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Preston North End 3 v 2 Ipswich Town
SkyBet Championship
Saturday, 3rd February 2024 Kick-off 15:00
Preston North End 3-2 Ipswich Town - Match Report
Saturday, 3rd Feb 2024 17:08

Town are down to fourth in the Championship following a topsy-turvy 3-2 defeat at Preston North End in which returning striker Kieffer Moore netted twice having come on as a half-time sub. The Blues found themselves 3-0 down at the break as two goals from former Town striker Will Keane on five and 39 sandwiched an eighth-minute George Edmundson own goal. But after Moore, re-signed on loan from AFC Bournemouth on Thursday, had been introduced at the break, Town were a different prospect after the break and the Wales international netted on 75 and 87 but the Blues were unable to find the third goal which would have claimed a point.

New striker Kieffer Moore and Ali Al-Hamadi were named on the bench as manager Kieran McKenna made two changes from the last league game, the 1-1 draw away to leaders Leicester.

Skipper Sam Morsy returned in midfield following his suspension with Lewis Travis dropping to the subs, while Jeremy Sarmiento was handed his full league debut with Marcus Harness also on the bench, alongside Moore, Al-Hamadi and Nathan Broadhead.

Preston made one change from their 1-1 draw at Millwall last time out with skipper Alan Browne returning to the starting line-up for Ryan Ledson, who was among the subs.

Former Blues striker Keane started and ex-Town keeper Dai Cornell was on the bench.

The home side created the first chance just over a minute after the game got under way, Town, wearing their orange away kit, looking to have been caught cold as Liam Millar was found on the left of the box but fortunately the Canadian international screwed his volleyed shot well wide.

But in the fifth minute, the Lilywhites were in front. Town were closed down as they sought to play out from the back and the ball fell loose to Keane in space 25 yards out after Luongo had looked to clear. The former Blues striker took it forward and struck a shot which caught Edmundson, wrong-footed Vaclav Hladky and beat the Czech keeper to his right.

Three minutes later, it was 2-0. Emil Riis was played in on goal by a defence-splitting Keane pass, took it on into the area and Edmundson inadvertently stabbed past Hladky as he looked to take it away from the Preston striker. Video evidence suggested Riis was offside when the pass was played.

Having had a nightmare start, the Blues set about getting themselves back in the game but made little progress against a determined Preston side with their tails up.

On 23, Millar ran from deep - with Town having failed to track runners on a number of occasions - and wafted over a cross from the left which was just too far in front of his teammates.

A minute later, Millar cut in from the left and hit a shot which deflected wide off Luke Woolfenden. Harry Clarke complained to referee Graham Scott that he’d been fouled but to no avail.

Town had a spell where they began to put passes together as the half moved into its final 10 minutes but without threatening and Preston quickly got on top with a third home goal looking more likely than the Blues pulling one back. On 37, Hladky was forced to palm away a dangerous cross from the right.

And on 39, it was 3-0 after Town were again undone passing it out from the back. Woolfenden played it to Hladky, who passed forward to Morsy just inside the box but Mads Frokjaer behind him forced the ball away from the Town skipper, who slid in to tackle as it reached Riis, but it ran to Keane, who stroked his second of the game into the empty net.

The shellshocked Blues, who had only found themselves 3-0 behind once before in the league this season, at Leeds just before Christmas, looked to find a foothold in the game. On 42 a free-kick was played short to Burns, but his low strike was blocked.

Play very quickly returned to the other end and Millar, who had caused Town problems down the left all half, crossed and Brad Potts hit a low cross-shot off Leif Davis and out for a corner, following which Woolfenden turned another effort from a low angle wide.

Town managed their first serious shot of the half with the half already deep in four minutes of injury time, but Clarke’s stabbed effort from the right of the area flew well beyond home keeper Freddie Woodman’s right post.

Earlier in the move, Burns had found himself in space just outside the box but opted to look for Jackson rather than shooting with his pass running behind the striker before Conor Chaplin picked it up.

There were boos from the Town support at the whistle after perhaps the most frustrating 45 minutes of the Championship season so far.

The Blues were slow out of the blocks and might have conceded within the first 70 seconds and were still trying to find their feet when Preston did go ahead in the fifth minute as Town’s usually controlled passing out from the back let them down.

The second goal had more than a hint of offside about it but with Town still trying to get going, then the third goal was much the same as the first with Preston continuing to press the Blues in their final third and cause errors.

Town have been the comeback kings so far this season but it will take an effort beyond anything they’ve achieved so far to get anything out of this.

The Blues made the expected half-time change, handing Moore his second Blues debut for Kayden Jackson.

And immediately Town looked a different prospect. On 48, Davis came within a whisker of pulling one back when he caught everyone unawares with a cheeky free-kick which he looked to be playing into the box but instead struck against the unmoved Woodman’s right post.

On 50, with the 3,435 Blues supporters behind the goal getting firmly behind their side, Burns crossed from the right and the ball flicked off 6ft 5in tall Moore’s head and away. The new loan striker was already giving the Preston backline more to think about than they had in the first half.

The impetus from the opening moments began to fade but as the game moved towards the hour mark but on 61 Sarmiento struck a shot on the turn from 25 yards but straight at Woodman.

A minute later, Davis crossed from the left and Moore rose high but headed back across goal and wide, then in the 64th minute Clarke flicked a near-post header across the face and beyond the far post.

Preston had present no further threat since the break but on 66 Potts was found on the right of the box but Edmundson got across to block.

Moments later, Luongo was found the furthest man forward for Town by Morsy and cut in but scraped his shot wide. Ahead of the goal-kick, the Blues swapped Sarmiento and Chaplin for Broadhead and Omari Hutchinson.

Preston almost forced another goal from Town playing out from the back on 68, Hladky desperately clawing the ball away from Frokjaer just in front of his line having missed Morsy’s backpass with the Lilywhites - with good cause - appealing for a an indirect free-kick.

The home side made a double change in the 71st minute, McCann and Osmajic replacing Frokjaer and Riis.

Four minutes later, the Blues pulled one back. Davis stood up a cross from the left and Moore rose above everyone to nod his first goal for the club, seven years after signing for his first spell at Portman Road.

The goal gave Town a sniff with enough time on the clock to cause Preston some nerves if not turn the game around.

A minute after the goal, Burns headed too close to Woodman from another Davis cross, then on 78 the Wales international nodded well over when he should have nodded back into the box from a corner.

Town made another double change in the 80th minute, swapping Burns and Luongo for debutant Al-Hamadi and Harness.

Three minutes later, Osmajic shot wide from 20 yards out on the right, then seconds later Moore turned a shot against a defender at the other end.

Al-Hamadi had the first sight at goal of his Town career on 85, chasing a ball played over the top but the recent signing from AFC Wimbledon was unable to get a clean contact and Woodman claimed.

Two minutes later, it was 3-2. Hutchinson crossed from the right, Davis nodded back across goal, Moore and Al-Hamadi initially got in one another’s way, then the Iraqi international hit it against Woodman before the on-loan AFC Bournemouth slammed his second of the match into the net.

Town, sensing another famous comeback, threw the kitchen sink at the Lilywhites in the final minutes.

With the game in five minutes of injury time, Moore again got his head on the ball in the area, this time from a right-sided cross, but Woodman was able to get down to it to save.

As the game moved into its final minute and a half, Hutchinson cut in from the right and shot not too far over.

In the final moments, Hutchinson whipped over a cross from the right but beyond his teammates and referee Scott’s whistle signalled a roar from the relieved home support.

Town had been much better in the second half - they recorded nine on target to none in the first half - but Moore’s two goals probably came too late to allow time for a third.

The defeat, only the Blues’ fourth of the season, and the drop to fourth in the table - albeit with Leeds in third having played a match more - will be a blow to fans, however, there were certainly positives to be taken from the second half, most prominently Moore getting on the end of crosses and finding the net twice.

Overall though, a disappointing afternoon for the Blues, who have now won only one of their last eight in the Championship with another tough game at home to West Brom, who beat Birmingham 1-0 at home this afternoon, next Saturday.

PNE: Woodman, Whiteman, Lindsay, Keane (Woodburn 95), Browne (c), Frokjaer (McCann 71), Storey, Hughes, Riis (Osmajic 71), Millar (Brady 78), Potts. Unused: Cornell, Cunningham, Ledson, Mawene, Whatmough.

Town: Hladky, Clarke, Woolfenden, Edmundson, Davis, Morsy (c), Luongo (Harness 80), Burns (Al-HAmadi 80), Chaplin (Hutchinson 68), Sarmiento (Broadhead 67), Jackson (Moore 46). Unused: Walton, Tuanzebe, Travis, Humphreys. Referee: Graham Scott (Oxfordshire). Att: 17,313 (Town: 3,435).

Photo: Matchday Images

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Nomore4 added 17:10 - Feb 3
Why would you start Jackson? Just baffling

itfckenty added 17:10 - Feb 3
I mean. New lads showed alot of promise.. so that's good news, but unfortunately damage was made in the first half. Really need to learn moving forwards if we want any chance of top 2. Still along way to go this season, just need to keep positive. Onwards and upwards. COYB

Karlosfandangal added 17:11 - Feb 3
Why was Moore not on from the start

fifeblue added 17:13 - Feb 3
Midfield is too weak and defence too brittle.

cat added 17:14 - Feb 3
Looks like last weeks cup game wasn’t put to bed as some of the staff have suggested. That’s the problem when you lose momentum and the first half today suggests that. Still finished on a positive so vital we get things back on track asap.

Broadbent23 added 17:14 - Feb 3
Time to change tactics. Moore can score goals. Last week's defeat against Maidstone has affected us. Use the talent we now possess. We are now in a battle . Too much negativity with today's comments. Changes made too late. KMc please reboot and get us motoring again.

midastouch added 17:15 - Feb 3
Playing out from the back has been a big strength this season, but it didn't go to plan in that department today.

pennblue added 17:15 - Feb 3
very difficult to remain positive after that. Biting tongue, hoping for a performance next Saturday.

blueboy1981 added 17:16 - Feb 3
I think that proved one thing - got it all wrong again First Half, not for thr first time either !
Thank Heavens for the arrival of Kieffer !

Barty added 17:16 - Feb 3
This terrible run of form must end soon surely.

Bert added 17:17 - Feb 3
It’s the scruffy business end of the season so I would hope that we tweak our passing out from the back and launch a few more for Moore . Plan B is now a must and that needs to be assured starts.

Gforce added 17:19 - Feb 3
That's the proof why we should start the match with Moore and NOT Jackson.
First half performance was simply abysmal, probably the worst since Mckenna took over.
Second half though much improved, subs again making a huge difference,and we probably deserved a least a point in the end.
All said we should take a lot of confidence from that second half performance and hopefully some momentum into the next few games.
Kieffer was immense !!

RobsonWark added 17:19 - Feb 3
If McKenna had started Moore instead of Jackson we could have won today. Why oh why does he have this obsession with a non-league striker like Jackson. It's clear to see by anyone who knows anything about football how useless he is.

We sign 2, yes 2 proven goal scorers and yet he still starts with Jackson!

johnwarksshorts added 17:21 - Feb 3
Like many others I'm baffled as to why Moore didn't start, but looks promising moving forward as he will worry alot of defences. I still believe only beaten 4 times in 29games.

Davidwb20 added 17:21 - Feb 3
The only bright spot for me Kieffer Moore! At least we now have a striker who can hold the ball up and score after losing Hirst. First half very disappointing and where the damage was done. We really need to come out of the traps quicker.

DannyITFC added 17:22 - Feb 3
Only positive - Moore. Start him we have a chance as he’s a cut above this league, but my god Edmundson and hladky lost us that game today….. complete liability on that performance which could be costly come end of the season. This abysmal run needs to end soon and quickly before we start looking over our shoulders on those outside the playoffs. Very disappointing and frustrating again, that Maidstone match has affected these players, they need to get over it and quickly before they undo all the hard work from the 1st half of the season. Very deflated after that tbh.

ImAbeliever added 17:22 - Feb 3
Well the first 11 posts above have my complete agreement. We can put it right but the cream has floated to the top and it’s gonna be toug

ImAbeliever added 17:24 - Feb 3

churchmans added 17:24 - Feb 3
I'm sorry midas and everyone else who thinks playing from the back is a strength!
It is a trend that most teams and coaches are doing now! It is cringeworthy watching teams and us doing that when we can't! Today was painfull to watch
And every game before that was painfull! We ain't got the defenders who can play with the ball!!

Suffolkboy added 17:24 - Feb 3
Something is very very much amiss with our organisation and cohesion in the defensive third ; apparently today reluctant commitment , indecision and general sloth early on left ITFC exposed and punished .
KM’s analysis and careful comments will be interesting !

joyousblue added 17:25 - Feb 3
Ive come away from the game , reading from the jackson out brigade , why was moore not in the team straight away brigade , the pitch was awfull the referee awfull we had a bad day thats all , leave jackson alone if mckenna plays him i trust him not some one from the jackson hater group , why wasnt moore played from the start was another for christs sake hes only just put his foot in the door , the table is now at it is meant to be the three top teams rewarded financially for being useless in the premier , but we the little upstarts wont go away we will keep nipping at thier heels

haircut101 added 17:26 - Feb 3
Why is Jackson even in the squad?

Ipswichbusiness added 17:28 - Feb 3
Awful result.

It could cost us promotion.

RobsonWark added 17:28 - Feb 3
It's as I said after the Stoke game on New Years Day...

RobsonWark added 20:03 - Jan 1
It's something about this time of year for our club.

Last season we had a bad spell from 17-Dec-22 to 14-Feb-23 from Wycombe Wanderers away losing 1-0 to Bristol Rovers away drawing 0-0 when we P10 W2 D6 L2 Pts12. Then our new January signings boosted our team and we went on an unbelievable run of games.

This season our bad spell started on 16-Dec-23 against Norwich at home drawing 0-0 and after todays game we have P5 W0 D2 L1 Pts 4. With the next group of games coming up we could end up in a similar situation. Sunderland (H), Leicester (A), Rotherham (H), Preston (A), West Brom (H) culminating with Millwall (A) on the 14-Feb. Lets hope we can get any new signings in the building and out on to the pitch as soon as possible.

johnwarksshorts added 17:29 - Feb 3
Churchmans I respect your opinion but look where we are in the league with our playing out from the back philosophy.

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