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Ipswich Town 2-0 Huddersfield Town - Match Report
Saturday, 4th May 2024 14:34

Ipswich Town are back in the Premier League after a 22-year wait following a 2-0 home victory over Huddersfield Town, a result which sealed remarkable back-to-back promotions. Wes Burns gave the Blues the lead on 27 and Omari Hutchinson settled any nerves three minutes after the break, while Town would have secured promotion even if they’d lost with Leeds, their rivals for the second automatic promotion place, beaten 2-1 at home by Southampton.

Town boss Kieran McKenna made three changes from the team which won 2-1 at Coventry on Tuesday.

Luke Woolfenden returns at the heart of the defence for his hometown club with George Edmundson dropping back to the bench.

Conor Chaplin came into side in the central role behind striker George Hirst with Nathan Broadhead and Kieffer Moore also among the subs having started Tuesday’s match.

All-but-relegated Huddersfield made four changes from the team which drew 1-1 at home to Birmingham last week with keeper Chris Maxwell, Tom Edwards, Ben Jackson and Ben Wiles all starting.

Young right-back Neo Eccleston was on the bench for the first time along with two keepers, usual first-choice Lee Nicholls and youngster Giosue Bellagambi.

The Blues, whose had been greeted by a huge crowd of fans assembled by Blue Action as they arrived at the ground and with 40 members of the US ownership and their families having made the trip, got the game under way, unusually attacking the Sir Bobby Robson Stand.

Town started confidently and Axel Tuanzebe struck the game’s first shot in the eighth minute, the ball deflecting wide for the first of two corners.

On 11, Burns crossed low from the right and Hutchinson appeared to upended as it came over, however, Premier League referee Simon Hooper waved away the protests.

From the corner, Conor Chaplin looped the ball back in and Hirst nodded across the face and wide.

In the 13th minute, with the Blues dominant and the home fans getting firmly behind them, Hutchinson tried a clever backheel into the path of Burns inside the box but the Wales international failed to read it.

Three minutes later, Chaplin turned his man 25 yards out before hitting a low shot which flew just wide of Maxwell’s left post.

On 18, after Hutchinson had just failed to keep the ball in on the byline on the left, a murmur around the ground gradually grew into a roar as news of Southampton going in front at Leeds filtered through.

Two minutes later, the Blues broke following a Huddersfield attack but Burns shot over from just outside the box having been teed-up by Hutchinson. News that Leeds had quickly equalised similarly worked its way around the Town support.

Town continued to create chances. In the 23rd minute, Hutchinson stood up a cross from the left, Burns nodded back across goal but Chaplin headed well over, much to his frustration.

Two minutes later, the Blues missed an even better chance. Chaplin played in Burns with a great pass and the Welshman slipped it past the advancing Maxwell but wide of the keeper’s right post. It was the best opening up to that point.

But Burns and the Town support didn’t have to wait too much longer for their side to go in front.

Hutchinson won the ball off a dawdling defender on the left and fed Hirst, who moved it on to Chaplin, who swept it wide to Burns on the right of the box and the Wales international slammed a shot between Maxwell and his left post to take the roof of Portman Road.

Burns’s sixth goal of the season, which had been coming, was effectively worth two with Huddersfield needing to win to upset Town’s afternoon.

On the half-hour, three minutes after going behind, the visitors made what looked to be a tactical change, Alex Matos replacing Jack Rudoni.

On 33, Town were denied what looked a very solid penalty claim. Chaplin was sent away on the right of the box and was about to cut across to the unmarked Hirst when he was felled.

Referee Hooper waved away the protests and then almost immediately gave another decision against the Blues when Burns appeared to be tripped, before giving a subsequent free-kick to Chaplin, who angrily made a point regarding the penalty claim and was spoken to at length by the official.

In the 40th minute, news of Southampton’s second goal at Leeds having been warmly received around the stadium, Hutchinson turned and skipped away from his man before breaking towards the area but scuffed his low shot wide.

A minute later, Morsy slammed a powerful strike which Maxwell snaffled at the second attempt. It had continued to be all Town with the only surprise they hadn’t extended their lead.

Moments after the fourth official indicated an additional four minutes, a long throw was cleared to Massimo Luongo, who hit a first-time strike which flew over the bar.

The whistle was greeted by applause, the half having gone as well as Town could have hoped aside from adding to their one-goal lead. But with Leeds 2-1 behind at half-time, the Blues had a four-goal cushion across the two matches going in at the break.

Town had been in control and comfortable all half and had created enough chances to have been 5-0 ahead, as they were in the similar game at home to Exeter, which confirmed promotion from League One a year ago.

Two minutes after the restart, Vaclav Hladky claimed a free-kick from the right which had been looped into the box, the Czech keeper’s first serious action of the match.

But in the 48th minute, any nerves there might have been around Portman Road were firmly settled when the Blues doubled their lead.

Morsy played a short pass forward for Hutchinson, who took it away from one defender and across two more before hitting a low shot which Maxwell could only help on its way into the net to his right.

The goal sent Portman Road wild with chants of ‘we are going up!’ starting in earnest as the on-loan Chelsea forward celebrated his 11th goal of his hugely successful loan spell.

Town kept looking for goals, a Chaplin volley following a corner was blocked, then Burgess had a shot similarly stopped on its way towards goal.

Just before the hour, Burns stood up a deep cross from the right, Hirst left it to Leif Davis behind him but the left-back’s shot into the ground bounced over the bar.

On 61, Hutchinson again went down under pressure on the right of the box but again referee Hooper showed no interest, probably correctly.

Ahead of the restart, Huddersfield made a triple change, David Kasumu, Rhys Healey and Danny Ward making way for Josh Koroma, Tom Iorpenda, whose brother George is a Town U18s player, and Bojan Radulovic.

The Blues, with the atmosphere around the ground now incredibly relaxed, continued to look for goals, Hirst having an effort charged down from the right of the area.

In the 68th minute, Cameron Burgess slid in to make an important challenge with sub Koroma bursting away towards the Town goal, the Australian international stabbing back to Hladky.

But Huddersfield possession, let alone chances, was still rare and a minute later Hutchinson almost found Burns breaking into the area with a lofted pass, although Koroma managed their first shot on target in the 72nd minute but failed to trouble Hladky.

A minute later, Luongo forced Maxwell to tip over his 25-yard strike which was otherwise destined for the top corner.

Ahead of the corner, Town made a triple change, Burns, Hirst and Chaplin making their way off to rapturous applause and Kayden Jackson, Moore and Jeremy Sarmiento taking over.

Following a Morsy shot which was blocked from the corner, Huddersfield swapped Edwards for Brodie Spencer.

Sarmiento immediately went looking to add to the goals, hitting a shot from 30 yards which deflected wide.

On 81, Luongo slipped and surrendered possession not far outside the area but the ball through to Koroma was too strong and Hladky was able to claim. Three minutes later, Jack Taylor replaced Luongo.

Huddersfield sub curled not too far over in the 85th minute, before Hutchinson was shown the game’s first yellow card for a foul on Matthew Pearson a few yards inside the Huddersfield half.

As the game - and the season - moved into its final scheduled minute, Jackson cut back to Sarmiento, who shot powerfully over.

Ahead of the restart, Town swapped keeper Hladky, who was given a warm ovation as he left the field, for Christian Walton, giving last season’s first-choice keeper some involvement, as manager McKenna did last year with Hladky in the Exeter match.

After three minutes of added on time, referee Hooper blew his whistle, signalling a huge pitch invasion from fans from all directions with players lifted on shoulders and blue pyro wafting around the ground.

In the end, it was as comfortable a day as Town and their fans could have hoped for with the Blues thoroughly dominating Huddersfield and winning comfortably.

Elsewhere, Leeds losing 2-1 at home to Southampton meant that Town could have lost and still gone up but as it was they end the season six points ahead of the Whites having achieved 96 points, a new record for a promoted side.

It took 40 minutes for the pitch to be cleared of fans before the players returned for photographs and then, eventually, the presentation of medals and the second-place trophy by CEO Mark Ashton.

Sir Alf Ramsey’s side achieved a stunning double in the early sixties when they won the Second Division and First Division in successive years and while McKenna and his team’s remarkable feat may not quite match that, it comes very, very close. In total over the last two seasons the Blues have picked up 194 points and scored 193 goals.

It's been a long 22 years away from the top flight with a few false dawns and some long fallow periods, but Town will finally return to the Premier League come August.

Town: Hladky (Walton 90), Tuanzebe, Woolfenden, Burgess, Davis, Morsy (c), Luongo (Taylor 84), Burns (Jackson 74), Chaplin (Sarmiento 74), Hutchinson, Hirst (Moore 74). Unused: Clarke, Edmundson, Travis.

Huddersfield: Maxwell, Pearson, Helik (c), Rudoni, Edwards (Spencer 75), Kasumu (Koroma 62), Turton, Wiles, Ward (Radulovic 62), Jackson, Healey (Iorpenda 62). Unused: Nicholls, Bellagambi, Matos, Jones, Eccleston. Referee: Simon Hooper (Wiltshire).

Photo: Matchday Images

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Bluebacker added 14:35 - May 4
WE ARE PREMIER LEAGUE!!! Thank you Kieran. Thank you players. Thank you staff. Thank you for giving us the most magical and memorable season. Everyone pulling together as ONE. You will go down in memory. You are all heroes.

blueboy1981 added 14:39 - May 4
Amazing achievement for our Club, Manager, and Supporters !
Our Club is BACK !
Well Done everyone associated with ITFC - so Proud of you ALL. ⚽️

SWBlue22 added 14:39 - May 4

Townancountry added 14:41 - May 4
How about that then , it's unbeleivable !

itfcserbia added 14:43 - May 4
Come on you bluuueeesss!!!

Ipswichbusiness added 14:45 - May 4
What a wonderful result after a superb season. Well done to all at the Club, especially KMc.

My prediction at the outset was that we would finish at the lower end of the play offs (5th or 6th) and fail to be promoted, so I am delighted to be proved wrong!

The only slight blemish is that if we had beaten Preston away then we would now be Champions, but that must not detract from an excellent result overall.

TimmyH added 14:47 - May 4
Fantastic day fantastic season...memories that stick with you, memories of when we were last in the Premiership when my parents were alive, my dad took me to my first game in 1976 when we beat WBA 7-0.....god bless and to all fans of ITFC.

therein61 added 14:48 - May 4
Thanks you super blues for reaching the prem i didn't think i would see it again in my life you have made an old man so happy and emotional my first game at Portman Road was in April 1958 we beat Liverpool 4-1 go do it again next year!!!!!!! time for more beer.

Baino added 14:48 - May 4
I effing jeffing well love OUR club.
I effing jeffing well love you lot.
That is all.

Kulturarv added 14:50 - May 4
I am a bit pissed off being second every year. Can we please win the next league?
Absolutely fantastic job Kieran & Co! We love you all! Congratulations!!!

FrankMarshall added 14:50 - May 4
Bloody brilliant! Well done to the whole team!

yorkieblue62 added 14:55 - May 4
In 2002 after our relegation from the PL I wrote to David Sheepshanks, then chairman, to say I thought it was a disaster for the club & that we would take a long time to recover. Needless to say he did not agree. Twenty two years later against the odds we are back and as a Town fan of 68 years I can only say a massive thank you to the manager, players, owners, CEO and all you magnificent fans. I'm overwhelmed.

Davidwb20 added 14:57 - May 4
We’ve got super Kieran McKenna!!!!!

DifferentGravy added 15:01 - May 4
May the horse be with you.....always

ITFC62 added 15:03 - May 4

Esseeja added 15:04 - May 4
Congratulations to everyone who contributed to this incredible achievment.
Back where I believe we always belonged, and progressing towards our full potential.

singtown added 15:05 - May 4
When we were last promoted via playoff final victory over Barnsley at Wembley, the song ‘The Only Way Is Up’ was played.

Now 22 yrs later we are back up to the Premier League. Will be searching for the same song to listen the whole night. Well done everyone. See you guys again in Aug.

Love from Singapore!

Davidwb20 added 15:05 - May 4
Paint the Town Blue & White - Ipswich are back where we belong!!

thevoiceofreason added 15:07 - May 4
In the words of Kate Bush - “Wow, wow, wow, wow, wow, wow, unbelievable!”

Eeyore added 15:08 - May 4
So proud of this team

Broadbent23 added 15:13 - May 4
Fabulous we are now back in the big time. King calm is Kieran Mckenna. I had the belief that something special was going to happen. The game was pretty standard, we just had to wait 96 minutes to roar our heads off. We have another set of Town legends to celebrate. Our media presence will be massive, the PL is so much bigger from our last time there. The next journey is huge. KM now has to conjure up a survival plan. BELIEVE . Massive congratulations to everyone at the club. Get the putty ready and create a new statue.

FromIpswichToPhoenix added 15:22 - May 4
What a wonderful season. In dreamland.

Can't believe Town TV cut the feed and didn't show any of the celebrations. iFOLLOW covered all of it last season.

Lightningboy added 15:28 - May 4
Congratulations to each and ever single one of them...even the tea lady.


warktheline added 15:34 - May 4
Congratulations to everyone involved and support Ipswich Town FC! We don’t want any negative comments from the usual people today, because for sure, they could never be justified!

Cervantes added 15:45 - May 4
The magnitude of this achievement cannot be overstated. So few clubs have done what we did today. About the time we sacked big Mick, I predicted that we'd struggle badly. Little did I know that we'd struggle quite as badly as we did. As soon as the new ownership model was made public and we signed a very well regarded, young and hungry coach, I saw the green shoots of regrowth. I predicted a top 10 finish this year with maybe a play off adventure next. At that time, back to back promotions to the promised land was only fantasy. I can't thank the club and their backers enough. Made an oldish man very, very happy!

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