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Ipswich Town 0-1 Cambridge United - Match Report
Saturday, 2nd Apr 2022 17:21

Manager Kieran McKenna’s unbeaten home record with the Blues came to an end as under par Town were beaten 1-0 by Cambridge United. Dominic Thompson’s own goal in the 56th minute won the points for the U’s, although the Blues, whose play-off push now looks over, had a late goal disallowed for offside.

Tom Carroll came into the centre of midfield alongside skipper Sam Morsy with Tyreeq Bakinson dropping to the bench.

Conor Chaplin took over from Sone Aluko as one of the number 10s with the Nigerian international also among the subs, as was Idris El Mizouni.

Cambridge were unchanged from the team which beat AFC Wimbledon 1-0 last week with former Blue Paul Digby captaining, while Jack Lankester and former Norwich City forward Wes Hoolahan were on the bench.

After the two teams had taken a knee to applause, the Blues struck the first shot of the game in the second minute. After Wes Burns had made the most of a Cambridge slip, Chaplin played the ball back to Bersant Celina on the edge of the area but the Kosovan international’s effort failed to test Dimitar Mitov.

Two minutes later, with Town starting sloppily, Sam Smith curled a shot through to Christian Walton, registering an early shot on target, something Plymouth were unable to do in the entire 90 minutes last week.

The Blues continued their scrappy start with too many passes going astray and in the 16th minute Cambridge thought they’d gone ahead when Joe Ironside shot into the roof of the net from close range from Harvey Knibbs's flick from a right-wing Smith cross but from an offside position.

Three minutes later, the U’s won a free-kick in a dangerous position on the right after Cameron Burgess had fouled George Williams with Cambridge claiming in vain the offence was inside the area.

James Brophy played the ball to the unmarked Adam May on the edge of the box and his goalbound shot was blocked by Luke Woolfenden.

From the resultant corner Cambridge went close again, Walton reacting superbly to tip Williams’s close range header over the bar when it looked like the visitors were certain to go in front.

And Town couldn’t have complained if they had been behind with the U’s on top with the Blues having struggled to get going. However as the game passed the 25-minute mark Town began to take control and dominate possession in the manner which has become familiar since Kieran McKenna took charge.

On 31 Burgess wasn’t far away from scoring his first Town goal when a Chaplin cross from the left following a corner whipped across the area but just too far in front of him as the former Australia U23 international flung his head towards it.

A minute later, Celina headed into the ground straight at Mitov from a Chaplin cross from the right.

Town chances were starting to come regularly and in the 35th minute Morsy hit a snapshot from just inside the area which Mitov saved down to his left.

At the other end, Woolfenden used his strength to hold off Ironside and win the ball with the Cambridge striker breaking in on goal.

The game briefly boiled over in the 38th minute after a clash between Thompson and Williams. James Norwood shoved Williams, then Smith got involved and swung an arm towards the Town striker before retreating towards his team’s bench as referee Craig Hicks sought to restore order.

Norwood was booked and eventually Smith was called over and was also shown a yellow card and was somewhat fortunate that his involvement wasn’t considered more serious.

As the half moved into its penultimate minute, Norwood played a clever pass down the left and Chaplin struck a deflected effort through to Mitov.

Walton superbly caught a corner under pressure before Norwood blocked off Harrison Dunk right in front of the dugouts and was lucky not to be shown a second yellow card.

The scoreline remained level at the break with Cambridge having given the Blues a far tougher game that Plymouth a week ago and other sides nearer to the top of the division.

Town started uncharacteristically slowly with too many passes failing to find blue shirts and they couldn’t have complained had the U’s gone in front via their disallowed goal.

However, the Blues began to get their passing going in the final 20 minutes and created one or two decent chances but with the visitors defending resolutely and in numbers when out of possession.

Cambridge started the second half on the front foot and two minutes after the restart Walton was forced into another save, pushing Lloyd Jones’s header out for a corner to his right.

Town almost went in front in the 49th minute when Thompson found Chaplin inside the area on the left and his cross-shot flew across the area just too far in front of Norwood’s slide.

The Blues were taking charge and on 51 Burns struck a low 30-yard effort which flew not far wide of Mitov’s left post.

Town continued to see most of the ball and in the 54th minute Celina dug out a shot from not far outside the box which failed to trouble Mitov.

But two minutes later, the visitors went in front. Woolfenden fouled Knibbs just outside the area on the left, May sent in a free-kick which was touched on its way over and Thompson inadvertently bundled the ball into the net as he sought to stop Ironside reaching it. The goal was only the second conceded at Portman Road under McKenna.

Town set about looking for an equaliser, Celina finding Norwood on the left of the area from where the ex-Forest Green man looped towards the far corner, however, Mitov palmed it away.

On 64 the Blues made a double change with Aluko and Macauley Bonne replacing Carroll and Chaplin. Bonne joined Norwood up front with Aluko behind them and Celina and Morsy deeper roles.

Four minutes later, Woolfenden found Norwood on the left of the area from where the striker hit a powerful low shot which Mitov did well to block and the loose ball was cleared.

In the 70th minute Bonne headed a Donacien cross from the right over before Mitov was jeered by the fans behind the goal as he took his time over his goal-kick, the visitors having taken their time over restarts since the opening minutes. Three minutes later, Matt Penney took over from Thompson.

Donacien was booked for a foul on Knibbs on the left and following the free-kick Ironside shot wide on the turn.

Town were continuing to look for the equaliser but were largely huffing and puffing against a Cambridge side now happy enough to sit back in their own half.

Morsy forced Mitov into a save in the 78th minute with a shot from just outside the area, the keeper uncomfortably bundling into the air before it was cleared.

Dunk was booked for a foul on Burns in the 81st minute, then May joined him for a pull on the same player three minutes later and Woolfenden was shown a yellow card for a foul on Knibbs as Cambridge broke having given the ball away.

Town weren’t particularly looking like finding a goal with Cambridge remaining steadfast as they protected their lead, while referee Hicks waved away a couple of penalty appeals after the ball appeared to strike U's arms.

As the game moved into five additional minutes, Town thought they’d scored the leveller. Norwood flicked on a corner from the left, Aluko bundled goalwards, Mitov saved and it was eventually forced over the line by Burgess. Referee Hicks initially appeared set to give it until his linesman flagged.

Bonne protested and was booked and after consultation with his assistant Hicks eventually confirmed that the goal wouldn’t stand.

Town were unable to work another opportunity and the end of manager McKenna’s unbeaten home record was confirmed by the referee’s whistle which was met by boos aimed towards the official for the disallowed goal.

Things boiled over again following the whistle, Bonne and Jubril Okendina clashing with Smith also involved.

Town, unbeaten in 11 before today, had been under par all afternoon, were sloppy from the start and never really got on top of their game. Cambridge defended solidly but also had as many chances as the Blues and will be delighted to have maintained their 100 per cent league record at Portman Road.

The defeat, allied with late winners for Sunderland and Sheffield Wednesday, almost certainly ends Town’s hopes of making the play-offs, the gap now six points with five games to go and the four sides above them all having played a game fewer. The Blues are next in action at Shrewsbury next Saturday.

Town: Walton, Donacien, Woolfenden, Burgess, Burns, Carroll (Aluko 64), Morsy (c), Thompson (Penney 73), Chaplin (Bonne 64), Celina, Norwood. Unused: Hladky, Bakinson, El Mizouni, Pigott.

Cambridge: Mitov, Williams, Digby (c), Jones, Brophy (Sherring 90), Ironside, Smith, Dunk, Okedina, May, Knibbs. Unused: Mannion, Iredale, Hoolahan, Tolaj, Lankester, Worman. Referee: Craig Hicks (Surrey). Att: 26,515 (Cambridge: 2,009).

Photo: Matchday Images

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BromleyBloo added 17:22 - Apr 2
Well, proven not good enough for this season and our major deficiency glaringly obvious - we don't create enough real opportunities, never mind score enough goals. Started sloppy and never really got better…………………

Didn't understand the team selection - Norwood, Chaplin and Carroll instead of Bonne, Aluko and Bakinson??? Made no sense to me and surely we can have the option to go two upfront when it is a must win against a lesser team at home?!?

Another lost season thanks to the early matches. Not Mckenna's fault - you can't expect to have to win every game to catch up……………………

Very disappointing, but no question the club is at last on the up after 15 yrs of Evans destruction and despair. I can only see more radical changes in the summer with a number of players moving on. Assuming Bonne goes back to QPR think we need at least 3 new strikers, may be 4 to take us forward. Carroll and Penny also contributed little - left back/side still needs to be addressed.


oioihardy added 17:25 - Apr 2
We were too slow in build ups .... they parked the bus . We played into their hands .... they knew excatly how we play and just stopped all our play in the middle for most the game...

Walton made some great saves
Carroll was poor
Celina was non existent for most of the game . Which is a shame as im a big fan of him

Oh well onto next season ... play some youth now and just enjoy the last few games !
We need 3 forwards a LB and a LM for next season and its so painfully obvious

TimmyH added 17:26 - Apr 2
Well sadly that's the season over and how apt in a derby in this league (of sorts, when was the last time we won one of those?)...underwhelming today and probably one of the worst displays under McK maybe Bolton game arguably worse. Same old problems struggling to break down opposition, nothing has changed.

If you can't beat the likes of Cambridge, Morecambe's and Cheltenham's over the season you're going to be hard pushed to get in the play-offs.

blueboy1981 added 17:26 - Apr 2
This won't go down well with some - but you win nothing with a Final Third as impotent as this.
No excuse - diabolical result.

KMcBlue added 17:27 - Apr 2
Err... Norwood started cos Jackson injured and Bonne hasn't even looked like scoring for 20 games...I would have subbed Carroll for Big T at half time

billlm added 17:28 - Apr 2
Very poor today, we got away with a 0-1 today thank Walton for that,

DaGremloid added 17:29 - Apr 2
It was all over weeks ago because we're just not good enough - we've rarely deserved a play-off place all season in my opinion. The teams above us keep winning the pressure games and scoring the goals because they're better, simple as.

I know there are people out there who think Paul Cook put together an amazing squad but I still beg to differ. Apart from 3, maybe 4 signings he bought/loaned some very average players. Kieran McKenna has done his best with what he inherited but his real work starts in the off season. I still think he is the man to take us forward, despite him making a few strange team selections in recent weeks, but he has a lot more to work on than maybe we think.

*Oh and talking of Cook, when he went to Chesterfield they were in 2nd place and almost a dead cert. for the top 2. He has since snatched failure from the jaws of promotion — lost 1-4 at home today and could even miss out on the play-offs as well. His dismissal was no loss from this club whatsoever but we are still suffering from his ineptness.


blueboy1981 added 17:29 - Apr 2
Rotation DOES NOT work at this level.
This is NOT the Premiership - and the squad does not have that required quality.
Who needs further proof than today … ???

mightyhorse added 17:29 - Apr 2
We lost to Cambridge, just let that soak in. With the conversations in the last few weeks on which strikers to keep, the simple answer is none of them. We haven't had a single one perform consistently this season and realistically if the can't score at league one level then they have to go. Poor result and another two changes when we just need a consistent team. Season over, with the lack of goals we just won't make it. Disappointing end to the season.

ShropshireBluenago09 added 17:31 - Apr 2
Huge game and we didn't turn up. So disappointing. Just a shame our goals drying up at the wrong time. One criticism of McKenna, should be playing our best attacking midfielder Aluko every game.
Was hoping for a clash of importance next week in my home town Shrewsbury, but almost all hope has gone now.

TimmyH added 17:31 - Apr 2
Yes have to say just as we were seeing some reason for why Bakinson was starting he was then dropped for the very underwhelming lightweight Carroll so a rather surprising starting line up...Aluko never seems to get a run of starts.

Big season 2022/23 coming up a 'now or never' one I would suggest...give McK a good transfer window a full season and keep our fingers crossed!

OliveR16 added 17:31 - Apr 2
C**p in the Brave New World looks a lot like c**p on Planet of the Pauls to me.

arc added 17:33 - Apr 2
Well, there we go. We are what we are–a mid-table third-flight team. Like everyone else, I am delighted in the progress made under KMc, but the truth is we currently have half a team. Walton, Woolfenden, Donacien, Edmundson, Burns, Morsy, and maybe Thompson are a really good start. But the attacking half is woeful. All of our strikers are poor. And the support players–including Celina, Chaplin, and Aluko–are streaky at best (although they are not helped by not having strikers who can finish what they do create). Much work to do over the summer in building the squad (hopefully including a youngster or two of our own).

KMc got the selection wrong today. I can only imagine he played Carroll because he wanted to see if he offers anything for the future. He doesn't. He looked like a schoolboy out there–lacking in strength on the ball and endlessly giving the ball away. Norwood is not good enough–but neither (at the moment) are Bonne or Pigott. And then the team as a whole didn't show up.

Poor performance. League One for next year confirmed. Roll on the summer and another round of serious tram building. I hope KMc is committed long-term, because this is a long-term job.

midastouch added 17:34 - Apr 2
Nail in the ITFCoffin for the season I'm afraid! :-(
It's going to take a miracle to go up this season now.
The lack of goals often makes it feel like an uphill task. Our strikers of late tend to remind me of the character in How To Train Your Dragon named Toothless!
All that said, I still feel generally positive about our future though. The new owners are dead serious about taking us forwards and we've got far better chance of getting somewhere under them than we ever had under Marcus Evans. So let's hope we can hit the ground running next season and get out of this God forsaken league!

chepstowblue added 17:38 - Apr 2
The results were going perfectly into extra time (apart from ours), and then Sheff Wed and Sunderland ended our season in a three min spell. Unfortunately we didn't keep our part of the deal. Four points from twenty four against the promoted sides is a disastrous tally, and while it's not solely down to that it's played a big part. Deep breaths and relax for the last five games. Hopefully some good performances to end on a high to retain some of the feel good factor that's been built over the last couple of months. A gutting anti climax today, but I've enjoyed and appreciate what I've seen of us recently. We've got a side to be proud of and should feature strongly in the promotion race next season.

jas0999 added 17:39 - Apr 2
Season over. Very poor performance. Terrible result. KM has done an outstanding job since he joined though. This arguably the worst result of his reign. Goes without saying but we need to sign a couple of very good strikers in the summer.

Blue56 added 17:41 - Apr 2
We were shocking today, back to the bad old days of Paul Cook. We gave the ball away time after time. Cambridge weren't good we were awful, sadly McKenna got his team selection very wrong for once. Carroll and Penney should never wear the blue of Ipswich again.

iaintaylorx added 17:47 - Apr 2
Obviously massively dissapointed, but this was always going to be a tough one to slip into those play offs! Could and in hindsight, should have been 3 points off after this game, but the new ownership, the way the club is being run and more so McKenna has restored so much belief for next season.

It would have been exciting to have a last few games to push for the top 6, but next season is going to be very exciting and I've never been so confident in getting promoted!

Let's cheer the boys on still through the last few (you never know we could still make it), but lets keep the 25k gates at home and look forward to 22/23!! COYB!

tractorboybig added 17:50 - Apr 2
lets be honest, with norwood and bonnie we wont win anything

Suffolkboy added 17:51 - Apr 2
Let's see what KM has to say ; I'd guess he'll not pull punches regarding performance (of the Team) and will comment on the application of our potential strike force .
We were and remain ,sadly, lightweight in the scoring dept ;not sure whether it's in the mind, in uncertain emotional application , or simply lack of honed technique amongst our strike force ( which
includes all of the midfield and more) but boy does it need sorting out !! Everyone chases goal scorers but we seem to have a number essentially firing blanks,and with no coordinated partnerships or on field liaisons proving effective .
KM and Co are far too wise to let this ‘farce ‘ go on, and the close season will see outgoings and inward transfers of real import for the future . NOT before time ,though it really is sad that none of our ‘strike force' have proved worthy of such a title .,

dirtydingusmagee added 17:53 - Apr 2
very disappointing display, but it is what it is, a lot of people had been clinging on to something that wasnt / isnt going to happen. The poor season prior to KM being appointed had done the damage, playing catch up when so many teams had games in hand was always going to end in failure. KM has done really well and i am sure given a decent transfer window he will sort out the weaknesses decent strikers are a must now. I would move Norwood, Pigott, on im in two minds about Bonne he has gone from hero to zero, cant make that one out. Make no mistake next season wont be any easier, WE NEED TO DO BETTER. Shame the day ended on a bum note with such a good gate, but as Timmy said ,it was a derby match,! say no more.

Stato added 18:01 - Apr 2
1 nil down at home and kept 5 at the back. It's like watching Southgate's England team with 5 at the back and 2 holding midfielders. Cook quite rightly got slaughtered for playing 4231 every week but McK playing 5221 every week and nobody is questioning it. No doubt we're lucky to have him but he has to get this team scoring goals.

masetheace added 18:03 - Apr 2
As expected the whingers and those who know better how to pick the team are out in force again . Anyone who expected a new manager to come in and turn us into a promotion team was living in dreamland . Onwards and upwards to next season with a few games left to continue building towards it

Steve_ITFC_Sweden added 18:06 - Apr 2
I had a feeling that we would slip up today, and this proved to be the case. (I thought we would draw, and we very nearly did.) But you can't win every game (Chelski 1 - Brentford 4, anyone?). I don't think we were that bad, but probably we need to move up a level to be among the top contenders next season. We certainly need to score more goals. No need for knee-jerk reactions, however. I think the summer signings will improve us further, and I'm sure our management team is aware of what's needed. The plans are in place. Let's be patient and enjoy the ride. Real fans show up when the going gets rough. COYB!

istanblue added 18:10 - Apr 2
Season over.


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