Blues beaten 2-0 at Braintree as Hurst’s men lose pre-season opener
Ipswich Town began pre-season with defeat at Braintree this afternoon as Aaryan Tajbakhsh’s brace saw off the below-par Blues.
The forward’s neat finish in the first-half and well-placed free-kick did the damage at a sun-drenched Cressing Road, as the Blues never got going in what is their first official pre-season game.
New Blues boss Paul Hurst set his side up in a 4-2-3-1 formation in the first half, with Flynn Downes and Cole Skuse in front of a back four and Freddie Sears, Martyn Waghorn and Grant Ward playing behind lone striker Jordan Roberts.
But the starting side never really got going as the hosts had by far the better of the play in the opening period, and should really have had more than a one-goal lead to show for it.
The Blues looked rusty and lost possession easily on a number of occasions, while creating little going forward as the attacking four struggled to connect with each other as quick, diagonal balls were played into wide areas.
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Tristan Nydam and Luke Woolfenden were introduced at the break, with the Blues coming out with a spring in their step, but the senior players found themselves 2-0 after Tajbakhsh’s second found the net before being replaced en masse.
The youngsters couldn’t find a way through the National League side’s defence, despite moving the ball well and looking to create opportunities for themselves during their half-hour on the pitch.
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Next up for the Blues is a clash with Crawley at East Grinstead on Tuesday night, where Hurst will be hoping for better as his players gear up for the start of the new season.
Waghorn had the first effort on goal as he lashed a shot over the top from 30 yards, but it was Ipswich keeper Gerken who was required to make the first save of the afternoon as he got down well to turn Christie Pattison’s shot behind after Jordan Spence had allowed the ball to run under his foot.
And the hosts were soon ahead as Downes was robbed of possession 20 yards from goal, with the Ipswich players calling for a foul, but when it wasn’t given Aaryan Tajbakhsh was on hand to finish past Gerken.
Josh Hill was the next to test Gerken, with the Blues keeper turning a header over the top before Luke Chambers was on hand to turn a dangerous cross over the top of the bar.
The next Braintree chance fell to Dan Thompson, but he could only head down into the ground and wide, before Waghorn again tried his luck from range but chipped his effort over the top from 40 yards.
The striker, playing in the hole behind Roberts, dragged another effort wide with his right foot as the Blues finally got going, before Ward botched a good attacking move involving Roberts and Sears as his backhell gifted possession to the hosts.
The Blues looked better after the break, with Nydam firing wide before Waghorn threaded a delightful ball through to Roberts from which the Town forward brought a strong save from keeper Nathan McDonald.
Waghorn’s desire to win the ball back after giving the ball away led to a free-kick 25-yards from goal, which Tajbakhsh sent superbly into the bottom corner of Gerken’s goal.
With that the Blues’ remaining senior players were replaced by a host of youngsters, led by Andre Dozzell who pulled the strings for the young Blues as he steps up his recovery from last season’s cruel knee injury.
From there the game lost impetus, with the young Blues unable to find a way through.
Ipswich Town: Gerken (Wright 64); Emmanuel (Woolfenden 45), Spence (Cotter 64), Chambers (Nbada 64), Kenlock (Webber 64); Skuse (McGavin 64), Downes (Nydam 45); Ward (McKendry 64) Sears (Folami 64), Waghorn (Dozzell 64), Roberts (Drinan 64)