Ipswich Town 2-0 Lincoln City - Match Report
Tuesday, 8th Mar 2022 21:53
First-half goals from Wes Burns and Kayden Jackson saw Town to a comfortable 2-0 home victory over Lincoln City, cutting the gap to the play-offs to just three points. Burns gave the Blues the lead in the 22nd minutek then Jackson added the second 10 minutes later and the three points never looked in any danger, although the Blues will be concerned that skipper Sam Morsy and central defender George Edmundson both limped off in the second half.
Sone Aluko and Tyreeq Bakinson returned to the Town XI with the on-loan Bristol City man joining skipper Morsy in central midfield.
Bersant Celina moved further forward as one of two number 10s along with Aluko with Jackson the central striker. Joe Pigott and Conor Chaplin dropped to the bench.
Lincoln made three changes from the team which beat Sheffield Wednesday 3-1 on Saturday with keeper Jordan Wright making his first start and Adam Jackson and Liam Cullen coming into the line-up for Joe Walsh and Tom Hopper, who were among the subs, and the injured Josh Griffiths.
Former Blues midfielder Teddy Bishop was among the Imps' subs, who included no goalkeeper.
Prior to kick-off there was a minute’s applause as the two clubs, Town wearing all blue and the Imps their all yellow third kit, showed their solidarity with the people of Ukraine.
The Blues almost scored in the second minute when, after a slick move which began on the left, Burns fed Janoi Donacien on the right and the defender cut back to the Welshman, who shot over.
Town, with around 25,000 fans backing them, continued the early intensity with Aluko winning the ball following the goal-kick and Burns sending in a low ball which was too far in front of his team-mates.
On 10 Aluko brilliantly took a ball between two defenders and sent Burns away on the right but the wing-back was let down by the pitch and the ball went out of play.
Six minutes later, with Town having continued to dominate, Jackson claimed a penalty when he chased Celina’s chipped ball behind the visitors’ defence and TJ Eyoma took it away from him. Referee Tom Reeves showed no interest in the Town striker’s appeals.
In the 20th minute Luke Woolfenden exchanged passes with Aluko midway inside the Lincoln half and eventually received the ball again inside the area on the byline from Burns but the centre-half’s cutback was diverted away from goal. Aluko got onto the loose ball but his curling shot from the edge of the area was also blocked.
The Blues had been on top since the start and in the 22nd minute they got the goal their performance deserved.
Morsy brought the ball out from the back and found Celina, who bundled past a man in the centre circle and played the ball into the path of Jackson, who burst down the left and played it across the area. Morsy, who had made his way forward, left it for Burns, who slammed in his 11th goal of the season.
Having established their lead, Town went looking for a second and on the half hour, Donacien found himself on the byline on the right with the ball and about to cut it across following a mix-up between two Lincoln defenders. However, referee Reeves stopped play for an earlier Imps infringement, much to the frustration of Donacien and his team-mates.
But the Blues and their already noisy fans only had to wait another two minutes for the second goal.
Burns left Morgan Whittaker in a heap down the right then cut back to Morsy, who played it to the far post to Jackson, who tapped home.
Lincoln argued that the striker had been offside - and it looked very tight - as he turned home his third goal in five games but neither referee Reeves or his assistant were interested.
Town set about getting a third. Celina brought the ball forward before seeing a shot blocked, then Morsy did much the same before feeding Jackson to his right and the striker’s effort deflected behind.
From Aluko’s corner, the ball dropped loose and Morsy had two goes and Jackson one before Lincoln somehow got it away from danger.
On 39, Regan Poole was booked for a foul on Aluko as Lincoln began to become frustrated with the evening’s proceedings.
In injury time, skipper Conor McGrandles joined him for a late tackle on Celina, which led to a confrontation between the pair, Aluko pulling McGrandles away from the situation before matters escalated. McGrandles and Celina, who had appeared to do little wrong, were both booked.
Just before the whistle, Chris Maguire was also shown a yellow card for a foul on Aluko, whose twinkle-toed skills had taken him out of a tight area into space. Celina hit the wall with his 30-yard free-kick.
The Town players were warmly applauded off having dominated from start to finish and well worthy of their two-goal lead, which might well have been even more.
Lincoln swapped Cullen for former Colchester man Cohen Bramall ahead of the second half in an attempt to deal with Burns down the Town right, the former Fleetwood man having run riot in the first half. Having started with three at the back, the Imps moved to a four-man backline.
Seven minutes after the restart, Celina sent Jackson away down the left but his cross looped beyond his team-mates.
Three minutes later, Aluko exchanged passes with Jackson, then cut his way past defenders on the edge of the box before shooting over.
Within a minute, Burns dispossessed a defender inside the area and played the ball to Morsy but the captain’s shot was blocked. From the corner, Edmundson turned goalwards but his effort was diverted behind.
The centre-half underwent treatment following the incident and briefly returned to the field before quickly sitting down and coming off with an ankle problem. The former Rangers man was replaced by Cameron Burgess, making his first appearance under Kieran McKenna.
Town continued to prod and probe looking for the opening which would lead to their third goal, although with less intensity than before the break and with one or two passes going astray. On 66 Celina wasn’t too far away from finding Aluko with a chip behind the Imps’ defence.
A minute later, Lincoln hit their first serious shot of the game, Brooke Norton-Cuffy having escaped on the right before hitting a shot across the face and out for a throw. Moments later, Scully replaced Maguire for the visitors.
In the 73rd minute, clever play on the left saw Celina play in Aluko but the forward was dispossessed as he looked to shoot.
Morsy underwent treatment in the 75th minute and returned to the field before quickly taking to the turf once again and was replaced by Tom Carroll with Aluko receiving the captain’s armband. Meanwhile, Dominic Thompson appeared to be nursing the knock he suffered at Fleetwood on Saturday.
Lincoln replaced Lewis Fiorini with Lasse Sorensen, perhaps surprisingly with striker John Marquis undergoing treatment on the pitch when the change was made.
Aluko was given a standing ovation as he left the field and was replaced by Chaplin in the 83rd minute, the Nigerian international having been the pick of the Town players.
The half had lost its flow due to the substitutions and stoppages for injury and appeared to be petering out with Lincoln looking little threat.
In the 87th minute Bakinson struck a powerful effort from distance which Imps keeper Wright palmed behind to his left.
As the game moved into eight additional minutes for the numerous stoppages, Chaplin curled a 30-yard free-kick wide having been fouled by Marquis.
Blues keeper Christian Walton was called to make his first save of the evening in the 97th minute when Poole found Scully on the left of the box from where he hit a shot across Walton, which the former Brighton man pushed away.
Seconds later, the referee ended the evening’s proceedings, although the game had effectively been over since the Blues scored their second goal.
After the whistle former Town midfielder Teddy Bishop came onto the pitch to applaud his old supporters having not had a chance to do so when he left in the summer.
Current manager McKenna and his team subsequently also made their way towards the Sir Bobby Robson Stand to salute their fans.
A comfortable three points for the Blues, who did the hard work in the first half in which they played as well as they have all season with Burns and Jackson, whose resurgence under McKenna continues, taking two of several chances.
The Blues saw out the second half with few problems other than the knocks suffered by Edmundson and Morsy, players who have become key players in McKenna’s side.
The win sees Town move to only three points from the top six with Portsmouth, two points and a place behind the Blues but with two games in hand having beaten Crewe 3-1 away this evening, at Portman Road on Saturday.
Town: Walton, Donacien, Woolfenden, Edmundson (Burgess 61), Burns, Morsy (c) (Carroll 77), Bakinson, Thompson, Aluko (Chaplin 83), Celina, Jackson. Unused: Hladky, Bonne, Pigott, Norwood.
Lincoln: Wright, Poole, Eyoma, Jackson, Whittaker, Norton-Cuffy, McGrandles (c), Fiorini, Marquis, Maguire (Scully 69), Cullen (Bramall 46). Unused: Sanders, Sorensen, Bramall, Hopper, Walsh, Bishop. Referee: Tom Reeves (Birmingham). Att: 24,989 (Lincoln: 364).
Photo: Matchday Images
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