David McGoldrick makes highly-encouraging injury comeback in front of boss

Keiran Morphew in action for Ipswich Town's Under-21 side on Tuesday night.

Keiran Morphew in action for Ipswich Town's Under-21 side on Tuesday night. - Credit: Gregg Brown

David McGoldrick produced a highly-encouraging injury comeback display in front of watching boss Mick McCarthy as Ipswich Town’s Under-21 side drew 1-1 with Nottingham Forest at Portman Road tonight.

The talented forward, who was making his first appearance since suffering a hamstring tear during a training session last December, set up Adam McDonnell’s equaliser and improved as the game wore on.

Midway through the second period he began to really hit his stride and a modest crowd was treated to a few flicks and silky footwork.

Not only did he complete the 90 minutes, but he finished at full-tilt and showed he was willing to get stuck in with one late charge back and perfectly-timed lunging tackle.

The 29-year-old now has almost a fortnight of training ahead of the first team’s trip to Wolves on April 2.

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McGoldrick understandably looked a little ring-rusty in the opening exchanges, but it was him who had the game’s first chance when he curled a low shot wide from the edge of the box.

An inexperienced Forest side came close to breaking the deadlock in the 12th minute when Liam Adams’ low cross from the right was cleverly flicked on by the heel of Jorge Grant at the near post. Gerry McDonagh put his well-struck effort straight at keeper Jacob Marsden when a little more direction would have left the Town man with no chance.

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The game lacked the intensity and edge of a competitive first team affair and once again backed up watching manager McCarthy’s assertion that he would always prefer his fringe players to gain experience out on loan in the lower leagues.

McGoldrick slowly eased his way into the game and there were some brief glimpses of his silky footwork and trademark bodyswerve.

At the other end, Needham Market centre-back Keiran Morphew – playing his second game trial for the club following an injury break – was often in the right place at the right time and showed composure on the ball.

Twice McGoldrick got his head on corner deliveries from rapid left-winger Conor McKendry, but on both occasions the knock down just evaded a team-mate in the six-yard box.

Forest broke the deadlock four minutes after the restart after a through ball by Gerry McDonagh split the home defence and Adams spun left-back Jay Tabb before converting with a low shot.

McGoldrick forced the backpedaling keeper into a scrambling save with a cheeky lobbed effort from just inside the box, then his strong run and pass led to McDonnell’s composed finish on the edge of the area.

Another driving McGoldrick run ended with a cross-cum-shot which just evaded James Blanchfield at the far post. The Republic of Ireland international also saw a long-range free-kick fizz just past the post, while he had a late near post effort well-saved.

Barnsley loanee Paul Digby had been named skipper for the night and he impressed with both his vocal leadership and constant winning of physical duels.

IPSWICH (4-4-2): Marsden; Emmanuel, Morphew, Digby, Tabb; Blachfield (Fowler 86), Benyu (Downes 64), McDonnell, McKendry; McLoughlin (Brown 61), McGoldrick.

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