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Tranmere Rovers 1 v 2 Ipswich Town
SkyBet League Two
Saturday, 18th January 2020 Kick-off 15:00
ChateauWines added 17:40 - Jan 18
Most one sided game been to in years. Never doubted we would win

grinch added 19:11 - Jan 18
well done the team. yes we actually look like a team who know how each other plays that comes from having settled line up

Mullet added 19:17 - Jan 18
A fixture shrouded in doubt, last minute pitch covers and frosty air at Prenton Park for Town today. Not since the glory days of Burley, have we played this club from beyond the Liver birds. Not since the days of Robson, have we played on a pitch as multi-surfaced either. Mud, sand and grass laid out in front of the Cowshed, in an arena that looked like it would require an Olympic-sized effort to take away three points today.

Town had Norris, a back three of Chambers, Woolfenden and Wilson with Edwards and Garbutt the boys patrolling the beaches down either touchline. Huws and Downes sat behind Judge who had Keane and the returning Jackson up top. Homecoming boy Norwood had to make do with the away bench as Dozzell dropped from today’s squad.
There were questions still hanging over Town that go back way beyond the last couple of months that were so were deficient of anything resembling football, and again, today was not an occasion that lent itself to expansive play.

It took Emyr Huws from the edge of the box to register Town’s first goalward effort. Getting on the end of some decent interleaving of passes and punts from the away side, the Welshman tested the keeper with a solid but easily saved drive. Tranmere had started with a clear intent to get in behind our defence, and dig out the rest of our side by hitting us and the ball, up and under whenever they felt besieged.

The standard of officiating has often been called into question as we acclimatise to the third tier, but there was a sense amongst the lively and noisy away end that Town couldn’t buy a 50:50 regardless of badly they needed one.

Ipswich fed their front two from the width of the rougher territories, and both Keane and Jackson found that bringing others into play heralded better service that trying to defeat three big defenders in the air in a straight battle. All of our creative players from Huws, to Judge to Keane himself found their passes didn’t fall or flow sweetly as they traversed the surface and tried to find the runner they had in mind.

Jackson saw two good chances bobble under him and away from him as he could see the goal, but not with boot and ball aligned as well. Chambers was the first to pick up a rejected corner, firing from distance with no chance of finding the target. Downes then took one at a better angle and distance, but like the goal, the defender was much closer and denied him.

Town switched wingers almost into a makeshift 343 as Norris was told to launch a free kick from just inside the Rovers half. Edwards moved from RWB to LW briefly and Judge took charge of the right flank until the move broke down too. In the midst of this a slow-motion overhead kick from Keane was collected with the ease Thetis got cards rather than matchwinners.

The volume and belief rose behind Norris, but in front of him the breaks never looked like coming. Tranmere tangled and slid into every contest with intent, and Ipswich were not shy or sure in taking possession. This gave the home side some moments to worry the backline and it was a moment of indecision which led to the inevitable concession of a goal.

Tranmere tried to take a quick throw and the speed of it saw it fly out for a goal kick. Norris collected and went to kick, when the referee insisted it was taken further down the line. Much to the protest of the Blues. From there, right wing back Caprice draped himself onto the floor having teased a foul from Garbutt.

It was a moment where Ipswich lost their heads at the merest of provocation. From the looped free kick, Monthé scaled above his markers and nodded inside of the post all too easily. He wheeled away to the jubilation of dozens, and the thousand or more from Suffolk fell into deathly silence. Well executed or not, the injustice sparked a renewed sense of injustice from the players who soon drove forward again.

Keane and Jackson were pushed wide or onto the smatterings of turf with little joy. It was only when Judge bent one of his better passes out, that an exchange of crosses and mistimed runs let Tranmere smother the ball and avoid an equaliser.

Trailing at the half time whistle it seemed harsh on a Town side who hadn’t really clicked, but many individuals looked far better than in previous games. Edwards, Judge and Huws all in their own way contributing with small accomplished moments when needed.

The second half saw blue action on and off the pitch. A collection of the noise moved down the front as the away fans made themselves at home in the spacious little stand. With that. the team grew into the sense of belief being whipped around like a Jackson cross, that this time found no one to put it away.

Great victories often require triumph over adverse conditions, and just as Agincourt was a bog where a young head prevailed far away from home. It was Downes who leapt up to put away Garbutt’s arrowed cross from the marshalling control and pass of Keane. The young King of Portman Road held court with his teammates. All in front of jubilant lads cannoning over the cheap seats to get to them.

With the parity restored and superiority implied Ipswich really went to work on a side that looked like open play was not their strong suit. Huws was like a man transformed of late. Doing the dirty work in our half and juddering forward trying to put his name on the scoresheet and foot through the ball all at once. His rising effort from distance glimpsed the top corner but landed in the crowd beyond the bar.

He would then be booked after a length inspection of a scouse shin, as a hard challenge stopped play and the man, but sent the ball cleanly away. It seemed that the collateral damage coloured the decision. The Welshman’s growing sense of frustration looked to be boiling over, however, it was Judge who make way for Bishop before eventually Emyr was swapped for Skuse, with Norwood replacing Keane sometime between them both.

What a contrast those changes were, and what a contrast in qualities they brought. Teddy looked in fine fettle as he opted to run the ball, rather than put the ball to a runner and began to terrify the defence. He felt he had won a penalty as he skidded towards the byline have skittled all those who dared to close him down.

The midfielder had already forced Monthé to pull him back on the halfway line to avoid a sixty yard foot race the lumbering defender had no right to be in. Both Bishop and Jackson had electrified the channels with their pace and seen shots taste the synthetic palms of a keeper who like his defence, was not fond of catching anything.

After a few minutes of this Skuse took his first touch. Killed it in mid air and rolled it to Norwood with his second. The oldboy was clearly desperate to score, but remained more disciplined in every way to let in Kayden over the top. It was the over the top that Jackson put it. As the keeper looked all to familiar to Town fans, in no mans land the ball dropped like a mortar between bar and goal line and into the net. Town went into the net, and the rascals choir down the front broke out into song, and beyond the barriers in equal measure to rack up a life-time’s worth of bans and memories between them. Scenes as the kids, and theatre types say. Tragedy for Tranmere who had time but not invention or quality on their side.

With the overlapping of wingbacks all half, so too had followed the centre backs in turn. Chambers supported Edwards and Jackson in finding room and chances to cross down the right. Woolfenden had far more success down the left. In the first half his dependency on his right foot meant he cut in from deep but was easily blunted. He strolled and shimmied down the sandier left flank in the second half like it was Ipanema not the Wirall.

Their only hope in contrast was another set piece. A free kick outside the Town box. It was softly given and struck. Floating into Norris arms where it nestled along with hopes of an equaliser. A baffling five minutes of time added on played out, as the only stops seemed to be six subs. Norwood and Garbutt played out a neat and inventive little free kick routine. Opting to dummy the ball into the corner rather than put it in the box.

When the whistle came, the sense we’d got our team back together soon followed. The tingling would have to wait until the car, as thawing out was less important than pumping fists and waving hands from captain, to manager, to fans of all ages. For a few brief moments Ipswich were back in the top two, it was only the fact that Wycombe got a penalty today (in contrast to Town) that put us back where we started. On another day we could easily have fallen further behind, such is the need to look forward to the rest of this season.

Stourbridgeblue added 19:56 - Jan 18
Plenty of positives from today. Bish is getting stronger every game. Huws is now the player we knew he could be.

Glossopippies added 20:24 - Jan 18
What a game of two halves. The first tedious and tentative, the second pacy and exciting. For me Downes was throughout the player who took hold of the game, and Huws a willing accomplice in the middle, with Jackson a really effective front runner who so deserved his excellent goal. However the game rose to a different level with the introduction of Bishop, who mesmerised Tranmere in a super cameo performance.

But perhaps the best performance was from the Ipswich supporters, who seemed to be there in huge numbers. As a senior northern Town supporter whose Ipswich-born dad took me all over the North following the blues, that was the most vocal , enthusiastic and constant support I have ever witnessed. Long may it continue - it made a difference, maybe the difference.

Robert_Garrett added 10:40 - Jan 19
Despite all the physical odds being stacked up against the tractor Boys we managed to ddeliver a welcome rersult and now four games undefeated. Was more accredited to mud Wrestling and the uncertainty of a bouncing, uneven pitch. Ground the last two results out of pig sties so the curve is going upwards again……..

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