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Ipswich Town 3 v 2 Southampton
SkyBet Championship
Monday, 1st April 2024 Kick-off 17:30
Ipswich Town 3-2 Southampton - Match Report
Monday, 1st Apr 2024 19:49

Sub Jeremy Sarmiento scored a 97th-minute winner as Town came from behind to beat 10-man Southampton 3-2 in a Portman Road classic which will live long in the memory and return to the top of the Championship. Leif Davis gave the Blues the lead on 13 but Southampton hit back through Che Adams only a minute later and Adam Armstrong gave the visitors the lead in the 23rd minute. Town had been second best but took charge after a triple substitution with one of those changes Nathan Broadhead levelling on 68, before ex-Town loanee James Bree was dismissed for hauling down Davis on 85 and Sarmiento sent Portman Road into raptures seconds from the end.

Town made two changes from the team which won 1-0 at Blackburn Rovers on Good Friday with Cameron Burgess and Kayden Jackson coming into the XI.

Burgess replaced George Edmundson at the centre of the defence having come on as a sub late on at Ewood Park having been in Australia on international duty until late last week.

Jackson took over from Nathan Broadhead, who like Edmundson was on the bench, and was on the right with Omari Hutchinson switching to a narrow left-sided role.

Southampton included three former Blues, midfielder Flynn Downes, making his first competitive return to Portman Road, right-back James Bree and winger Ryan Fraser in their starting line-up.

Fraser was one of three Saints changes from the team which drew 1-1 at home to Middlesbrough on Friday, the ex-Blues loanee coming into the team along with centre-half Jan Bednarek and midfielder Joe Aribo. Kyle Walker-Peters, Will Smallbone and Kamaldeen Sulemana dropped out of the XI but were on the bench.

The Blues, with former boss Mick McCarthy and sponsor Ed Sheeran both in the stands, struck the first shot of the game in the ninth minute but Davis rather scuffed his effort from just outside the area from Massimo Luongo’s cutback. Moments later, the ball was played into Kieffer Moore’s feet in the box but his lay-back to Axel Tuanzebe was intercepted.

Town had had the better of the opening spell, although with Southampton also having periods on the ball but without threatening, while also showing their tendency to give away possession in their own half which led to the Blues’ goal at St Mary’s earlier in the season.

And on 13th minute, the Saints giving the ball away eventually led to Town going in front.

After a Jackson cross from the right had been half-cleared, skipper Sam Morsy clipped a ball to beyond the far post from where Davis unleashed a powerful strike into the top corner of the net at the near post with keeper Gavin Bazunu caught out expecting a cross, although it’s unlikely he’d have stopped it even if he had read it.

But Town’s lead, courtesy of the left-back’s second goal of the season, lasted only a minute.

Adam Armstrong was sent away down the right and his cross found Aribo, who stabbed it through to Che Adams, who beat Vaclav Hladky. Town, and particularly Burgess, complained bitterly that Adams had been offside but to no avail. Replays suggested they had a very strong case.

On 16, Morsy was booked for a foul on Downes not far outside the area, Bree sending the free-kick the wrong side of the post. The Town captain has now been booked 13 times in the Championship with two more leading to a three-match ban.

Having levelled, Southampton were seeing most of the ball and in the 23rd minute, they took the lead.

Stuart Armstrong brought the ball forward on the left and inside before playing a pass towards the right of the box for Adam Armstrong, who reached it and hit it first time across Hladky and into the net, Davis having just failed to take it away from the former Blackburn striker with a sliding challenge. The full-back will feel he should have done better.

Having gone in front, the Saints kept Town penned in their half with their determined pressing, while referee Michael Salisbury’s refereeing decisions continued to antagonise both the Blues’ support and players.

On the half-hour, Davis was sent away in space on the left and played inside to Conor Chaplin on the edge of the box but Town’s 13-goal top scorer scuffed his shot through to Bazunu.

While that move was ongoing, Moore was on the turf having picked up what looked looked like a back problem and the on-loan AFC Bournemouth underwent treatment before returning but while still appearing hampered.

And in the 35th minute, the Wales striker lay down in the Southampton penalty area as Ali Al-Hamadi got himself ready to come on, which the Iraqi international did in the 36th minute as Moore made his way straight to the tunnel.

The stoppages seem to impact the Saints’ momentum and on 38 Town had what looked a decent shout for a penalty.

Al-Hamadi flicked on and Jackson chased into the right of the area and appeared to be tripped by visitors’ skipper Jack Stephens. There might have been a question of whether the offence was in the area but in any case referee Salisbury didn’t see a foul.

However, Southampton quickly got back on top and in the 42nd minute went close to a third goal.

After Town had been forced into losing possession, Downes brought the ball forward and played a pass into Fraser on the left of the box and the Scotland international shot across Hladky but just past his far post.

The Saints continued to control the game as it moved into seven additional minutes with stoppages for soft free-kicks, largely awarded to the visitors, continuing to be frequent.

Adam Armstrong shot over from the right of the box, then a minute before the whistle, Stephens was flagged offside following a corner, leading to widespread sarcastic applause and cheers from the home support in the Sir Bobby Robson Stand and the Cobbold Stand.

At the end of the half there were boos aimed towards the officials with referee Salisbury left in no doubt about how his performance - and that of his assistants - had been judged as he made his way to the tunnel.

Town had started well and scored what had seemed likely to be the game’s vital first goal, Davis hitting an unstoppable strike.

But the Blues immediately allowed the Saints to hit back, Adam Armstrong getting away down the right to create the opportunity which eventually fell to Adams. The assistant on the far side’s vision appeared to be affected by the low sun, which may account for the offside having been missed.

Having got on terms, the Hampshire side had much the better of the rest of the half and Town were fortunate to only go in a goal behind at the break, with Moore’s loss to injury a further blow.

The Blue started the second half on the front foot and on 49 Jackson looped a header to Bazunu from a Davis cross after good work from Hutchinson, who had been unusually quiet before the break.

However, on 53, Southampton weren’t far away from a third, Bednarek flicking a header from Bree’s corner on the left goalwards and Hladky doing well to palm it away from goal to his left. Soon after, Adam Armstrong shot to goal to the Czech keeper’s left but without causing him any further problems.

The Saints had quickly re-established their superiority with the game quickly returning to the pattern of the latter stages of the first.

On 57, Jackson was sent away on the Town right but rushed his cutback and failed to find either Al-Hamadi or Hutchinson.

The Saints broke quickly, Downes feeding Fraser in on the left of the box but Hladky was quickly off his line to smother out for a corner.

Town made a triple change in the 61st minute as they looked to get themselves back into the match, Nathan Broadhead, Harry Clarke and Jack Taylor taking over from Jackson, Tuanzebe and Luongo.

After a lengthy stoppage while Bednarek underwent treatment, the game got back under way with the changes immediately having an impact.

Broadhead exchanged passes with Chaplin midway inside the Southampton half before finding Al-Hamadi, who did we to take the ball across his man and hit a powerful strike which slammed against Bazunu’s right post and away.

The Blues going so close to an equaliser reinvigorated the Town support, who upped the volume.

And in the 68th minute, shortly after Fraser had hit a weak effort through to Hladky at the other end, the Blues levelled.

Davis was found on the left of the area and played it back to Taylor, who hit a first-time ball into Broadhead just inside the box and the Wales international struck a similarly first-time shot on the turn past Bazunu to the keeper’s left and into the net.

Broadhead’s 13th goal of the season, which takes him level with Chaplin as Town’s top scorer, sent Portman Road wild with the Saints appearing to be rattled by the Blues getting back on terms and the volume around the ground, Bazunu panicking and kicking straight out of play.

In the 70th minute, Taylor was booked for a foul on Stuart Armstrong, then the Saints swapped Fraser for David Brooks.

On 76, Taylor cut out a Southampton pass not far outside the Town box and fed Al-Hamadi, who brought it forward to the edge of the area with Taylor to his left and Hutchinson to his right but ran into trouble before playing a pass to either of them. The ball ran loose to Chaplin but the former Pompey man blazed over.

Sam Edozie replaced Adams for the visitors with the game now increasingly a basketball match. Southampton were next to have a chance, Adam Armstrong played in on the right of the box with his first effort blocked and then his second saved and then snaffled by Hladky.

Town had been given little by the officials all afternoon, but in the 85th minute referee Salisbury gave an important decision in the Blues’ favour.

Davis took down a cross-field ball past Bree, who hauled him down on the edge of the box as he sought to get back ahead of him. Referee Salisbury deemed it an obvious goalscoring opportunity and the full-back, who spent time on loan at Town in the Blues’ Championship relegation season was shown a red card. Bree made his way to the tunnel very slowly, clearly feeling the decision was harsh.

The resultant free-kick was tapped to Broadhead, but his effort struck the wall. On 89, Town swapped Chaplin for Jeremy Sarmiento.

The Blues were looking for a winner, while Southampton weren’t by any means sitting back for a point and in the third of seven additional minutes, Luke Woolfenden slid in to block a dangerous low cross from the right.

A minute later, Taylor and Al-Hamadi burst through towards goal and the Iraqi international was upended by Bednarek having been fed by the former Peterborough midfielder. The Polish international was booked with the distance to goal perhaps having saved him from the game’s second red card.

Following the free-kick, Davis nodded back across goal and Broadhead struck a shot from a tight angle which Bazunu just about saved.

Just when it looked like the game would end in a draw. Town somehow managed to score a winner.

Morsy found Davis in space on the left with a great cross-field pass. The left-back took his time before playing a great low pass in for Sarmiento. The Ecuadorian international slipped as he hit his shot but like Chaplin at QPR earlier in the season, hooked a low shot into the corner of the net to Bazunu’s left to lift the roof off Portman Road.

Players ran off the bench to celebrate, keeper Hladky charged up the field from the other end to join a bundle in the corner between the Cobbold and Sir Bobby Robson stands.

There was little time for Southampton to hit back and referee Salisbury’s whistle ending this half was met by a huge roar and Town players collapsing to their knees at the start of very lengthy celebrations both on the field and on the terraces.

This season has seen some great games at Portman Road and numerous brilliant comebacks, but this victory has to be the greatest of them all.

At half-time, the Blues were looking very much second best against a Southampton side which had hit their straps having got back on terms and ahead after going behind.

But once again, manager Kieran McKenna’s judicious use of subs paid off with Broadhead netting a superb equaliser as the Blues, who never know when they’re beaten, took charge in the final quarter of an hour.

The red card was perhaps the only big - or arguably small - decision referee Salisbury got right all afternoon and from there the Blues scented blood.

Sarmiento may not have started many games since signing on loan from Brighton in January but the Ecuadorian international will go down in Town folklore for such a memorable last-gasp winner, one up there with Jim Magilton’s famous hat-trick strike in the 1999/00 play-off semi-final second leg.

The result, perhaps the outstanding win of the season, moves Town, who are now certain to finish in the top four, back to the top of the table ahead of Leicester, who beat Norwich City, who the Blues travel to face next Saturday, 3-1 earlier in the day by two points and one ahead of Leeds following their 3-1 home win at home to Hull City this evening.

Town fans might need a few days to recover before preparing for their visit to Norfolk.

Town: Hladky, Tuanzebe (Clarke 61), Woolfenden, Burgess, Davis, Morsy (c), Luongo (Taylor 61), Hutchinson, Chaplin, Jackson (Sarmiento 61), Moore (Al-Hamadi 36). Unused: Walton, Edmundson, Travis, Harness.

Southampton: Bazunu, Harwood-Bellis, Stephens (c), Bednarek, Bree, Downes, Aribo (Rothwell 82), S Armstrong (Smallbone 82), A Armstrong, Adams (Edozie 77), Fraser (Brooks 71). Unused: Lumley, Walker-Peters, Manning, Kamaldeen, Mara. Referee: Michael Salisbury (Preston). Att: 29,393 (Southampton: 1,161).

Photo: Action Images

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Kilterums added 19:50 - Apr 1
Whether we go up on not, it's a very special season!!
Loving it!

Jcb2007 added 19:51 - Apr 1
Unbelievable, breathe.....

BluerThanBlue added 19:52 - Apr 1
"Unused: Walton, Edmundson, Travis, Harness, Sarmiento."
Unused Sarmiento? I think he WAS used!!!!!!

delias_cheesy_flaps added 19:54 - Apr 1
Amazing, simply amazing!

TimmyH added 19:54 - Apr 1
Absolutely mind boggling! outplayed through 60 minutes...could have been further behind but then we stir after Al-Hamadi strikes the post and the game just seems to change, we gain impetus and energy and then a 97 minute winner!! Portman Road really is the place to be in this country for entertainment.

I nearly got a hernia when we scored jumping so high...and by the way hahaha! Russell Martin. Well done lads for a never say die attitude. Now lets beat those budgies!

warktheline added 19:54 - Apr 1
Then there was three! Ipswich, Leicester and Leeds…game on! What an incredible season!!!!

baldman added 19:55 - Apr 1
Wow just wow this team just dosnt know when it's beaten kinda reminds me of scum when they got promoted scoring injury time winners

JewellintheTown added 19:57 - Apr 1
Tried to book myself in for a pacemaker but I'm 30, 000th in the queue at Ipswich hospital.
See you all there.

chepstowblue added 19:57 - Apr 1
I'm lost for words. For 65mins we didn't deserve to be on the same pitch as them. Al Hamadi hitting the post suddenly lifted the belief, and the memory of previous extraordinary finales this season resurfaced. The resilience of this group is truly unbelievable.

blueboy1981 added 19:58 - Apr 1
Fantastic Second Half turnaround against a Team that dominated the First Half.
I remember the days when Liverpool did similar things, and never lost a game until tthat Final Whistle was blown ….. !!!
Well Deserved Win against a very good Team in Southampton.
Well Done Lads - you proved NOTHING IS IMPOSSIBLE - now go on and WIN the remaining Games, you’ve proved you CAN !!

inghamspur added 20:01 - Apr 1
That was simply unbelievable. Never seen anything like that

cfmoses added 20:02 - Apr 1
I’m still crying. At half time I said to my bruv wow we’ve been totally outplayed and we’ve lost Kieffer…no way back.


DifferentGravy added 20:03 - Apr 1
Put players in their correct position (Hutch). Hook off Jackson (poor) and Luongo (tired) and it was a completely different game

Bluebacker added 20:04 - Apr 1
Wow wow wow! You just can't write it, can you! Did not see that coming for a lot of the game. Even when down to ten Southampton were still dangerous but we just won't give up. That feels like a big one! We've had a lot of late winners this season but that one might just be the best.

Lightningboy added 20:06 - Apr 1
Complete Jekyll & Hyde performance but these are the sort of wins that will live on in the memory..thought the subs were outstanding.

Suffolkboy added 20:07 - Apr 1
Awesome spirit , great determination and the most enviable unity and sense of purpose! We have some team ( all the way from the very Top) and a wonderful manager too !

SickParrot added 20:09 - Apr 1
Wow, what a finish - again. This team just never gives up. If we're honest we were outplayed first half and Southampton could've been home and hosed but with only one goal in it you always feel we've still got a chance. The team spirit, belief and super subs get us the last gasp win again. Amazing

Karlosfandangal added 20:15 - Apr 1
All those games I went to with only 13000 watching now I can’t get a ticket.
But still so happy glad we are on the tv so much so still part of this mental season.

What a team.

They are following in the footsteps of heroes and becoming heroes themselves

GrasmereBlue added 20:16 - Apr 1

Bluebrewer added 20:18 - Apr 1
Last twenty minutes were unbelievable- so much energy and drive, and the crowd were awesome. Soton were more skillful, but just buckled under the pressure. Something special is happening here.

wewerefamous added 20:18 - Apr 1
Unbelievable game, these lads just don’t give up. Not good for the blood pressure and absolutely no voice left… and I watched it at home!!! Just loving it. Bring on the budgies!

Wicksy added 20:20 - Apr 1
Kieron is a genius

Rsj13 added 20:23 - Apr 1
The gap between us and sixth (whose sixth again...!?) is 23 points. That's the same gap between sixth and Plymouth, in 21st.

That shows 1) how well we're doing this year, but also 2) just how bonkers this league is!

IpswichT62OldBoy added 20:30 - Apr 1
I watched this in a pub in Cambridge
I don't think they will be letting me back

EssexTractor added 20:30 - Apr 1
Apologies to everyone who heard my voice at half time advising that we were o n the ropes unlikely to get up .
But driven on by a roaring crowd in the last 30 minutes the players all of them in that last furore played their hearts out.
Substitution magic again
Throughout the match , aside from one odd free kick across goal, Burgess was a giant.
Our energies were regained after Ali hit the post , the belief grew
Davis terrific action down the line
Broadhead clever finish
And then of course Sarmiento incredible incredible moment , followed by the coated Chaplin dancing round the pitch
Unbelievable yet it happened

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