Stu says: Five observations following Town U23s’ hard-fought 2-1 win against Coventry

Town players celebrate Ben Folami goal against Coventry Ciy at Portman Road Picture: ROSS HALLS

Town players celebrate Ben Folami goal against Coventry Ciy at Portman Road Picture: ROSS HALLS - Credit: Archant

Ipswich Town’s Under-23s recorded a hard-fought 2-1 win against their Coventry counterparts at Portman Road last night. STUART WATSON reports.

Ben Folami in action for Town U23s against Coventry City at Portman Road Picture: ROSS HALLS

Ben Folami in action for Town U23s against Coventry City at Portman Road Picture: ROSS HALLS - Credit: Archant

ABSENT FIRST-TEAMERS

Ipswich Town manager Paul Lambert, who wasn't in attendance, has spoken a lot about the importance of getting game time into the legs of as many of his players as possible along the way this season.

It was therefore a surprise, given that the first team now don't have a game until next Tuesday (Rochdale away), that none of his fringe players featured under the lights at Portman Road.

Jordan Roberts remains sidelined with a toe injury he sustained during the 4-0 thrashing of Gillingham in the EFL Trophy earlier this month.

Trialist Gabriel Osho in action for Town U23s against Coventry City at Portman Road Picture: ROSS HA

Trialist Gabriel Osho in action for Town U23s against Coventry City at Portman Road Picture: ROSS HALLS - Credit: Archant


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However, the likes of Janoi Donacien, Myles Kenlock, Toto Nsiala, Andre Dozzell and Armando Dobra - none of whom were in the 18-man squad at Southend on Saturday - were all available and could have benefitted from some time on the pitch.

With Kane Vincent-Young (groin) an injury doubt, you'd have thought it wise to get Donacien up to speed. Having not featured in a league game since August 20, he looks firmly out of the picture now.

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With all of the above missing, the team fielded by Gerard Nash and Chris Hogg had an average age of just 19.

Tyreece Simpson celebrates his goal against Coventry City at Portman Road Picture: ROSS HALLS

Tyreece Simpson celebrates his goal against Coventry City at Portman Road Picture: ROSS HALLS - Credit: Archant

TALE OF THE GAME

This was a hard-fought 2-1 win against a team who started the evening placed second in the Professional Development League South Two table.

Tyreece Simpson turned smartly in the box to fire the hosts into a deserved 26th minute lead. The Blues had dominated possession in the opening exchanges and twice gone close to scoring before that when both Simpson and Bailey Clements curled over after some patient probing.

Coventry got into the game either side of the break, Declan Drysdale side-footing the best of their chances over at the far post, but it was Town who scored next when Ben Folami tricked his way inside from the right before finding the bottom corner with an accurate finish on the angle.

Brett McGavin in action during Town U23s game against Coventry City at Portman Road Picture: ROSS HA

Brett McGavin in action during Town U23s game against Coventry City at Portman Road Picture: ROSS HALLS - Credit: Archant

The visitors had spells of pressure in the second period and finally got a breakthrough when Josh Eccles fired home. They threw everyone forwards in search of a leveller at the death, including the keeper, but a late cross fizzed past everyone and the home players celebrated the sound of the final whistle.

A NEW TRIALIST

Town are clearly looking for a defender or two to bolster their youth ranks.

Idris El Mizouni in action during Town U23s game against Coventry City at Portman Road Picture: ROSS

Idris El Mizouni in action during Town U23s game against Coventry City at Portman Road Picture: ROSS HALLS - Credit: Archant

Having previously taken a look at Joy Mukena and Levi Andoh in recent U23 games, this time they had a new trialist at the back in Gabriel Osho.

The 21-year-old has played twice for Reading in the Championship but is due to be out of contract next summer.

Town may well give him another go over the coming weeks after he produced an assured display. The Nigerian won his headers, made some important tackles, came striding out of the back on more than one occasion and zipped some nice positives passes into the feet of forward players.

Alongside him at centre-back was Corrie Ndaba. The young Irishman, who seems to have faded from the first team picture after Paul Lambert said he was close to making his debut towards the back end of last season, produced some calm touches under pressure. His laid-back style left coach Gerrard Nash screaming 'just clear the ball' though after some over playing led to Coventry's goal.

Adam Przybek in action during Town U23s game against Coventry City at Portman Road Picture: ROSS HAL

Adam Przybek in action during Town U23s game against Coventry City at Portman Road Picture: ROSS HALLS - Credit: Archant

4-4-2

Just like the first team, the U23s have mixed it up regarding formations this season. Just like the first team, they went with a 4-4-2 formation in their latest match.

Summer signing Adam Przybek, 19, made a fine reaction save late on.

Trialist Gabriel Osho pictured during Town U23s game against Coventry City at Portman Road Picture:

Trialist Gabriel Osho pictured during Town U23s game against Coventry City at Portman Road Picture: ROSS HALLS - Credit: Archant

Louie Fehrenbach, 17, usually plays centre-back but operated at right-back on this occasion. Captain Bailey Clements, who has had a brief taste of first team football, always looks measured at left-back.

Tommy Hughes, with his socks rolled down, operated on the left wing. He plays with a bit of edge and intensity, as was shown when the 19-year-old was booked for trying to nick the ball on the blindside just as the keeper was attempting a kick out the hands. On the other wing, French teenager Lounes Foudil, 18, was full of energy.

Idris El Mizouni, the player Town fans will know most about, produced flashes of his neat footwork and technical ability. The Tunisian youth international took some knocks and fired one low shot against the base of the post.

Brett McGavin played the box-to-box role, shielding and then bursting forwards when he could.

Tommy Hughes in action for Town U23s against Coventry City at Portman Road Picture: ROSS HALLS

Tommy Hughes in action for Town U23s against Coventry City at Portman Road Picture: ROSS HALLS - Credit: Archant

Up top, Simpson, the former rugby player turned powerful front man, used his size to good affect playing with his back to goal. And it was great to see the tricky young Australian youth teamer Folami get his first goal following a long-term Achilles injury.

TOWN U23s: Przybek, Fehrenbach, Clements (cpt), McGavin, Osho (trial), Ndaba, Foudil (K Brown 77), El Mizouni, Simpson, Folami, Hughes.

TURNAROUND

Having lost their opening six games of the season, Town's U23s have now gone four unbeaten - three wins and a draw.

They are next in action at league-leaders Watford next Monday.

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