Accrington Stanley 1-0 Ipswich Town: Blues’ woeful FA Cup run continues on miserable afternoon at Wham Stadium
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Ipswich Town’s miserable FA Cup record continues after the Blues were dumped out at the third-round stage yet again this afternoon.
Billy Kee’s 76th-minute goal was the difference in a game of low quality at the Wham Stadium, in which the Blues struggled to create chances of note against their League One hosts.
Paul Lambert’s men lacked spark, urgency and toughness against a well-drilled Accrington side who had the better of the aerial battle and the stats sheet, having more efforts on goal and forcing more corners than their visitors
The defeat means Ipswich’s winless run in the competition, which stretches back to 2010 and now includes 13 games, continues.
The Blues are 10 points adrift at the bottom of the Championship and, if they do slip into League One, face beginning their FA Cup journey in the first round next season.
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Callum Elder came in for his first Ipswich Town appearance as boss Lambert made seven changes to his side, including the decision to give captain Luke Chambers a rest and start Toto Nsiala in the centre of his defence.
The former Shrewsbury defender made a number of good headed clearances early on, before the game settled down, but for all the Blues’ neat touches through midfield, striker Kayden Jackson was provided with little sight of goal.
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Ipswich had to see out a string of corners while goalkeeper Bartosz Bialkowski, in for Dean Gerken, made a couple of smart saves at his near post from Sam Finley and then Jordan Clark.
Flynn Downes was shown the first yellow card following a push during an off-the-ball exchange with Finley, and the frustration continued for the Blues as they had to wait until the 38th minute of the game to have their first effort of the game as Jon Nolan curled tamely over the bar.
Bialkowski then had to push away Clark’s shot as they continued to deal with Stanley pressure, before Sears had the Blues’ first shot on target as he took a Nolan pass, cut inside and shot low across goal into Connor Ripley’s arms.
Clark’s header flew wide of the post in first-half stoppage time, firing another warning shot for the Blues before the whistle blew, and the hosts were on the attack soon after the interval as the Blues had to defend a corner.
There was panic in the Stanley defence as Ben Richards-Everton headed the ball back towards an empty net with goalkeeper Ripley having to scramble to claw it away, before substitute Teddy Bishop fired wide with his first contribution after coming on for Downes.
The midfielder was nearly able to slip Sears in on the hour mark as replacement strikers Will Keane and Ellis Harrison began their warm-ups, before Bishop fired over again.
Keane was introduced from the bench but barely managed a touch before Accrington found the breakthrough. Spence tripped McConville, with the in-form midfielder picking himself up and taking a free-kick which Richards-Everton headed back across goal for Kee to turn home.
Harrison’s introduction brought added urgency as the Welshman slipped in Sears, before Barlaser helped turn the forward’s goal-bound effort wide, Sears then had the Blues’ best chance of the afternoon but dragged an effort wide from inside the box after being slipped in by Bishop.
And that, was that as the Blues exited the competition at the first hurdle once again.
Accrington Stanley: Ripley; Johnson, Sykes, Hughes, Richards-Everton; Finley, Barlaser, Mangan (Brown 66); Clark, McConville, Kee
Sub: Maxted, Brown, Williams, Mingola, Perritt, Conneely, Watson
Ipswich Town: Bialkowski; Spence, Pennington, Nsiala, Elder; Downes (Bishop 46), Nolan (Harrison 80), Dozzell; Edwards. Sears, Jackson (Keane 66)
Subs: Gerken, Chambers, Kenlock, Bishop, Lankester, Harrison
Attendance: 2,896 (1,224 Ipswich fans)