Ipswich Town 0-1 West Bromwich Albion - Half-Time
Saturday, 10th Feb 2024 13:34
Tom Fellows’s 18th-minute goal has given West Brom a 1-0 half-time lead over the Blues at Portman Road.
Kieffer Moore was handed his full Town debut and Nathan Broadhead returned to the XI with Kayden Jackson and ex-Baggies loanee Jeremy Sarmiento dropping to the bench.
Centre-half George Edmundson kept his place in the side despite Cameron Burgess’s return from international duty with Australia at the Asian Cup with the former Accrington man not in the 20.
Albion made one change from the team which beat Birmingham 1-0 at home last week with goalscorer Andreas Weimann coming in for John Swift, who was among the subs.
The visitors struck the first shot of the match at the end of the first minute, Fellows cutting in from the left after the Baggies had countered following a Town attack, but sent the ball well into the Sir Bobby Robson Stand.
West Brom continued to have the better of the game in the opening minutes, Weimann sending a dangerous ball over from the right in the eighth minute, but fortunately beyond Brandon Thomas-Asante.
Town began to take control as the game moved past the 10-minute mark and on 13 skipper Sam Morsy played a clever chipped pass over the top into Conor Chaplin on the left of the area. The forward knocked it back towards Moore but it was cleared before it came down to a height which afforded the striker the opportunity to shoot.
However, the Baggies remained a threat and in the 17th minute Weimann shot over the bar after a corner had been half-cleared to him at the back of the box.
A minute later, Davis was fed in on the left of the area and crossed for Moore, who nodded back across towards Chaplin, but an Albion toe took it away from the Blues’ top scorer as he prepared to strike.
Almost immediately, the visitors took the lead. The ball was played down the left for Fellows to chase and the one-time Crawley loanee outmuscled Luke Woolfenden, who had initially looked favourite to win it, cut inside and hit a low shot past Vaclav Hladky to the keeper’s right, the 20-year-old’s third goal in five games.
The Blues didn’t seem unduly impacted by the goal and took the game to Albion in the minutes after going behind and on 24 should have levelled.
Broadhead was sent away on the left and Kyle Bartley diverted his low cross out to Chaplin on the penalty spot. The forward seemed certain to add to his nine goals but blazed over the bar. The former Barnsley man’s frustration was plain to seem.
As the game moved towards the half-hour mark, Morsy was shown the game’s first yellow card for pulling back Fellows as the earlier scorer threatened to get away just inside the Town half.
On 34, Town almost profited from West Brom getting themselves into trouble playing out from the back - eventually, the visitors having taken an age over restarts with referee David Coote doing little to remedy the situation - and Morsy ultimately hit a low shot which was little trouble for Albion keeper Alex Palmer.
Coote finally did take note of the home crowd’s frustration with the time-wasting as Albion tardily prepared to take a throw but even so just made it clear that he was aware what was going on rather than showing any cards.
Town were continuing to see most of the ball but without seriously testing Palmer. In the 38th minute, Chaplin moved the ball wide to Wes Burns on the right from where the Wales international struck a shot which deflected wide off one-time Blues target Conor Townsend.
In the 43rd minute, the ball was played to Harry Clarke 30 yards out and the full-back brought it forward a few yards before hitting a shot which looked on its way over but which Palmer helped it on its way in any case. Town’s corner, like their previous three, came to nothing with their set pieces having been underwhelming.
As the half moved into the second minute of a very conservative additional two, referee Coote finally took action regarding the time-wasting, booking Darnell Furlong as he took a typically leisurely approach to taking a throw-in.
The boos at the half-time whistle - blown with Baggies defender Bartley down injured - were aimed at the referee for the inaction regarding West Brom’s time-wasting, which had started as soon as they had taken the lead.
Town had once again started slowly but had got themselves into the game and were largely in control when they were caught on the counter-attack, not for the first time during the half, for Fellows’s goal, although Woolfenden will feel he should have done much, much better.
From there, the Blues saw most of the ball and much of the game was played in the West Brom half but aside from Chaplin’s chance, which the Town top scorer really should have netted, few big chances had been created.
The Baggies had defended in numbers and kept things tight in the final third, making it difficult for the Blues to find space, while continuing to look a threat on the break.
But Town are far from out of it at the break and one moment of inspiration could find a way through the Baggies’ backline and change the complexion of the match.
Town: Hladky, Clarke, Woolfenden, Edmundson, Davis, Morsy (c), Luongo, Burns, Chaplin, Broadhead, Moore. Subs: Walton, Tuanzebe, Travis, Humphreys, Harness, Hutchinson, Sarmiento, Jackson, Al-Hamadi.
West Brom: Palmer, Furlong, Townsend, Kipre, Bartley, Wallace (c), Weimann, Thomas-Asante, Mowatt, Fellows, Yokuslu. Subs: Griffiths, Dike. Chalobah, Pieters, Swift, Johnston, Marshall, Pipa, Hall. Referee: David Coote (Nottinghamshire).
Photo: Matchday Images
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