Ipswich Town 2-2 Wigan Athletic - Match Report
Tuesday, 19th Apr 2022 21:50
Former Town striker Will Keane netted an equaliser four minutes from time as leaders Wigan Athletic grabbed a 2-2 draw with the Blues at Portman Road. Keane gave the Latics the lead just before half-time but goals from Conor Chaplin and ex-Wigan skipper Sam Morsy had given the Blues a deserved lead before Keane’s second of the evening saw the points shared.
Chaplin, Cameron Burgess, Matt Penney and Macauley Bonne returned as manager Kieran McKenna made four changes from the side which lost 1-0 at Rotherham on Saturday.
Penney came in at left wing-back for Dominic Thompson, who dropped to the bench, with Burgess returning to the left of the back three following his one-match suspension with Elkan Baggott also among the subs.
Chaplin started as one of the number 10s with Sone Aluko missing out having suffered an injury at Rotherham on Saturday and Bonne was the out-and-out striker with James Norwood on the bench.
Janoi Donacien was OK to take his place on the right of the defence having been a doubt with a knock.
Wigan made three changes from the tea which lost 2-1 at home to Cambridge at the weekend with Jason Kerr, Joe Bennett and Stephen Humphrys coming into the XI. Former Blues striker Keane started and ex-winger Gwion Edwards was among the subs.
After the two teams had taken a knee to applause, Wigan started on the front foot with skipper Tendayi Darikwa hitting a low shot from the right of the box through to Town keeper Christian Walton in the second minute.
However, Town quickly got on top, passing the ball around confidently and in the seventh minute, after a lengthy spell of possession, Chaplin sent Donacien away on the right but the defender’s low cross was turned behind by Kerr.
Wes Burns broke quickly into the visitors’ half following a Wigan ball into the Blues’ box in the 12th minute before feeding Bonne, who moved it on to Penney to his left from where the wing-back struck a shot past the angle of bar and post.
On 16, Chaplin misread Bonne’s run with the Blues in a promising position in the final third, the striker going one way and the pass the other.
Moments later, Chaplin fed in Bersant Celina to his right and the Kosovan international struck a low effort from the edge of the box which was too close to Latics keeper Ben Amos.
The Blues continued to take the game to the Lancastrians and in the 18th minute Celina floated a ball towards Bonne from the left but just too far in front of the on-loan QPR man.
Two minutes later, skipper Morsy took a pot shot from just outside the area - something Town seemed to be making a point of doing more frequently than in previous games - which Amos couldn’t hold onto and it was eventually bundled away ahead of the lurking Bonne.
Town maintained their dominance, passing the ball around confidently and controlling the game with Wigan unable to get a foothold.
On 26 Kell Watts was shown the game’s first yellow card for a foul on Chaplin on the right. Celina looped the ball in and it dropped loose before being cleared. It was subsequently returned and headed out for a corner.
The Blues kept up the pressure and on 33 went close twice. Chaplin’s first effort was blocked and fell to Celina on the edge of the box from where he struck another shot which hit and defender and fell to Bonne, who was in an offside position.
As the half moved into its final five minutes, Morsy was booked for a clash with Joe Bennett as Town prepared to take a corner on the left. The Wigan defender took to the turf holding his face but Morsy had appeared to do nothing other than move his face towards the one-time Cardiff man’s.
When the flag-kick was taken, Bennett held onto Morsy but with referee Will Finnie waving away Town protests for a penalty with the crowd making their annoyance known.
The same happened at a subsequent Town corner from which Wigan broke towards the Blues goal before Luke Woolfenden halted their progress with a foul on Humphrys five yards outside the box, which resulted in the centre-half’s booking.
The free-kick led to a corner from which the Latics went in front, moments before the fourth official raised his board.
Following a short corner on the right, Bennett whipped the ball to the near post and ex-Town striker Keane flicked a header across goal and into the corner of the net.
The Blues were unable to hit back in the remaining minutes and went in behind, somewhat harshly on the overall balance of the half, with referee Finnie booed as he made his way to the tunnel.
Aside from the opening two minutes and the goal, the half had been all Town. The Blues had dominated and had worked themselves a number of opportunities but perhaps no clear-cut chances with Amos worked but not overly tested.
The goal was a typical sucker-punch set-piece goal with Keane cupping his hand to his ear as he celebrated in front of his old fans.
Manager McKenna and skipper Morsy were deep in conversation as they made their way onto the pitch for the second half.
Town were forced into a change with Penney, who had required treatment late in the half following an earlier foul by Darikwa, replaced by Thompson.
The Blues reasserted their dominance following the restart, controlling the game and noticeably trying to get Celina on the ball more often than in the first half.
On 53, Morsy cut a ball back from the right but it went beyond Burns, then the Blues skipper shot over the bar from the edge of the area.
As the game approached the hour mark, Callum Lang was booked for clattering into Chaplin from behind 30 yards out.
And from the set piece, the Blues levelled. Celina’s chipped ball to the far post was somewhat under-hit but Wigan failed to defend it and it ran loose to Chaplin, who worked himself space before burying it in the corner of the net, his 10th goal of the season.
Having got back on terms, Town set about looking for a second, maintaining their control over the game with Wigan rarely able to get out of their own half.
On 67, Thompson crossed from the left and found Chaplin in space just inside the area but his effort deflected off a defender and away to the right.
Two minutes later, Town swapped the busy Bonne, who was warmly applauded as he made his way off, for Norwood.
Moments after the change, Lang failed to control a pass when found in space on the right of the Town area, much to his frustration.
Within a minute, Wigan should have restored their lead following a rare error by Donacien. The centre-half under-powered his chest back to Walton from the edge of the area and Bennett seized upon it, however, the Town keeper stood firm to save as the Latics looked to lift it past him.
A minute later, Burns was very harshly booked after Tom Naylor suffered an injury as he tackled the Welshman. The Town wing-back looked bemused by referee Finnie’s decision to caution him.
But two minutes later, the incident was forgotten as the Blues took the lead. Burns crossed from the right to the far post, Thompson nodded back across goal and one-time Latics skipper Morsy lashed into the roof of the net from five yards to send Portman Road wild.
The Sir Bobby Robson Stand sang ‘Keano, what’s the score?’ as the visitors prepared to restart following Morsy’s third goal for the Blues.
Having gone behind, Wigan started to look forward more than earlier in the half with Town as a result finding more space in their half. On 78 Morsy scuffed through to Amos after Celina had squared it to him from the left.
Wigan made a double change in the 83rd minute with Tom Pearce and former Blue Edwards - who was given a brief booing by the home support - replacing Watts and Kerr.
Max Power smashed a 40-yard free-kick well wide of Walton’s right post soon afterwards, then on 85, Norwood gave the ball away not far inside the Town half and it was played to Keane on the right of the area from where the one-time Manchester United youngster struck a low shot which Walton blocked.
But Keane only had to wait another minute for his second of the afternoon. Following a corner on the right, Power sent in a low ball from the right and the striker turned home from close range.
Having equalised, Wigan seemed less inclined to look forwards with the Blues again encamped in the Latics half as the game moved into five additional minutes.
Tyreeq Bakinson was booked for pulling back Keane as Wigan counter-attacked seconds before the whistle, the Wigan players surrounding referee Finnie for blowing his whistle before they had been allowed to take their free-kick.
Town will probably feel disappointed to have claimed only a point against the league leaders having been much the better side for most of the game.
Having equalised and then gone in front, the Blues looked set to go on to win the game until Keane, a player who impressed at Town only to be beset by injuries, levelled.
Even so, the manner in which the Blues performed against the division’s top team, controlling the game completely for long spells. was a boost of confidence after a few lean weeks and a big step up from the display at Rotherham on Saturday.
Town now only have Saturday’s trip to bottom club Crewe and the final day game at home to Charlton left to play.
Town: Walton, Donacien, Woolfenden, Burgess, Burns, Bakinson, Morsy (c), Penney (Thompson 46), Chaplin, Celina, Bonne (Norwood 69). Unused: Hladky, Baggott, Carroll, El Mizouni, Pigott.
Wigan: Amos, Kerr (Edwards 83), Whatmough, Watts (Pearce 83), Darikwa (c), Power, Naylor, Bennett, Lang, Keane, Humphrys (Cousins 62). Unused: Jones, Shinnie, Aasgaard, Massey. Referee: Will Finnie (Luton). Att: 21,329 (Wigan: 402).
Photo: Matchday Images
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