Burton Albion 0 Ipswich Town 1: Garbutt delivers as Town celebrate a winning start
Burton Albion 0 Ipswich Town 1
Luke Garbutt crowned his Ipswich Town debut with the winning goal, via a deflected shot, as Paul Lambert's men kicked off the 2019-20 season with a victory on the road in a feisty encounter at Burton Albion this afternoon.
This was Town's first season back in the third tier for 62 years, following last season's miserable relegation, and their quest for an immediate return to the Championship at least began on the right foot.
Garbutt, on loan from Everton for the season, bagged the only goal of the game in the 11th minute against a Burton side who ended the match with 10 men, due to Stephen Quinn's 78th minute dismissal.
Garbutt was one of four players making their full Town debuts, the others being keeper Tomas Holy, centre-half James Wilson and striker James Norwood, as boss Lambert decided on a 4-4-2 formation.
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And a bright start from Town was capped by Garbutt's early opener.
It all started with a strong run by the excellent Danny Rowe, the ball finding its way through to Garbutt, who was lurking just outside the box, via James Norwood and Flynn Downes.
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Garbutt instinctively tried his luck with a low rasping shot which took a massive deflection, either off team-mate Rowe or home defender John-Joe O'Toole, to completely wrong-foot keeper Kieran O'Hara and fly into the net.
Holy made his vital eye-catching intervention in the 20th minute, when keeping out Ryan Edwards' low drive with an outstretched right leg. The assistant referee had already raised his flag for offside, but it was still a good instinctive block from Town's big new keeper.
Town almost doubled their lead in the 24th minute, via Holy's quickly-taken throw. Norwood ran at the Burton defence and Janoi Donacien helped the ball on to Rowe, whose rising shot was beaten away to safety by keeper O'Hara. It was a very slick break from the visitors.
Two minutes later and a surging Norwood was halted in his tracks by a deliberate trip from Stephen Quinn, who was booked for his troubles.
The Brewers rarely threatened at the other end, pacy front-runner Luca Akins dragging a 25-yarder well wide of target on 32 minutes.
Rowe had been involved in much of Town's best moves in the first half, and another of his fierce low drives was pushed around his post by O'Hara, following a superb cross-field ball by Cole Skuse.
There was some pinball in the Town penalty area in the 39th minute, as Holy struggled to get the ball under control. He was left stranded outside his six-yard box, but captain Jake Buxton mis-kicked at the vital moment and the chance of an equaliser was gone.
Burton should have been level, just four minutes into the second half. Again Holy was out of position, but this time Akins blazed high and wide with an empty goal beckoning from 10 yards out.
Norwood was booked in the 52nd minute, after trying to close down defender O'Toole near the corner flag and then showing dissent to the assistant referee, and Downes followed suit with a 58th minute yellow for a late challenge.
Burton were reduced to 10 men, with 12 minutes remaining, when midfielder Quinn was shown a second yellow and ensuing red card for clipping the heels of Garbutt, who was in full flight.
The Brewers almost grabbed a bizarre equaliser in the 86th minute, when keeper Holy's attempted clearance struck Liam Boyce, the ball rolling agonisingly wide of the far post.
In his frustration at his keeper's error, Town coach Matt Gill kicked out at the cool-box beside the dug-out and was shown a red card by referee Ross Joyce, and so was sent to the stands.
But Town soaked up some late pressure to ensure a welcome opening day victory.
BURTON: O'Hara, Brayford, O'Toole, Buxton, Daniel (sub Hutchinson, 87), Wallace (sub Broadhead, 66), Quinn, Edwards, Fraser, Akins (sub Sarkic, 81), Boyce. Unused subs: Bywater, Sbarra, Nartey, Anderson.
IPSWICH: Holy, Donacien, Wilson (sub Huws, 79), Woolfenden, Kenlock, Rowe (sub Mizouni, 90+1), Skuse, Downes, Garbutt, Jackson (sub Judge, 63), Norwood. Unused subs: Norris, Roberts, Dobra, Clements.
Referee: Ross Joyce