Accrington Stanley 2-0 Ipswich Town: Another TV horror show as Blues’ unbeaten record ends at the Wham Stadium
Ipswich Town’s unbeaten League One record is gone following a miserable defeat at Accrington this afternoon.
Just as they were in the FA Cup in January, the Blues were second best to an Accrington side who were solid, well-drilled and took their chances when they came as Colby Bishop netted twice.
The former non-league striker gave Accrington the lead as he connected with a ball into the box, which Town struggled with for much of the game, before netting from the spot following a clumsy barge from Toto Nsiala.
The Town cause wasn't helped in the second period when substitute Armando Dobra was sent off following an altercation with Stanley defender Ross Sykes, who was also dismissed.
Teenager Dobra's half-time introduction had helped spark Ipswich up a gear, but in truth they never really looked like getting back into a contest they were beaten out of before the interval.
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Some big decisions went agains the Blues, including a Luke Woolfenden effort which replays suggest may have potentially crossed the line, but those were not why the Blues were beaten this afternoon.
It must also be noted that Ipswich, who remain top of League One but have seen their lead cut to a single-point this weekend, were without injury victims Kane Vincent-Young, James Norwood (both groin) and Flynn Downes (hip) as well as suspended defender James Wilson.
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This was another game where the Blues failed to win off the back of an international break, with that tally now at 21 straight games, while another loss on live television means Ipswich haven't beaten a team in front of the cameras in their last 15.
Next up is the visit of Rotherham on Wednesday.
With four key players absent, Lambert shuffled his pack, with Gwion Edwards, Toto Nsiala, Andre Dozzell and Alan Judge all coming into the side for the televised clash, which began in frenetic fashion as the home drummer and vocal away support created an excellent atmosphere at kick-off.
There was a break early on as Town captain Luke Chambers received treatment following a clash of heads with Offrande Zanzala, which saw the skipper return to action with a black bandage around his head.
A Jerome Opoku foul on Jon Nolan presented Ipswich with their first real opportunity, with Judge flashing Luke Garbutt's cross wide into the side-netting with a header.
That's as good as it good as it got for the visitors before they fell behind, as a high, arcing ball from the right wasn't dealt with in the middle at all, with Bishop on hand to get ahead of Edwards and head back across goal and into Tomas Holy's net.
Home tails were up as Stanley grew in confidence given to them by their lead, with Zanzala the next to head wide as balls into the area troubled the Blues time and time again.
Judge threatened the Stanley goal as he bundled a low effort towards the target, only for Jordan Clark to get back and hook the ball of the line after it had crept under goalkeeper Dimitar Evtimov.
Zanzala had another close-range header miss the target as Stanley really should have made it two, but they weren't to be denied their second before the break.
Nsiala had had a difficult afternoon during the first half, struggling on the ball, being pulled around the pitch and picking up a booking, but it got worse when he barged into Bishop inside the box, prompting referee Sebastian Stockbridge to point to the spot.
Lambert acted at the break, replacing Nsiala and Dozzell with Armando Dobra and Danny Rowe, with the two attacking players putting a bit of a spring in the Town step in the early minutes of the second period.
It didn't lead to chances, though, with Stanley having the best of those as Clark skipped inside Edwards before shooting wide.
After having one off the line in the first half, the Blues were denied again when Garbutt's looping cross was fumbled by Evtimov, with Luke Woolfenden stabbing the ball towards goal but seeing his effort cleared by Ross Sykes. Replays suggested the ball may have in fact crossed the line, but it wasn't to be.
Stanley's Liam McConville should have been dismissed for an ugly tackle on Edwards, with the midfielder flying in on the Welshman with both feet, studs up, but referee Stocksbridge only handed him a yellow card on an afternoon the official may not be hugely proud of when he watches this contest back.
The game looked to be up for Ipswich though when Dobra was dismissed along with Sykes, with Stanley sub Dion Charles lashing over as they looked to extend their lead.
Six minutes were added on at the end of the game, but Ipswich were unable to force the issue.
Accrington Stanley: Evtimov, Sykes, Hughes, Opoku; Conneely, Finley, Clark, McConville (Pritchard 77); Bishop, Zanzala (Charles 75)
Subs: Bursik, Edwards, Sherif, Carvalho, Alese
Ipswich Town: Holy; Woolfenden, Chambers, Nsiala (Rowe, 46); Edwards , Skuse, Dozzell (Dobra, 46), Garbutt, Nolan; Judge (Georgiou 66), Jackson
Subs: Norris, Donacien, Huws, Keane
Att: 3,567 (1,034 Ipswich fans)