|Ipswich Town 1 v 1 Bolton Wanderers|
SkyBet League One
Saturday, 30th July 2022 Kick-off 15:00
Ipswich Town 1-1 Bolton Wanderers - Match Report
Saturday, 30th Jul 2022 17:06
Lee Evans netted Town’s first goal of the season as the Blues and Bolton Wanderers drew 1-1 at Portman Road on the opening day. Aaron Morley gave the visitors the lead from the penalty spot in the 25th minute, before Evans converted from a neatly-worked corner seven minutes before the break and the Blues looked much the more likely winners in the second half without being able to find a second goal.
Summer signings Leif Davis, Marcus Harness and Freddie Ladapo were handed their debuts for the Blues, while Greg Leigh and Tyreece John-Jules were on the bench.
Christian Walton was in goal behind a back three of Janoi Donacien, Luke Woolfenden and George Edmundson. Davis, who joined from Leeds for £1 million last week, was at left wing-back with Wes Burns on the right.
In central midfield, skipper Sam Morsy was joined by Evans with Harness and Conor Chaplin behind lone central striker Ladapo.
Aside from Donacien’s 44, rather than the two he wore in his first couple of seasons at Town, the Blues were wearing shirts numbered from one to 11.
For Bolton, on-loan Liverpool right-back Conor Bradley made his debut, while midfielder Kyle Dempsey was absent with a knock.
After the two teams had taken a knee, the game got under way at a very hot and sunny Portman Road.
There was an early stoppage after Bolton defender Gethin Jones suffered a knock as a Wanderers corner came in from the right but after treatment the former Wales U21 international was OK to continue.
The visitors had made the stronger start and in the fifth minute Declan John saw a shot blocked by Janoi Donacien.
On nine, Evans played a long ball forward into space on the Blues’ left for Ladapo to chase which Bolton keeper James Trafford sprinted off his line to intercept and then clear long to Walton at the other end.
Two minutes later, Burns sent over a cross from midway inside the Bolton half on the right which Trotters skipper Ricardo Santos nodded over his own goal ahead of Ladapo.
As the game moved towards the quarter-hour mark, Burns was sent away on the right but his low cross aimed at Harness was cut out.
Bolton had been the better side in the opening 20 minutes or so with the Blues still to get going having looked nervy and with the game having been somewhat stop-start, but with neither side having had a serious chance.
But in the 23rd minute the visitors were awarded a penalty when debutant Davis tripped Bradley as he took the ball into the area on the right. Referee Samuel Barrott pointed straight to the spot and despite Town protests it looked the right decision.
Aaron Morley took the kick and hit it low into the corner of the net to Walton’s right to give Wanderers the lead.
Bolton’s John was shown the game’s first yellow card in the 33rd minute for a foul on Evans as the Welshman broke forward having picked up a loose pass just inside the Town half.
Following the free-kick, Harness allowed a ball in from the left across him and Chaplin struck a powerful shot which George Johnston did well to block.
As the half moved into its final 10 minutes, the Blues began to look more threatening. On 37, Ladapo and Morsy exchanged passes and the former Rotherham man struck a shot which deflected behind.
And from the resultant corner, Town levelled. Chaplin played a low ball to Evans, who struck a first-time shot from around the penalty spot distance in line with the near post through the crowd of players and into the net.
The well-worked goal was the first straight from a corner since Kieran McKenna took charge in mid-December and Evans’s first since he scored a hat-trick against Doncaster in September, his only previous goals for the club.
The goal gave the Blues confidence and they began to look a different side, taking the rest of the half to the visitors.
On 42, a neatly worked move on the right of the box involving Burns and Morsy ended with Ladapo finding some space but the striker’s shot was blocked. Moments later, Davis was booked for a foul on Bradley.
Neither side threatened again before the break with Town having finished the stronger having scored their equaliser.
The Blues had started nervously with Bolton having had the better of it and deserving to take the lead on the balance of the opening 30 minutes but having got on terms, the momentum was with Town at the break.
Chaplin struck the second half’s first effort inside the opening minute but got underneath the ball on the edge of the area and it looped over.
Town started the second period as they had ended the first, taking the game to Bolton and on 54, after a Burns low cross from the right had been cut out, Chaplin and Evans tried their same corner trick but this time the Welshman’s effort was blocked.
Evans went close again from the subsequent flag-kick. This time Chaplin sent it deep beyond the far post from where the former Wigan man headed back across goal towards the top corner but Wanderers keeper Trafford did well to tip it wide.
There was a scare for the Blues at the other end almost immediately when Kieran Lee forced his way into the area and almost made the most of an Edmundson slip inside the area but the centre-half was able to get in front of the former Sheffield Wednesday man and the ball ran through to Walton.
After Bolton’s Jones had undergone treatment having clashed heads with Ladapo as the two challenged for a Donacien cross from the right, Town swapped Harness and Davis for Tyreece John-Jules and Greg Leigh, the fourth and fifth debutants of the afternoon.
The former Morecambe man was quickly involved, heading John’s dangerous cross from the left behind at the far post ahead of Bradley.
Soon afterwards, Bradley got his name in the book for a late tackle on John-Jules down the Town left, the on-loan Arsenal man having left him for dead with a turn earlier in the move.
Following a 65th-minute corner, the ball was cleared to Leigh just outside the area and the left wing-back volleyed wide.
Town were by now camped in the Bolton half and a minute later Burns saw an effort on the turn blocked after Donacien had crossed from the right.
With the Blues continuing to dominate, Wanderers made their first change in the 71st minute, Amadou Bakayoko taking over from Lee, then the Blues swapped Chaplin and Ladapo for Sone Aluko and Kayden Jackson.
Woolfenden was booked in the 75th minute for a foul on halfway after he had played himself into trouble, something Town had been guilty of on a number of occasions over the course of the afternoon.
Bolton switched Dion Charles and Dapo Afolayan for Jon Dadi Bodvarsson and Elias Kachunga before John-Jules closed down keeper Trafford and blocked his kick, the ball flying behind.
The stoppages for substitutions had seen the game lose its momentum somewhat, but on 79 Leigh crossed from the left and Burns headed into the side-netting off Jones.
In the 85th minute, Burns sent Jackson away down the right and the striker crossed low for John-Jules, who was just unable to get anything on it with the goal at his mercy.
In the final scheduled minute, John-Jules, who had been a big threat since coming on, turned his man from an Aluko pass but shot straight at Trafford while under pressure.
As the game moved into six minutes of injury time, Burns broke down the right and picked up Morsy on the penalty spot but the skipper’s effort at goal hit Trafford’s feet when he should have scored.
Edmundson was booked for a foul on halfway, then Morsy almost played in John-Jules but the frontman was unable to get the ball under control.
That was the last chance of the game and Town had to be content with a draw on the opening day but were warmly applauded off by the 26,668 crowd, the biggest gate for Portman Road's first game of the season since 2002.
The Blues had been disappointing in the first half but dominated after the break and there only looked to be one winner throughout the second 45 minutes.
Town created a number of decent chances with Morsy’s effort in injury time the most clear-cut and the captain will have left the field frustrated that he failed to take it.
Of the debutants, sub John-Jules made the greatest impact along with left wing-back Leigh, who gave the Blues more of a threat down the left.
Town are next in action next Saturday when they travel to face League One new boys Forest Green Rovers for the first time in their history.
Town: Walton, Donacien, Woolfenden, Edmundson, Burns, Morsy (c), Evans, Davis (Leigh 58), Chaplin (Aluko 71), Harness (John-Jules 58), Ladapo (Jackson 71). Unused: Hladky, Burgess, Harper.
Bolton: Trafford, Jones, John, Williams, Santos (c), Johnston, Charles (Bodvarsson 77), Morley (Thomason 83), Afolayan (Kachunga 77), Lee (Bakayoko 71), Bradley. Unused: Sadlier, Iredale, Aimson. Referee: Samuel Barrott (West Riding). Att: 26,668 (Bolton: 1,392).
Photo: Matchday Images
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