Ipswich Town 0-0 Portsmouth - Match Report
Saturday, 12th Mar 2022 17:19
Macauley Bonne saw a late goal disallowed as Town and Portsmouth drew 0-0 at Portman Road. The Blues had been the better side for the most part against a frustrating and determined Pompey team and thought Bonne had won it in the 88th minute only for a linesman to incorrectly raise a flag.
Conor Chaplin and Cameron Burgess came into an otherwise unchanged team, Burgess on the left of the centre of the defence for George Edmundson, who is out for some time with ankle injury.
Former Pompey forward Chaplin was one of the number 10s with Sone Aluko dropping to the bench.
Skipper Sam Morsy was fit to start despite suffering a hamstring problem in Tuesday’s 2-0 victory over Lincoln.
For the visitors, Aiden O’Brien replaced Tyler Walker up front, while ex-Blues loanee Ryan Tunnicliffe came in for summer Town target Joe Morrell.
With American director Ed Schwartz watching from the directors’ box having attended last night’s Ex-Players’ Dinner, the game got under way after both teams had taken a knee to applause.
The Blues got off to a positive start with Bersant Celina deftly taking down and high ball and moving past a Portsmouth player in the same movement before his pass through to Kayden Jackson was cut out.
Town dominated the early stages with Portsmouth unable to get on the ball. On five, Celina hit a snap shot from 25 yards but wide of Pompey keeper Gavin Bazunu’s right post.
Moments later, Portsmouth broke forward but Luke Woolfenden did well to get across in front of O’Brien to dispossess the former Millwall man.
In the eighth minute, Morsy stood up a cross from the left but just behind Jackson, his headed attempt ultimately ending up at the feet of Chaplin, whose scuffed effort went wide. Morsy, an injury doubt going into the game, subsequently required treatment but was OK to continue although gingerly.
On 11, following a short corner on the right, Burns looped a ball to the far post from the corner of the penalty box where Burgess, who had made an impressive start to the game, nodded back across goal but onto Jackson’s heel and the ball was cleared.
Portsmouth won two corners in quick succession which Town dealt with comfortably, the second leading to Celina breaking away on the left and looking to find Burns in the clear on the right with a cross-field pass but a Pompey defender was able to cut out and nod back to Bazunu.
Morsy succumbed to his injury in the 21st minute, the skipper making his way off to applause as Tom Carroll replaced him with Janoi Donacien taking the armband.
Portsmouth went close for the first time soon afterwards when Ronan Curtis hit a low ball in from the right and O’Brien turned it over under pressure from a number of Town defenders.
Following the resultant goal-kick, Woolfenden played it straight to O’Brien just outside the area from where the January signing from Sunderland scraped his shot wide.
After a Town corner had come to nothing, Portsmouth broke from a free-kick and George Hirst attempted to lift the ball over Christian Walton from the edge of the box but looped it into the Town keeper’s arms.
The Blues were going through a scruffy spell with Portsmouth more in the game than in the early stages.
Pompey’s Louis Thompson was shown the game’s first yellow card on the half hour for clattering into Burns’s ankles from behind just in front of the dugouts.
The Town crowd felt it might have been more than a yellow and the Blues bench made their feelings about the challenge known and there was a lengthy exchange of views between Portsmouth manager Danny Cowley and Town keeper-coach Rene Gilmartin with Burns having been the victim of one or two earlier overzealous tackles.
The Blues began to restore their earlier level of control and on 38 Donacien sent in a cross which was turned against a defender. Seconds later, Chaplin worked himself space on the edge of the box before his shot was blocked.
As the half moved into its penultimate scheduled minute, Chaplin unleashed a shot from 25 yards which flew not too far over the bar.
Seconds before the fourth official’s board indicated three additional minutes, Chaplin sent Jackson away on the left with Bazunu initially starting to come before retreating. Jackson’s pace took him past two defenders before the striker hit a shot from a tight angle which the keeper saved. Jackson landed awkwardly and needed treatment for what looked like a shoulder injury.
From the corner, with Jackson off the field, Donacien was adamant Town should have been awarded a penalty after being manhandled as the deep ball in the box flew towards him. Neither referee Christopher Sarginson nor his assistant saw the incident with Donacien appearing to have a decent case.
Jackson didn’t reappear, the striker making his way straight to the tunnel with Macauley Bonne replacing him.
That was the final action of a half in which the Blues had started on top before going through a sloppy spell - following Morsy’s early exit - in which Pompey had the best chance of the game through O’Brien.
Town started to look more themselves again towards the end of the half although with too many passes going astray and the additional blow of Jackson’s injury.
Neither side created a chance in the early stages of the second period. In the 55th minute Bonne and Hayden Carter clashed off the ball with the Sir Bobby Robson Stand making their thoughts known.
Town won a corner moments later and the striker urged the fans behind the goal to up the volume, which they did. In the aftermath of the flag-kick, Burns shot over from 25 yards.
The additional noise seemed to give the Blues greater impetus with the visitors put under pressure for the next few minutes before Pompey had a spell on top.
On 65 Conor Ogilvie crossed from the left and Sean Raggett flicked a near-post header from a tight angle onto the roof of the net.
But Town soon upped the pressure again, Carroll working his way into space on the left in the 69th minute before his low cross was stopped by Raggett. Two minutes later, Pompey swapped Thompson for Ipswich-born Morrell.
Burns teed-up Tyreeq Bakinson not far outside the area in the 74th minute but the on-loan Bristol City man’s shot was too close to Bazunu, who claimed comfortably.
Within a minute, Chaplin burst forward towards the right and played a ball in to Celina, who took it past a man before shooting from a tight angle but Bazunu had got across quickly to block.
Following the corner, Burns sent the ball back in from the right to the far post from where Bakinson headed into the side-netting.
In the 77th minute Dominic Thompson, who was being watched by Brentford’s loans manager Steven Pressley, was stopped from taking a quick throw by Pompey manager Danny Cowley with Ronan Curtis also getting involved. The clearly furious Town wing-back was dragged away from the incident by Blues manager Kieran McKenna and Donacien to be calmed down.
Referee Sarginson booked Thompson and Curtis and with Cowley continuing to wind-up Thompson while his player was yellow-carded, he also earned his place in the book.
Donacien joined them a couple of minutes later for a foul on Morrell after Burns had given the ball away inside the Portsmouth half.
Pompey swapped O’Brien for Denver Hume and then Walker for Hirst before the Blues replaced Burns, who appeared to have been carrying a knock, with Aluko as Town moved to a back four for the first time under McKenna.
Town thought they’d won it in the 88th minute when a Celina free-kick reached the far post where Burgess turned towards goal. Bazunu saved and Bonne slammed into the roof of the net, only for the linesman to raise his flag.
Woolfenden was but didn't touch the ball and wasn't interfering with play and the goal therefore should have stood.
The fourth official’s board indicated four additional minutes, a surprise given the amount of time Portsmouth players had taken over restarts and stoppages for injuries.
The Blues were unable to threaten further in injury time and the final whistle was greeted by chants of ‘boring, boring Pompey’ from the Sir Bobby Robson Stand.
Town had been the only side looking to win the game against a niggly and frustrating Portsmouth team, who spent most of the second half seeking to stop the flow of the game.
As in a number of other recent matches, the Blues created chances but were unable to take any of them, although Bonne’s late disallowed effort was unlucky.
At the other end, Town kept their 11th clean sheet in 15 games under McKenna and their eighth in their last nine matches.
The draw sees the Blues stay ninth but now five points from the play-offs with eight to play, starting at Oxford, who won 2-1 at Shrewsbury today, next Saturday.
Town: Walton, Donacien, Woolfenden, Burgess, Burns (Aluko 90), Bakinson, Morsy (c) (Carroll 21), Thompson, Chaplin, Celina, Jackson (Bonne 45). Subs: Hladky, Vincent-Young, Pigott, Norwood.
Portsmouth: Bazunu, Robertson (c), O'Brien, Tunnicliffe, Curtis, Romeo, Ogilvie, Carter, Hirst, Raggett, Thompson (Morrell 71). Subs: Webber, Hume, Walker, Vincent, Mingi, Jewitt-White. Referee: Christopher Sarginson (Staffordshire). Att: 25,500 (Portsmouth: 1,986).
Photo: Matchday Images
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