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Ipswich Town 2-0 Coventry City - Half-Time
Saturday, 2nd Dec 2023 16:01

Goals from George Hirst and Wes Burns have given the Blues a 2-0 lead over Coventry City at Portman Road at half-time.

Town made one change from the team which beat Millwall 3-1 on Wednesday with Luke Woolfenden returning for Axel Tuanzebe at the heart of the defence.

Tuanzebe dropped out of the squad with Brandon Williams back on the bench having missed the victory over the Lions with a minor knock.

For the Sky Blues, manager Mark Robins made two changes with Callum O’Hare and Yasin Ayari coming into the team for Matty Godden and Tatsuhiro Sakamoto, who dropped to the bench having started Tuesday’s 1-0 home victory over Plymouth.

Coventry were first to threaten in the second minute, passing their way through the Blues from their own half until Cameron Burgess outmuscled Haji Wright on the edge of the box.

But Town quickly began to get on top and in the fourth minute, after good work from Nathan Broadhead and Hirst, Burns played the ball in from the right to Conor Chaplin, but the forward sent a looping effort onto the roof of the net.

However, a minute later, the Blues went in front. From the halfway line on the left, Broadhead played a superb through ball for Hirst, who ran across his man before stroking confidently past visitors’ keeper Brad Collins.

As the Town players and crowd celebrated the striker’s fifth goal of the season, Burns underwent treatment for what looked to be a knock to his previously injured shoulder having been blocked off by Jake Bidwell, but following the restart was able to carry on.

The Blues continued to control the game and in the 14th minute, Broadhead stood up a cross from the left of the box which fell to Chaplin, but a Coventry defender made an important challenge.

A minute later, Broadhead had a golden opportunity to double Town’s lead having been played in behind the Sky Blues’ defence by skipper Sam Morsy, but screwed his low shot just wide of Collins’s right post.

On 18, Liam Kitching looped a header over from a Josh Eccles corner on the Coventry right.

But it was still mainly Town and on 25 Burns smashed a shot not too far over from the edge of the box to the right after a headed clearance fell to him.

A minute later, after Burns had been fouled by Bidwell, Broadhead nodded Morsy’s free-kick just over the bar.

As the half hour approach, Coventry began to get more into the game and in the 29th minute forced Vaclav Hladky into his first save of the afternoon.

A overhit cross from the right fell to Bidwell just outside the area to the left from where the former Swansea man struck a powerful effort which Hladky did well to save to his left. The ball looped into the air but the Blues worked it away from goal competently.

Sky Blues fans were on their feet in the 36th minute when Wright nodded home from close range from Ayari’s right-wing cross but the linesman rightly had raised his flag.

However, the visitors continued to threaten and following a corner on the left Bidwell struck another shot against a defender, then sent the rebound well over.

On 39, Luongo was booked for a foul on Milan van Ewijk, the Australian international’s fifth yellow card of the season - on the final game that five cautions lead to a suspension - meaning he’ll miss next week’s game away against his old club Middlesbrough.

Any frustrations Town may have had regarding that were quickly forgotten two minutes later when the Blues added to their lead via a stunning Burns strike.

The Wales international brought the ball in from the right before sending a superb outside-of-the-right boot effort curling trivela shot into the top corner of the net with keeper Collins motionless.

Burns’s second strike of the campaign was another to into an already keenly-contested Town goal of the season competition.

As the game moved into three minutes of additional time. A Chaplin shot from a tight angle on the right was forced out to Broadhead, who teed-up Davis, who was bursting into the box, but the former Leeds man blazed deep into the Sir Alf Ramsey Stand.

That was the final action of another impressive half from the Blues, who deserved their lead even if Coventry had had one or two chances to get themselves back into it.

The Blues quickly got into their stride and as against Millwall in midweek, netted an all-important early goal.

Town subsequently had opportunities to add to their lead, with Broadhead missing a very good chance, before the visitors got a foothold in the game and caused the Blues one or two problems with Hladky making a decent save.

However, Burns’s brilliant goal came just when Town needed it and has put the Blues in a very strong position to win the 17th league game out of their last 18 at home.

Town: Hladky, Clarke, Woolfenden, Burgess, Davis, Morsy (c), Luongo, Burns, Chaplin, Broadhead, Hirst. Subs: Walton, Williams, Ball, Taylor, Harness, Jackson, Hutchinson, Scarlett, Ladapo

Coventry: Collins, Thomas, Allen, O'Hare, Wright, Sheaf (c), Kitching, Bidwell, Ayari, Van Ewijk, Eccles. Subs: Moore, Wilson, Binks, DaSilva, Kelly, Sakamoto, Simms, Latibeaudiere, Godden, Moore. Referee: Andrew Kitchen (Durham).

Photo: Matchday Images

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