in vital areas in the final 3rd let us down a number of times - can't really blame Cheltenham for their lack of ambition but looked fairly well organised defensively the longer the game went on.

Disappointments for me tonight were Thompson who still continues to not look a threat on the left and Piggot/Bonne still fluffing their lines and further continuation of being rubbish at corners. Must win at Morecombe on Saturday now, pressure on.


OliveR16 added 22:01 - Feb 22
It felt like a 0-0 soon after half-time. That's not gonna get us where we hope to be I'm afraid.

Reuser_Who added 22:01 - Feb 22
Frustrating, very frustrating. Burns had an off night. Strikers completely out of form and never really looked like scoring. Celina and Chaplin are very similar players but neither showed enough penetration in the second half. Our centre midfield were completely missing in the second half. Celina's poor last minute corner summed up the night. I would have preferred to see Norwood come on over Pigott to rescue the game. Pigott's touch was poor and he was caught offside too many times. Kane Vincent Young should start over Thompson going forward. Season might not quite be dead if Burton pull off a result but still, no room for error. COYB!

oxfordblue added 22:02 - Feb 22
When was the last time we scored from a corner?

martin587 added 22:02 - Feb 22
So much domination and nothing to show defence and midfield quality but we lack that killer instinct up front.Still on the fringes with all to play for so I’m not feeling despondent.Plenty to contemplate on the drive home.Fantastic support once again we’ll done.COYB.

TimmyH added 22:04 - Feb 22
Just to add Brenner Woolley summed the game up with having to make do with a point and missing an opportunity which was fair enough but then said a 'good performance'!?! - really? maybe the first 25 minutes but not after that. C'mon we're playing Cheltenham Town not Chelsea, lets not lower the bar anymore...

Saxonblue74 added 22:06 - Feb 22
I wonder if our rotation up front is simply because KmK doesn't know who is the best of a bad bunch? If goals don't come from our midfield we really struggle. When ate we ever going to score from a corner? A tactician like kmk should really be able to sort that out, we get plenty of them but do nothing with them. Another clean sheet (9 hours now) and other results mean we're still in the hunt....just. A very frustrating watch in the second half.

Suffolkboy added 22:10 - Feb 22
Obviously next BIG job for KM and M P is taking several so called professional strikers to see a fully qualified optician : then a ballet tutor ,then a physio and finally a psycho so total readjustment to being in front of the opposition goal results in a load of balls on the net !
What a load of clowns ,unforgivably wasteful and seemingly lacking any conscientious recognition of duty !
It will not do ! — and will cost us ,for the defence are doing a great job !

KiwiTractor added 22:14 - Feb 22
Definitely a disappointing result.

Note that last time Jackson, Chaplin and Celina started together was also a blank against MK Dons.

Sounds like we created a lot of chances, but not enough are hitting the target - got to test their keeper

madmouse1959 added 22:16 - Feb 22
Sad result. A big chance to make a further step towards the play offs.

ringwoodblue added 22:17 - Feb 22
Yes, this was a disappointing result but we all know Lg1 can throw up some odd results from time to time and no-one would’ve predicted a 0-0 tonight. We gained on Plymouth, Wycombe and potentially Sunderland but we lost ground on Sheff Wed, Bolton and Oxford.

The biggest concern I have is our misfiring forwards. Simpson surely should get a chance soon if this drought continues.

IpswichToon added 22:21 - Feb 22
A tough pill to swallow, but we're still looking like an absolute beast of a team right now.

At this point for all intents and purposes, Sunderland and Wycombe can pretty much be ignored. We need to catch one of those teams who will likely sit above them. So that's Oxford, Plymouth of Sheffield Wednesday. If we can catch one of those, I think that already sticks us in the top 6.

Using Oxford as the baseline, having played the same number of games as us - if we beat them, the gap is only 4 points. Making up 4 points over the other 11 remaining games is certainly doable. This is far from over!

EssexTractor added 22:28 - Feb 22
If Kieran didn’t realise before tonight, then now he does, League One houses a series of teams who have no desire to play this beautiful game.
Of course we should have won based on 25 minutes of superb passing but the final ball lacked potency.
After that we seem to be mesmerised by their time wasting and their lying down as if gunshots had been sounded.
So it was one of those matches..every team has them , now WE must shake that off and try to initiate a more purposeful approach ..possession is great if matched by goals, sadly we really never looked like scoring tonight..ask their keeper, he had no saves to make

Runner added 22:29 - Feb 22
Talk about a tale of two halfs.
We had everything but the goal in the first half, but lost our way second half.
I would like to see us shooting a lot more/now & again instead of trying to walk the ball/slam into the net with hard low crosses.

Irishblueboy99 added 22:30 - Feb 22
Give simpson a go Kieran, something new, fresh and a big physical threat

blues1 added 22:30 - Feb 22
Reuserwho? I'm assuming you didn't realise, by saying ud rather Norwood had come on, over Piggott, that Norwood wasn't on the bench. And piggott was only offside twice. Again tho, he didn't get enough time to really do anything. How he's expected to perform when he's only on the pitch for the last 10-15 minutes I really dont know. Especially at a time of the game when the opposition are doing everything they can to interrupt any momentum we may be trying to get going. A frustrating result but guess thats the kind of thing we have to get used to, when tinpot clubs like Cheltenham come to us with only one intention, to put 10 men behind the ball for 90 mins, and hope they can get the bonus of a goal against the run of play and maybe even snatch all 3 points. We may just find it hard to win these games unless we can score early and draw them out.

shakytown added 22:30 - Feb 22
This sort of game is showing the manager where we need to get sorted for next season. top of the shopping list will be a goal scorer. Bonne is average at best and can go back anytime and i would rather see Simpson get some time on the field.

BossMan added 22:33 - Feb 22
@oxfordblue I'd like to see Celina and Chaplin switch sides when taking corners so they are both swinging the ball out away from the keeper rather than in towards the keeper

Bluearmy_81 added 22:36 - Feb 22
I think Chesterfield were top when Cook took over?! He's now played 3 lost 3... 🤔

blues1 added 22:46 - Feb 22
Runner. Sure we'd all like to see us shoot more. But let's get real. When there's 6 or 7 players between us and the goal how are we supposed to shoot? And too many times, we have fans shouting shoot when we're 40 yards out or in no position to do so. Then moan when we don't.
Fans there tonight wanting us to just cross the ball into the area despite the fact their defenders all around 6ft4/5, so easy for them to defend. When u play teams like that you have to play the ball along the ground and try to get around them, which we did on several occasions. Unfortunately the final ball wasn't the best tonight.

Fatboy added 22:49 - Feb 22
Simpson on the bus to Morecambe?

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