Forest Green Rovers 0-2 Ipswich Town - Half-Time
Saturday, 6th Aug 2022 16:00
Marcus Harness and Sam Morsy goals, the latter’s a stunning effort into the top corner, have given Town a 2-0 lead against Forest Green Rovers at half-time at the Bolt New Lawn.
The Blues were forced into one change from last week’s 1-1 draw at home to Bolton with Luke Woolfenden absent due to illness and Cameron Burgess replacing him in the backline.
Otherwise, the Blues named the same team which started against the Trotters with Christian Walton in goal and Janoi Donacien and George Edmundson, who moved into the middle of the back three, the other centre-halves.
Wes Burns and Leif Davis were the wing-backs with skipper Sam Morsy and Lee Evans in the midfield.
Conor Chaplin and Marcus Harness were behind lone out-and-out striker Freddie Ladapo.
Midfielder Rekeem Harper was also ill and was replaced on the bench by Kane Vincent-Young.
Forest Green, hosting their first League One match and facing Town for the first time, named the same team which won 2-1 away at Bristol Rovers last week with former Blues striker Connor Wickham, who joined them on Wednesday, not included in the 18.
The home side were first to threaten, Burgess slipping and allowing Forest Green skipper Jamille Matt the ball and some space just outside the area, however, Davis got across to dispossess him.
The ball subsequently ran wide to Corey O’Keeffe on the right of the box but the wing-back took a theatrical tumble as he took it past Burgess and out of play with referee Craig Hicks waving away his protests.
Town immediately threatened with Davis winning a corner on the left from which Morsy was found in space at the back of the box. The skipper took a touch before hitting a shot which was going wide before Edmundson nodded over.
The Blues briefly began to take charge but became sloppy against a determined Forest Green side not allowing them any time on the ball and with their fans getting behind them.
On nine, after Town had lost the ball on halfway, Regan Hendry shot well over from distance, then three minutes later Harness hit a low effort from the edge of the box from a Donacien ball in from the right, which home keeper Luke McGee claimed with little fanfare.
The Blues did gain control as the game moved towards the 20-minute mark and in the 21st minute went close to going in front.
Burns stood up a cross from the right and Morsy headed goalwards from the centre of the area but McGee saved, although with the Town players claiming the ball struck a Forest Green hand on its way through to him.
Two minutes later, Harness played the ball into Ladapo’s feet on the edge of the area and the striker hit a shot on the turn which McGee palmed away for a corner.
The flag-kick came to nothing and in the aftermath, with Evans clearly having been fouled, Forest Green broke but Udoka Godwin-Malife’s cross from the right was hooked behind by Burgess. Godwin-Malife suffered an injury as he made his cross and was replaced by Dom Bernard.
Town continued to dominate and as the game reached the half-hour mark Chaplin struck a low shot on the turn from the edge of the area on the right which McGee claimed at his post.
Despite the Blues having been well on top, Forest Green went very close to going in front in the 36th minute. O'Keeffe played a great low ball into the area for Matt from the right but Walton superbly came off his line to block from the home skipper, the ball ricocheting back off the former Newport man and out for a goal-kick.
Immediately, Town went up the other end and went in front via Harness’s first goal for the club.
Morsy sent Davis away on the left and the former Leeds man crossed low into the box. Baily Cargill cut it out at a stretch and Ladapo hit a shot which was blocked but the loose ball fell to Harness around 12 yards out from where the ex-Portsmouth man slammed into the top corner of the net to the keeper’s right.
On 43, Harness hit a low effort which McGee saved down to his right, then in the final scheduled minute of the half Davis was just thwarted at the far post by Bernard as a cross came over from the right.
And in injury time, the Blues doubled their lead and what a goal it was. Burns twisted and turned around 15 yards out before laying the ball to Morsy, who brilliantly curled into the top corner of McGee’s net. It was a superb strike and will have more than made up for last week’s late miss against Bolton.
The whistle ended the half soon afterwards with the Blues good for their lead over the balance of the half.
However, the might well have found themselves behind had Walton not read and reacted to Matt’s chance for Forest Green moments before Harness’s goal, the former Pompey man taking his opportunity clinically.
But the forward’s goal was eclipsed by Morsy’s strike just before the break which has given the Blues a lead at the break which ought to be unassailable.
Forest Green: McGee, O'Keeffe, Cargill, Stevenson, Hendry, Matt (c), Moore-Taylor, McAllister, Godwin-Malife (Bernard 27), Davis, Brown. Subs: Thomas, Casey, Little, Robertson, Bunker, March.
Town: Walton, Donacien, Edmundson, Burgess, Burns, Evans, Morsy (c), Davis, Chaplin, Harness, Ladapo. Subs: Hladky, Leigh, Vincent-Young, Aluko, Edwards, John-Jules, Jackson. Referee: Craig Hicks (Surrey).
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