Comfortable win for Town
Trelleborg Combination 0Ipswich Town 5THE four second half goals no doubt caught the imagination in Sweden last night but the clean sheet was probably the most important part at this stage of free-scoring Blues's pre-season preparations, writes Derek Davis.
Trelleborg Combination 0
Ipswich Town 5
THE four second half goals no doubt caught the imagination in Sweden last night but the clean sheet was probably the most important part at this stage of free-scoring Blues's pre-season preparations, writes Derek Davis.
The fitness is coming along steadily and the confidence is high among a squad comfortable with a 4-3-3 system which is paying dividends.
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While no one will get carried away with four friendly wins in a row, especially against lower class opposition, winning is a great habit and goals breed confidence, especially when scored with such style.
Darren Bent tucked away a first-half penalty which he had won after a push by Patrik Green and he tucked it away to his left with a low right-foot drive, to take his tally to five goals in four games.
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Counago's goal was impudence personified but total class. Fabian Wilnis crossed from the right, Marcus Bent picked out the Spaniard and the keeper was totally deceived by Counago's most delicate of chips.
Martijn Reuser showed he can put them away too, with a sublime curling shot from 22-yards after being set up by Dean Bowditch, to score the goal he has been yearning for on this trip.
Marcus Bent has deservedly scored in every pre-season game and showed his bravery to get his foot in to score Town's fourth from a Bowditch cross to make it four.
Fabian Wilnis, who for so long was part of a tight defensive unit along with skipper Chris Makin, young Aidan Collins and Drissa Diallo, got in on the goal-scoring act with a 25-yard shot which took a deflection to beat the keeper.
Believe it or not Town looked a little weary for a while as the three games in six days began to take their toll and their first-half passing was poor.
They never really hit top gear but showed flashes of their quality, especially in the second half, against a side made up from three teams.
The host's squad included six from Trelleborg FF, who currently top the Superetten League, five from Ymor and another five from IFK, both lower league sides.
Trelleborgs is a large ferry port in southern Sweden and the Combination side shipped in three Brazilian triallists with Patrik Green and brothers Youseff and Mounir Fakhro playing.
Green and Youseff Fakhro made up the central defence and had plenty to do with Darren Bent's pace latching on to some clever balls over the back line by Marcus Bent.
Reuser was given an earlier than expected introduction to the game by replacing Antonio Murray who has been suffering a sore back recently. He made a good early impression with a curling corner, from which Green cleared off the line from a Marcus Bent downward header. The pair combined again in the second half but this time a good defensive tackle was enough to prevent Bent getting a clean touch on allow curling Reuser cross.
Second-half substitute Nabil Abidallah crossed for Counago but his header was just over the bar.
The little Dutchman was unlucky not to finish a good move when his low drive was well saved by Trelleborg keeper Bjorn Levin and in the same move Alun Armstrong headed wide. The keeper then made a great save to deny the former Middlesbrough striker.
Town's young keeper Lewis Price did not have many difficult saves to make but his handling, distribution and alertness were top notch.
Young Irishman Gerard Nash was unfortunate to last just 30 seconds after being forced off with a head injury after an accidental collision shortly after going on as a substitute, with Aidan Collins going back on to complete an accomplished performance.
The Trelleborg coaches used the lax substitution rules to full effect, rolling players on and off, ensuring they all got game time.
Trelleborg Combination: Levin, Nilsson, Ekroth, Y Fakhro, M Fakhro, Green, Nurmi, Hilturnen, Jacobsson, Andersson, Audyli, Frank, Hjarlmarsson, Eckerland, Lendt and Jonsson.
Ipswich Town: Price, Wilnis, Makin, Collins, Diallo, Santos, Murray (Reuser, 11), Westlake (Abidallah, 46) M Bent, Counago (Armstrong, 60) and D Bent (Bowditch, 60). Substitute not used: Nash.