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Ipswich Town 1-0 Plymouth Argyle - Match Report
Saturday, 26th Mar 2022 17:06

Sam Morsy’s 37th-minute goal saw Town to a 1-0 victory over Plymouth Argyle at Portman Road to reinvigorate the Blues’ play-off push. Morsy turned in James Norwood’s pass and Town ought to have won more comfortably against the fourth-placed Pilgrims, who had won their previous six matches without conceding.

Town boss Kieran McKenna made three changes from the team which drew 1-1 at Oxford last weekend.

Skipper Morsy returned to the midfield for Tom Carroll, who dropped to the bench, while Sone Aluko was one of the number 10s alongside Bersant Celina, with James Norwood the central striker. Conor Chaplin and Joe Pigott were also among the subs.

Argyle made two changes from the team which beat Cheltenham 2-0 at home on Tuesday with Steven Sessegnon coming in at left wing-back and Adam Randell into central midfield with former Blues loanee Conor Grant missing out due to injury and Ryan Broom on the bench.

Former Blues centre-half James Wilson, last season’s Town Player of the Year, was at the centre of the Plymouth defence.

Prior to kick-off there was a minute’s applause for Blues and Argyle legend Paul Mariner, who died aged 68 last July.

After the teams had taken a knee, the game got under way with Town immediately on the front foot and in the fourth minute Aluko shot into the side-netting from a tight angle on the left.

Plymouth subsequently had a spell on the ball with Janoi Donacien making an important interception from a Joe Edwards cross from the right which had been flicked on by Ryan Hardie.

However, Town quickly got on top and in the 14th minute came close to going in front when Burns sent a low ball across the Argyle six-yard area from Aluko’s pass but with no team-mate there to add the final touch.

Aluko, the Blues’ biggest threat in the early stages, turned a shot wide following a throw on the left, then Burns tried to pick out Norwood at the far post but the ball was cleared before it reached the striker.

Town kept up the pressure with James Bolton blocking from Norwood just inside the box, before Wilson stopped an Aluko effort.

On 23, Aluko looked to find Morsy with a clever pass in behind the Plymouth defence as his skipper broke into the area and only just failed to do so.

The Pilgrims were forced into a change in the 25th minute when Bolton was forced off with a knock and Romoney Crichlow took over.

Within seconds of the change, Donacien was sent away down the Town right and whipped over a low ball which again flew beyond the Blues players breaking towards the edge of the six-yard box. It was a decent opportunity which Town ought to have made more from.

Plymouth attacks had been rare but on 27 Sessegnon tried an effort from just outside the box to the left which arced the wrong side of Christian Walton’s right post.

At the other end, Norwood shot weakly to Argyle keeper Michael Cooper, then Morsy was booked for a foul on Niall Ennis.

Town continued to look for the afternoon’s first goal and in the 31st minute Burns snuck in from the right to head a deflected Morsy cross from the left goalwards, Cooper saving and then gathering somewhat uncomfortably.

The Blues continued to dominate, winning a series of corners which Plymouth prevented from leading to any serious danger.

The goal Town’s first-half display had so richly deserved finally came in the 37th minute. Celina, who had had a quiet half compared with Aluko, chipped a ball over the Pilgrims’ backline, Norwood chased after it, held off sub Crichlow and cut back to Morsy, who turned in his second goal for Town and his first at home from close range to send Portman Road into raptures.

The goal was the first conceded by the Pilgrims in 10 hours and four minutes of football, Argyle having kept clean sheets in their last six fixtures.

The Blues immediately went looking for a second, Norwood blazing over after Dominic Thompson had tapped a cross from the right to him just inside the area.

Norwood, who was causing the visitors’ backline more than a few problems, threatened again in the 42nd minute, shooting over from a tight angle having been fed by Aluko on the right.

After three additional minutes, the half-time whistle was greeted by applause by a home support thoroughly impressed by their side’s first-half display.

The Blues had dominated from virtually start to finish with former Plymouth youngster Walton a spectator in goal, aside from an audacious early turn inside an Argyle striker inside his area.

Town thoroughly deserved their lead and had had enough chances to have secured an even more secure by half-time with the final ball perhaps not always what it should have been.

Argyle saw most of the ball in the early stages with the Blues looking a threat on the break but with neither team able to work a chance.

Aluko shot well over from distance in the 54th minute, then Bakinson dispossessed Danny Mayor just outside the area then rode a Crichlow tackle but the ball squirmed away and keeper Cooper was able to claim somewhat fortuitously for the visitors.

In the 62nd minute Burns was booked for fouling Sessegnon as Argyle broke after Morsy had clearly been fouled as he approached the visitors’ box with Town players either side of him and the Blues in a very promising situation.

A minute later, Town swapped the tiring Aluko and Norwood for Chaplin and Macauley Bonne, despite Morsy looking like he was feeling the effects of the challenge moments earlier. On 68 the Pilgrims swapped Jordan Houghton for Broom.

Two minutes later, Morsy headed a looping Burns cross from the right to Cooper after a Chaplin free-kick had been half-cleared.

Plymouth had seen a fair amount of the ball, and had won one or two set pieces in dangerous areas, however the Blues had looked more of a threat on the counter-attack.

As the game moved towards its final quarter of an hour, Town again began to dominate possession.

On 75, the visitors were forced into another change when Hardie pulled up with a hamstring injury as he and Luke Woolfenden chased a ball down the left. Jordon Garrick took over. A minute later, Crichlow was booked for pulling back Bonne.

In the 81st minute, Chaplin twisted and turned to work himself space just outside the area before hitting a low shot wide.

Town’s lead was looking in little danger with Plymouth unable to cause Walton any problems aside from an overhit left-sided cross which beat his far post.

On 88, Chaplin sent a dangerous ball across the face from the right but too high for any of his team-mates.

Within a minute, Plymouth won a corner for which Cooper was sent up field to join his outfield team-mates. Despite a moment of nervousness as the ball bounced in the box, Walton was able to claim.

As the game moved into five minutes of additional time, Town should have made it 2-0. Celina played a superb outside of the boot pass to Burns breaking into the area unmarked on the right - Bonne having left the ball for him - but the Welshman uncharacteristically shot the wrong side of the far post.

Keeper Cooper came up for an Argyle free-kick deep in injury time which the Blues successfully defended. Chaplin belted the ball towards the empty goal from well inside his own half and on target but without enough power and it was played out by Plymouth skipper Edwards.

But it mattered little as referee David Rock blew his whistle before Town were able to take the throw to confirm the Blues’ victory.

Town thoroughly deserved the three points and in truth the margin of victory should have been more comfortable with a number of opportunities having been spurned in the first half and Burns having missed his late chance.

At the other end, Argyle, fourth and in a run of six wins in a row until today, were prevented from managing a single shot on target, Town recording their 12th clean sheet in McKenna's 17 matches in charge.

While the Blues dominated the first half, it was a more pragmatic display in the second with the visitors seeing more of the ball and Town a threat on the counter-attack.

The win, only the second over a team in the division’s upper echelons since McKenna took over as boss in December, sees the Blues stay ninth but now five points from the play-offs with six left to play with Cambridge United at Portman Road next Saturday.

Town: Walton, Donacien, Woolfenden, Burgess, Burns, Morsy (c), Bakinson, Thompson, Aluko (Chaplin 64), Celina, Norwood (Bonne 64). Unused: Hladky Baggott, Penney, Carroll, Pigott.

Plymouth: Cooper, Wilson, Bolton (Crichlow 24), Gillesphey, Houghton (Broom 68), Edwards (c), Randell, Mayor, Sessegnon, Ennis, Hardie (Garrick 75). Unused: Burton, Scarr, Lewis, Law. Referee: David Rock (Hertfordshire). Att: 23,256 (Plymouth: 1,291).

Photo: Matchday Images

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BromleyBloo added 17:07 - Mar 26
Brilliant, we stay alive and put pressure on a rival. Thoroughly deserved particularly in our first half display when we totally dominated a decent team.

Morsy a lion MOTM and defence so good again - another clean sheet and never gave Plym a sniff. They didn’t have a shot on target…………….

Could’ve/Should’ve won by more - great team performance all round and we move on…………………..


Rimsy added 17:11 - Mar 26
Superb. Morsy immense again. Defence brilliant, especially Burgess who didn't put a foot wrong. Made a decent side look very ordinary. Norwood ineffective, Bonne to start next week.

TimmyH added 17:15 - Mar 26
Sounded like a very good 1st half (one of the best this season) and good performance particularly by Morsy and I solute the boys today on putting Plymouths run to an end just a shame about Sheff Wed winning.

Still think the Cheltenham and Morecambe results will cost us at season end

thechangingman added 17:20 - Mar 26
Strangely, this result further twisted the knife of pain from last week's late-late equaliser. Nonetheless, I am NOT complaining - McKenna's arrival has injected hope, progress, and great performances, and whether we make it to the Championship this year or not, I feel VERY positive about next year.
I personally feel he's the manager we've been looking for during these very long dire years - Well done Kieran, well done Town, well done the fans, and let's have a determined final push at promotion.

Karlosfandangal added 17:23 - Mar 26
We could lose to Rotherham and Wigan and still seek in the play offs… think 76 points could be enough, win all 6 and we are in the play offs for sure

midastouch added 17:27 - Mar 26
Very impressed with that showing. We looked by far the better team, especially in the first half. The only slight criticism is that we didn't put the game to bed when we had the chances to do so (most notably with Burns and Chaplin was a little wasteful towards the end too). The only reason I say that it would be a lot easier on all our nerves if we could put more games to bed! Thankfully we didn't get a repeat of conceding late like we did against Oxford. If Plymouth had scored a late equaliser it would have been daylight robbery!
Aluko was outstanding first half. Burns stood out as well. And Morsy looked very good throughout too. And the defence continue to work wonders!
The odds are still stacked against us this season but if we keep on winning you never know. An excellent result today and everybody should be more than happy with that level of performance. :-)

blueboy1981 added 17:30 - Mar 26
Good win - but we still we Fire far too many blanks to be serious contenders in much to be honest.
As always, the defence have done there bit, and can feel somewhat unsupported by lack of punch in that final third, to take pressure off themselves.
We need more Goals, until we do we’re only an ace away from dropping needless and precious points.
In reality, best we can hope for now is for more Goals to start next season with, with final third sorted. McKenna must have a plan.
Defence - another 5 Star Performance, and continuously doing a great job.

midastouch added 17:31 - Mar 26
Oh and Celina's pass with the outside of the boot for Burns (which really should have been a goal) was delightful! Hard to criticise Burns though as he has so much credit in the bank as he's having a fantastic season for us. He would get my vote for player of the season I think.

Bert added 17:31 - Mar 26
Championship football from Town today. The most enjoyable season for years under a manager who knows what he is doing. Great atmosphere again and whatever happens in the next few games, the soul of the club has returned. Many reasons to be cheerful.

RobITFC added 17:43 - Mar 26
If only we had not dropped those silly points, but at least we know next season we are in great shape to push on. Just hope nobody comes knocking for Mckenna from above!

algarvefan added 17:44 - Mar 26
Bert feel the same mate, great to have our club back and not be too boring!!

jas0999 added 17:52 - Mar 26
Excellent. Plymouth couldn’t get close. Deserved win, which should perhaps have been a lot more. Three very important points. Six to go and who knows what will happen. Great from the team and manager today. Well done all.

Billericay12 added 18:06 - Mar 26
I haven’t enjoyed watching us this much since George’s Burley took us to the Premier league. We have had far too many years of boring mediocre fayre. Some of the flowing moves in the first half just puts a big grin on your face. Defensively we are superb and Burgess has done so well since he came in I almost forgot we had Edmondson. Would like to see us kill a game off 2 or 3 nil but hopefully that will come. A fitting performance and result on a day when we remembered and celebrated one of our true legends. COYB.

arc added 18:10 - Mar 26
I'll take the three points, and we showed flashes of the improvement that KMc has brought, but the holes in the team were obvious. We desperately need a striker (although thank heavens Norwood had one of his good moments!), Celina was invisible throughout as he sometimes is, Burgess is an absolutely frightful passer of the ball, and Aluko has lots of lovely tricks but no end product. We're a work in progress—but it is nice to see the progress! Give KMc a summer and a few more signings and watch us roar next year.

algarvefan added 18:27 - Mar 26
I did notice when Norwood came off, he went and sat with Keiron Dyer in the stands and not on the bench, I do hope this whole Dyer thing doesn't sour the pot, even though I agree with Dyer in principal.

EssexTractor added 18:28 - Mar 26
The most important comment to make is that we have a manager with a football brain , a pen eloquent man , a man who can obviously improve individuals as well as the team.
The calmness of the back three , Wolfenden a revelation , Donacien has made us forget about Vincent - Young who on his arrival seemed to be our best player…even Burgess looks twice the player he was when we first saw him.
Morsy driving forward is also much more dynamic and today was the MOTM.
Interchanging Aluko and Chaplin is overall effective, both have skills and also drive.
Today we were in control but as many have commented our biggest letdown is that striker ..
We do not have that player , but with McKennas abilities I feel confident that he fully knows that and by August wherever we then are , he will have found someone, perhaps another Paul Mariner who both teams supporters hailed on a beautiful sunny afternoon.

Edmundo added 18:31 - Mar 26
We are a sharp shooter short of being too good for anyone in this league. Hate to say it but too late. It will be horrible to see teams that are clearly worse than us completing for the playoffs, but I sincerely think on the basis of the last 3 months, we are going places. COYB

Dissboyitfc added 18:39 - Mar 26
We are a work in progress! We defeat a team who have won their last six without conceding and some still moan, Priceless!

Len_Brennan added 18:41 - Mar 26
Great performance today, but we do need to be more potent over the coming. We have to win the next 2 (which we should), but I think we'll also need to take at least 4 points from the Rotherham & Wigan games, to make the playoffs. Sheffield Wednesday are looking very strong, so we are probably counting more on Oxford slipped up, which makes last week's late goal against all the more sickening now.

abandon_hope1978 added 19:09 - Mar 26
Great result today. McKenna has got us as building momentum for achieving play offs. Confidence growing, just need a little more up front but big improvement generally. In response to Algarvefan, Dyer needs to respect McKenna and keep his personal relationship with players away from the pitch. Dyer has left the club, he isn’t involved anymore, and needs to step away. I’m sure he wouldn’t like it he was the manager. Also Norwood should respect McKenna and sit with his teammates. Now is not the time to rock the boat, and Dyer would do well to realise this.

blueboy1981 added 19:53 - Mar 26
……. abandon hope1978 - Give Keiron Dyer a break, he’s been a great servant on and off the Pitch for us, and should be respected for such.
Not everyone believes that what has, and is happening at the Club generally, is going to have long term benefit - time will be the teller. Keiron being one of those people internally, previously to last Thursday who believes otherwise.
Much to still unfold with this season, the next, and the future.
Norwood has his admirers for good reason, he is out of contract soon, not playing regularly has not helped his cause and he will feel his future, as is Keiron’s is elsewhere.
Therefore BOTH can ‘sit with’ whom they see fit too right now.
Hissy Fits will never see other than present euphoria, but Football Clubs are not like that - much goes on behind the scenes that are not all smiley smilies - our Club is still no exception to that.
If you believe it is, you will believe anything - because Football is all about opinions at every level.
Lose Norwood next season, and watch him come back and bite you - not many, if any, better Strikers, played to strength, in League One or the Championship.
Both these Guys will be much wanted and received elsewhere, just watch this space …… !!!
And they’ll do the Business wherever they go.
Both have done us more than well, and both had more to contribute, as only time again will tell.

Woodbridgian added 19:57 - Mar 26
Karlosfandangal: 76 points won’t even be close, wouldn’t be surprised if 80 didn’t even get you there! I think we need to win every game or at least 5 plus a draw to be anywhere close! Hope your right and I’m wrong though

Buryblue78 added 20:07 - Mar 26
Great day out today in the sun
Great feeling around the club
irrespective of whether we do go up or not this is the best state the club has been in for 20 years IMO
This is how I remember the Ipswich team of old dominating games and not giving the opposition a sniff of a chance at Portman Rd
A good Championship side is being formed over the last few months
Enjoy the ride

stormypetrel added 20:16 - Mar 26
Fantastic atmosphere, great game, excellent football…pick of the players…Norwood good game huge energy…held the ball well, contrasting with Bonne when he came on. Bakinson another progressive game, strong, tenacious but too often a loose pass …correct that and he will be good..always loving Aluko…calm, skill, energy…thoroughly made it worth while trekking up the sh@&y A12 through awful traffic…re KD …if you haven’t seen Statmans 90mins with Kieran make sure you watch it…KD so eloquent and engaging thoughtful and passionate…a huge loss..shouldn’t have left …but massive respect and spot on for being a fan today

FreddySteady added 20:20 - Mar 26
230 miles away in Manchester sadly, how did the Paul Mariner memories go down?

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