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Blackburn Rovers 0-1 Ipswich Town - Half-Time
Friday, 29th Mar 2024 18:34

Conor Chaplin’s 13th goal of the season has given Town a 1-0 half-time lead over Blackburn Rovers at Ewood Park.

Town made two changes from the team which beat Sheffield Wednesday a fortnight ago, with Chaplin and George Edmundson coming into the side.

Chaplin, who missed the Owls hammering with a back/side strain, effectively took the place of Wes Burns, who is out for the foreseeable future with a hamstring injury, with Omari Hutchinson moving to wide on the right from Chaplin’s usual central role.

Centre-half Edmundson came in for Cameron Burgess, who was on the bench having only returned from international duty with Australia on Wednesday evening. Lewis Travis missed out against his parent club.

For Blackburn, January Blues target Sam Gallagher was absent from their 20-man squad through illness, along with Kyle McFadzean and John Buckley, who both had knocks.

Joe Rankin-Costello returned from injury and started along with Ben Chrisene and Tyrhys Dolan, while Hayden Carter was also back in the squad.

As ran fell heavily, the first serious action of the game in the fourth minute saw Blues left-back Leif Davis booked for a foul on Ryan Hedges on the Rovers right. Vaclav Hladky punched away the resultant free-kick and Hutchinson completed the clearance.

Town should have been awarded a penalty a minute later when Nathan Broadhead took skipper Sam Morsy’s clipped ball down with his back to goal just inside the area to the left and was clearly tugged back by Callum Brittain. Neither Premier League referee Stuart Attwell or his assistant, who was in a better position to see the incident, saw anything awry.

On six, Harry Pickering joined Davis in referee Attwell’s book for a foul on Hutchinson as the Chelsea loanee burst away on the right.

Town had started positively, and really ought to have been awarded the early penalty, and on nine they went ahead.

Chaplin played a cross-field ball to Davis and the left-back waited before sending over a low ball which the forward, who had by now broken into the area, stroked towards goal, home keeper Aynsley Pears fumbling it into the inside of his net to his right.

While Pears will have felt he should have done better, the wet ball and pitch, and a bounce a couple of yards in front of him, perhaps causing his error, Chaplin celebrated his 13th goal of the season, making him the club’s top scorer ahead of Broadhead on 12, while Davis’s 15th assist of the season is a new outright Championship record for a full-back, how ahead of Kieran Trippier and Barry Douglas.

Town having taken the lead, chances were rare but with the Blues looking well in control. Blackburn had the ball in the net via a scuffed Edmundson clearance away from the line in the 27th minute but with the flag long having been raised for offside.

Two minutes later, Chaplin brought the ball forward to the edge of the box but rather scraped his shot and Pears was able to save.

Town were dictating the game and patiently looking for openings while dispossessing Rovers before they got too far into their half after their attacks.

However, on 33, Rovers thought they’d equalised from a rare foray into the Blues’ final third.

Dolan was sent away on the left and cut back a low ball for Rankin-Costello, who hit a low shot which struck Edmundson on its way into the net. Ewood Park erupted only for a linesman’s flag to go up with replays showing Szmodics standing in front of Hladky in an offside position, obstructing the keeper’s view.

By the letter of the law it looked the correct decision judging by the footage and a similar call could have been made in the East Anglian derby at Portman Road on Jonathan Rowe’s second goal. Nevertheless, it still felt like an escape for Town.

Having made such a promising start, the Blues’ performance had dipped somewhat around the half-hour mark but as the break approached they began to restore their earlier control.

As the half moved into its final scheduled minute ahead of three in additional time, Dolan was yellow-carded for a frustrated trip on Morsy on halfway, the Blackburn forward trying to haul the Town captain from the turf, indicating he felt the Egyptian international had dived, which he clearly hadn’t.

Moments later, after referee Attwell had taken some while to decide that Broadhead had been tripped on the Town left by Sondre Tronstad, Blackburn assistant coach Keith Downing was booked for complaining.

In the final minute of added-on time, Morsy was again fouled, much to the annoyance of the home players and fans, who claimed the Town skipper had been play-acting, however, both looked obvious trips.

At the whistle, boos rang around Ewood Park aimed at referee Attwell, who, along with his assistants, was surrounded by Blackburn players, Dolan, who had not long been booked, making it clear he was remonstrating about the goal.

Away from the half’s two main controversies, the Blues deserved their lead having been in control for large parts of the period, Chaplin once again clinically finishing a typically sharp Town move.

Of the controversial incidents, Town’s penalty looked as obvious as they come from the video footage, although referee Attwell may not have been able to see from his angle behind the incident. His assistant, however, ought to have been well-placed.

Blackburn’s disallowed goal looked harsh from a Rovers perspective as it was debatable whether Szmodics’s positioning had much impact on whether the strike found the net, however, by the letter of the law, it was probably the correct decision.

The home side’s protests regarding the goal at the whistle and the late fouls awarded against them looked like frustration boiling over and it would be little surprise if one or other of their players took things too far with the officials in the second half.

The game’s far from over at this stage, but a second Town goal after the break ought to be enough to seal another away win and - temporarily at least - top spot in the Championship.

Blackburn: Pears, Brittain, Pickering, Hyam (c), Tronstad, Szmodics, Dolan, Rankin-Costello, Wharton, Hedges, Chrisene. Subs: Wahlstedt, Koumetio, Carter, Markanday, Gilsenan, Moran, Garrett, Telalovic, Ayari.

Town: Hladky, Tuanzebe, Woolfenden, Edmundson, Davis, Morsy (c), Luongo, Hutchinson, Chaplin, Broadhead, Moore. Subs: Walton, Clarke, Burgess, Humphreys, Taylor, Harness, Sarmiento, Jackson, Al-Hamadi. Referee: Stuart Attwell (Warwickshire).

Photo: Matchday Images

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SickParrot added 18:37 - Mar 29
Much like the Cardiff game. We've had loads of possession but not much end product and Blackburn have caused us problems with their few attacks and should be level. We must do better second half.

Suffolkboy added 18:44 - Mar 29
Time for Referees to have the outright confidence to simply card and dismiss those who will persist in obvious confrontation and dispute !
We need to see more respect for the Official’s decisions and an acceptance that the game must move on !
Benefit will always be valuable with hindsight ,but players must get on with the game !
ITFC v Sheffield Wed was an excellent example to follow !

Jcb2007 added 19:46 - Mar 29
My nerves are shredded as are probably the 4000 massive away supporters after that. Our subs looked off the pace today and invited the pressure. What a massive recovery save that was. Leif looked like he had a spot of man flu. Roll on Monday, Southampton supporters in my house. Glad we are at home as the home support isa our 12th man. Fortress PR.

TimmyH added 19:55 - Mar 29
Jcb2007 - soon as our subs came on (Sarmiento, Jackson and Al-hamadi) there was only one way the game was going and that's in the nerve shredding department - Hamadi has a lot of catching up on other players not just quality but with speed and ball control...

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