|Ipswich Town 3 v 2 Swansea City|
Saturday, 11th November 2023 Kick-off 15:00
Ipswich Town 3-2 Swansea City - Match Report
Saturday, 11th Nov 2023 17:16
Town moved level on points with leaders Leicester City following a 3-2 victory over 10-man Swansea City at Portman Road, but remain behind the Foxes on goal difference. Jay Fulton gave the visitors the lead in the seventh minute as the Blues started slowly but a brilliant Jack Taylor strike and a predatory finish from Conor Chaplin saw the Blues into the lead at half-time, before a George Hirst penalty, the first in a Town match this season, on 53 secured the advantage, prior to Jamal Lowe pulling one back in injury time for the Welshman, who had been reduced to 10 men for the final 21 minutes following Liam Cullen’s dismissal for two bookable offences.
Kieran McKenna made four changes from the team which drew 2-2 at Rotherham in midweek with Luke Woolfenden returning at centre-half for Axel Tuanzebe, who dropped to the bench, while Taylor started in central midfield alongside skipper Sam Morsy with Massimo Luongo also among the subs.
Omari Hutchinson and Nathan Broadhead, who missed the game against the Millers due to illness, returned to the starting line-up with Kayden Jackson and Marcus Harness on the bench.
Wes Burns was back in the 20-man squad having suffered a shoulder injury while on Wales duty last month.
Brandon Williams, who missed the Birmingham game due to illness before returning to the bench at Rotherham, was absent from the squad.
For Swansea, Fulton returned to the XI for on-loan Arsenal midfielder Charlie Patino, who was suspended having been red-carded in last week’s 0-0 home draw with Sunderland.
Following a minute’s silence and The Last Post with the match the club’s Remembrance fixture, the game got under way with the Swans seeing most of the ball in the opening minutes.
On five, Harry Clarke gifted the visitors a chance with an overly brave flighted pass across the edge of the box from right to left which only reached Jerry Yates just outside the area, but fortunately the former Blackpool man’s shot was against a defender.
However, Swans fans didn’t have to wait too long for a goal. In the seventh minute, a free-kick from the left was poorly headed to the right of the box by Taylor to Lowe.
The former Bournemouth man chipped over a cross and Fulton flicked a header to Vaclav Hladky’s right and into the corner of the net for a goal which was far too easy for the Welshmen.
Having again started slowly and as a result having conceded a goal, the Blues began to get going as the game approached the 10-minute mark.
On nine, Chaplin shot over, then three minutes later Hutchinson twisted and turned five yards outside the box to the right before curling a shot which Swans keeper Carl Rushworth claimed confidently.
A minute later, Chaplin was threaded in on goal and found the net but with the linesman’s flag long having been raised.
Swansea had another brief spell on top before the Blues levelled in the 17th minute via a brilliant Taylor strike.
The midfielder was played the ball not far outside the area on the left by Chaplin, looked up and smashed an unstoppable goal of the season contender past Rushworth before the keeper was able to react.
Taylor’s second league goal, both in the last two games, and fourth of the season provided the wake-up call the performance required and the Blues quickly went looking for a second.
On 18, Rushworth saved a Cameron Burgess header following a corner, Fulton doing very well to take the loose ball away from Hirst. Clarke subsequently smashed a shot deep into the Sir Alf Ramsey Stand.
Two minutes later, Taylor brilliantly threaded Chaplin in on goal on the right of the area but the forward opted to pass to Broadhead when he should have scored but the striker had failed to continue his run.
Moments later, Hutchinson similarly burst into the box but his shot was saved by Rushworth. The loose ball fell to Chaplin on the edge of the area but the forward also shot deep into the stand behind the goal.
But last season’s top scorer, who had gone four games without scoring, didn’t have too long to ruminate over those chances with his sixth goal of the campaign coming in the 22nd minute.
Following a long throw on the left, Hirst battled with two defenders at the near post and the ball fell to Chaplin, who hooked between Rushworth and his right post to send Portman Road wild.
A rip-roaring first half briefly boiled over in the 26th minute as Chaplin and Cullen clashed off the ball. After players from both teams had settled things down, referee Sunny Gill, taking charge of only his second Championship match, showed the two players yellow cards.
Seven minutes later, Hutchinson sent over a low cross from the right towards Hirst but Harrison Ashby got in ahead of the Town striker.
On 34, Chaplin created an opportunity for Hirst, stooping to head to the striker on the edge of the area but the former Leicester frontman’s shot inched just wide of Rushworth’s right post.
Three minutes later, Town should definitely have scored their third of the afternoon when Hutchinson was played in in the clear on the right of the box. The on-loan Chelsea man look certain to shoot past Rushworth, but instead cut across the edge of the six-yard box too far in front of Hirst and out for a goal-kick.
In the final scheduled minute, Morsy played a clever pass for Hirst into the right of the area but the striker’s shot across Rushworth was well saved by the keeper.
Four minutes into injury time, Town had what looked a decent shout for a penalty when Taylor looked to be tripped as he rode tackles on the right of the area. But as has been the case all season, Blues protests were waved away.
Moments later, referee Gill’s whistle brought what had been a pulsating half to an end.
Having started very slowly, the Blues again found themselves behind early on, but they had already started to find their feet when Taylor smashed in his brilliant strike to level.
After getting back on terms, Town spurned several gilt-edged chances to go in front before Chaplin finally made it 2-1.
From there, the Blues had more opportunities to put the game further from Swansea’s reach but again were unable to take them. Realistically, the scoreline could have been 4-1 or 5-1.
But the Swans had looked potentially dangerous whenever they were in the final third and the game was far from won.
Five minutes after the restart, the Blues had the ball in the net for the third time but with referee Gill ruling it out.
Having spoken to Fulton after pulling back Broadhead ahead of a corner on the right, Clarke headed powerfully into the roof of the net when the flag-kick finally came over, but Gill had already blown up, apparently for a foul by the Welshman.
The pulling and pushing continued at a subsequent Town free-kick and this time referee Gill pointed to the penalty spot for a pull by Ashby on Taylor on the edge of the box, the on-loan Newcastle man reacting by going chin-to-chin with Broadhead.
After order was restored, Hirst despatched the Blues’ first penalty of the season straight down the middle as Rushworth dived to his left. It was the striker’s fourth goal of the campaign.
Swansea almost had a great chance to pull a goal back in the 59th minute when Cullen was found on the right of the area in space, however, Davis slid in to take the ball away from the Wales international.
Four minutes later, Woolfenden looped a header wide from a chipped Davis cross after the full-back had been fouled.
Ahead of the restart, Town swapped Broadhead and Hutchinson for Harness and the returning Burns.
Swansea’s afternoon got even worse in the 69th minute when Cullen was shown his second yellow card and then a red for a foul on Davis as the left-back was breaking towards the area. Chaplin curled the free-kick only just wide.
The Swans subsequently made two subs, Liam Walsh and Ollie Cooper replacing Yates and Jamie Paterson.
Moments later, the ball was played down the right to Hirst bursting into the area but his strike was into Rushworth’s arms.
On 73, Davis smashed a low ball across from the left towards Hirst but a Swansea toe just took it away from the frontman’s path.
Two minutes later, Josh Tymon shot from distance but Hladky, who had been a spectator for much of the half, saved comfortably down to his right.
In the 78th minute, Town swapped goalscorers Taylor and Chaplin, who were both given warm ovations as they left the field, for Luongo and Dane Scarlett.
Within a minute of coming on, Scarlett wasn’t too far form his first goal for the Blues, turning a shot against a defender after a loose ball had fallen to him, Hirst’s initial effort also having been blocked.
On 81, Scarlett was booked for a late tackle on Swans skipper Matt Grimes, who required treatment at length.
Following the restart, Swansea manager Michael Duff was shown a yellow card, apparently for having words with the fourth official.
In the 88th minute, Burns smashed over from distance, then a minute later Freddie Ladapo took over from Hirst, while Swansea brought on Kyle Naughton for Ashby.
Almost immediately, there was a scare for the Blues, sloppy passing allowing Lowe a shot at goal but Hladky reacted quickly to palm it away.
Three minutes into nine minutes of added on time, a Luongo shot hit Ladapo but almost found Scarlett.
In the 95th minute, the 10-man Swans pulled a goal back out of nothing. Lowe took the ball in from the left of the area and past Hladky before slotting into the empty net.
There were one or two nervy moments, Hladky diving to claim a Lowe cross from the left most notably, before referee Gill confirmed Town’s seventh home win of the season, a result which moves them level on points with Leicester, who remain top due to a goal difference which is four better than the Blues’.
Once the Blues had levelled, they were in control aside from a late flurry from the 10-man Swans.
The result should have been sealed well before Hirst’s penalty with further opportunities after that.
Overall, Town managed 22 shots, nine on target, and have now scored in 35 successive matches in all competitions.
Manager McKenna will be annoyed at conceding the Swans’ second goal, the fourth league game in a row that Town have shipped two goals.
But the Blues go into the international break having returned to winning ways with their league unbeaten run now 12 matches. Town are next in action at West Brom live on Sky on Saturday 25th November.
Town: Hladky, Clarke, Woolfenden, Burgess, Davis, Morsy (c), Taylor, (Luongo 78) Hutchinson (Burns 64), Chaplin (Scarlett 78), Broadhead (Harness 64), Hirst. Unused: Walton, Tuanzebe, Humphreys, Jackson.
Swansea: Rushworth, Fulton, Darling, Grimes (c), Yates (Walsh 70), Lowe, Paterson (Cooper 70), Tymon, Cullen, Ashby (Naughton 89), Humphreys. Unused: Fisher, Cabango, Tjoe-A-On, Parker, Congreve, Wilson. Referee: Sunny Gill (Bracknell). Att: 28,929 (Swans: 674).
Photo: Matchday Images
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