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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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runningout added 17:20 - Mar 12
Makes it nice and interesting for rest of season.

OliveR16 added 17:22 - Mar 12
We win some cracking 0-0 draws.

BromleyBloo added 17:23 - Mar 12
Sounded like we shaded it, but a tough game where two decent teams largely cancelled each other out with few outright scoring opportunities.

Sadly not enough with the ground we have to catch up and injuries also worryingly mounting.

So frustrating and not enough - we need to win to stay alive……………………


Nobbysnuts added 17:24 - Mar 12
All results going against us today...0-0 just what we didn't want. Playoffs over now.

DaGremloid added 17:26 - Mar 12
We need to face it, folks – we’re not going to reach the play-offs this year. McKenna has does fantastically well but Cook left him with far too much to do. He inherited a grossly unbalanced squad with no recognised or consistent striker: Bonne’s run was a fluke and not the norm otherwise QPR would not have released him.

Everything McKenna does now is building for next season when he can reinforce the squad as he sees fit. He’s already transformed the defence – under Cook we were leaking goals like a sieve – but the real work will start after the 30th April. I have no doubt we will be very competitive next season – McKenna is a gem who will get better and better – but for the remainder of this one we will continue to play impossible catch-up due to Cook’s incompetence.

Cakeman added 17:28 - Mar 12
At least we didn’t lose. For the rest of the season it gives our manager a great chance to see who he needs to add to our squad during the Summer so we can be quick out of the blocks to avoid the disastrous start we had this season. I’m sure he will already know what he needs to give us a strong chance of promotion next season.

johnwarksshorts added 17:35 - Mar 12
Town have improved so much we just lack a top striker. Credit to Mck who has done a fantastic job. I think realistically playoffs are now out of reach. COYB!

KMcBlue added 17:35 - Mar 12
Unlucky. Much the better team. Deserved to win. Unfortunately I think thats it for this season

pragmatic added 17:35 - Mar 12
Yes, I agree with others Cook was an abysmal failure, he is now history &
the real Ipswich Town manager has well & truly stood up!!

Nobbysnuts added 17:36 - Mar 12
Agree with dagremloid....cook completely ruined this club...complete and utter fraud and left km with far to much to do...but he undoubtedly is the right man to bring the good times back to Portman Road. Thanks cook you incompetent mumbling idiot.

Suffolkboy added 17:44 - Mar 12
Mr C , I’ve no doubt he knows what still needs to be done, what needs to be achieved and exactly who will be leaving ITFC at the end of this season .We’ve a really talented Manager and Coach who appears also to be a natural leader with a wide variety of skills .
The stats again indicate we simply ping the ball goalwards with ‘careless ‘ application ,as if it’s just a practice and eventually success will come and the ball arrive in the net ! It is clear KM and Co plan with intricate detail ,coach with purpose and always have a ‘plan B ‘ up the sleeve — but it’s despairingly sad to see draws where wins are needed despite Herculean efforts proving incredibly successful in transforming the defence and systems ,and education and application since KM arrived .
It’s a shame ,but the stats also point to the great potential at ITFC , of the squad and of the performance levels : much has been achieved ,yet more remains to be sorted out especially in the matters of creativity and ruthless accuracy in the opposition boxes !
We can do it ,we shall do it ,we do believe and we shall support !

runningout added 17:45 - Mar 12
no point complaining about the past, that’s gone. Some injuries or not, we get on with it

jas0999 added 17:45 - Mar 12
Thought we deserved to win, but sadly the strikers can’t score. Clearly an area we will need to improve on in the summer. We really needed to win this one. Injuries also a concern. Play offs look tough now. He damage of course was done earlier in the season under the awful Cook.

EssexTractor added 17:50 - Mar 12
Very apparent that Mckennas style of play is so pleasing on the eye .
The ability of the back three is in itself formidable.
I was concerned that the absence of Edmundson would be a real set back but my apologies to Burgess who played as well as anyone on the field.
And credit to McKenna for making him into a footballer.
Donacien is now maki png himself into one of the best defenders we have seen and Wolfenden once again so so calm
Thompson best game so far
Bakinson sometimes fails to control the ball quickly enough but does recover and although the grit of Morsy was missed Carroll stepped again playing with some assurance
Chaplin buzzed around from the very first minute always in the game
Burns may not have been 100% …his crossing really absent and indeed dangerous crossing and that killer in the box is what may mean it will be League One next season
However I am sure the intelligent manager knows fully well how he can improve the squad in the summer and with fans totally behind him we should smile rather than frown .


Bluearmy_81 added 17:51 - Mar 12
Nobbysnuts, so Cook ruined this club? Or did Hurst? Or did Lambert? No, Evans ruined this club. He stands out a country mile from the other incompetents mentioned above who certainly didn't help (who appointed thrm all?) but make no mistake, if one man ruined this club his name is Marcus Evans.

BeattiesBackPocket added 17:52 - Mar 12
Bromleybloo not sure what game you was listening to we battered them for the most part just that final finishing touch.
In past years for me we’ve not created, we’ve not got balls in the box but since mckennas come in we have the issue for me is we don’t have that instinctive box striker who will gamble and get in those right positions. We put numerous balls in the box past few games but noones ever there. I think we’re a top striker away from being a league winning side. Defence is probably the best we’ve had as is the midfield and goals from midfield it’s just up top for me.

Bluearmy_81 added 17:54 - Mar 12
And the biggest tragedy is that town fans sat and watched him do it/let him with virtually no resistance or fight against the demise he oversaw for so long.

churchmans added 18:00 - Mar 12
I wont leave a massive essay like the previous comments!
Will just state the obvious!
Superb everywhere and never look in trouble!
We have not got a goalscorer! Everybody knows this including our management!
We got 8 games left with teams as good if not better than pompey!
We cant score! We are not making playoffs! Piss the leauge next year

Nobbysnuts added 18:01 - Mar 12
Bluearmy 81....Evans might not of done a great job that I agree but one thing he did do was stop us going out of business and for that I'm just think about it before jumping on the we hate evans bandwagon. If it wasn't for his financial support we may well not be here.

Bert added 18:12 - Mar 12
We threw the kitchen sink at them second half and our play deserved a goal. Pompey happy to let us have the ball and time waste. Our manager is class and will, I am sure, source a couple of strikers for next season. He is a class act. As for Crowley he showed himself up and should have been given a red for interfering with play. The ref. was weak. Wherever we end up this season we have reasons to be cheerful.

Bert added 18:14 - Mar 12
Bluearmy 81 it is time to move on. Evan’s has gone.

SickParrot added 18:14 - Mar 12
The results during Paul Cook's management were no where near good enough and will probably prevent us from making the playoffs. However his tenure wasn't a complete failure because he did sign nearly all the players that are now doing so well with McKenna's guidance. With a couple of signings including a real goal scorer we should hopefully be competing for automatic promotion next season.

Bert added 18:15 - Mar 12
…. apologies for the apostrophe!

TimmyH added 18:27 - Mar 12
I know this post won't go down well on here but I just don't see us making the play-offs this season, we need to be winning these 6 pointers not drawing them. With key injuries now in defence, midfield and attack it's looking a lot tougher ask.

Today draw probably about right, we improved 2nd half without largely not creating anything to clear cut and not having the quality in the final third to break down better opposition which has been the case most of this season and Portsmouth have improved since we mauled them at their place back in October.

Burgess had a solid game and still few goals conceded since McK arrived...but no real outstanding players today which about summed it up!

chepstowblue added 18:30 - Mar 12
We have four strikers in our squad who were prolific goalscorers at their previous clubs. Whilst the formation of the eleven and other departments of the team have improved dramatically I'm sure this very fine young coach and his staff should be getting a lot more out of at least one of them. The only downside of his tenure up to now. As for the rest of the season...after today's frustration we need to beat Oxford and Wigan(two games that I'd have previously settled for a draw). The valiant efforts of the last few months are destined to leave us 'nearly but not quite'. God knows how many years it's been all about building for next season. Hopefully sometime before I die it'll be all about the current season !!

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