GALLERY/MATCH REPORT: Ipswich Town 0 West Ham United 0
- Credit: Picture: Steve Waller
Ipswich Town and West Ham United played out a goalless pre-season draw at Portman Road tonight.
Both teams had chances in an open first half, then, after both managers changed their entire teams at the break, the entertainment rather dried up.
Just like in the 4-0 win over Irish side Shelbourne last weekend, the biggest plus for Blues boss Mick McCarthy would have been the way his youngsters – the likes of Matt Clarke, Ben Wyatt, Teddy Bishop, Jack Marriott – acquitted themselves.
There was also an impressive second half save from new signing Bartosz Bialkowski.
West Ham started on the front foot and created two good openings inside the first 10 minutes. First Cheikhou Kouyate headed over Matt Jarvis’ cross in a crowded six-yard box, then Carlton Cole steered a shot over the bar from just inside the box after more good work from Jarvis down the left.
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Town’s first chance arrived in the 10th minute following a slack pass inside from right-back Guy Demel. The alert Jack marriott seized on the ball but could only drag his shot wide of the post.
The visitors were finding it difficult to break down an organised home outfit and Stewart Downing was forced to fire over from long-range after a spell of passing came to nothing. Moments later, Aaron Cresswell – who was given a warm welcome back to Portman Road following his £3.75m switch to the Hammers – saw a deft lob, possibly a cross, but potentially an intended cheeky effort on goal, take a slight deflection, loop over keeper Dean Gerken and come back off the face of the bar.
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Ipswich began to grow in confidence, with young centre-back Matt Clarke looking assured and teenage central midfielder Teddy Bishop putting himself about. It was academy graduate Marriott who the crowd were willing on the most though and he gave them plenty to get excited about.
His first driving run at the defence ended with a clever pass through the middle for Cameron Stewart, but the winger – who mis-hit a shot just previous – took a heavy touch and the opportunity was gone.
Moments later and Marriott was surging forwards with the ball again. This time he got clear himself, his angled effort flashing across the face of goal and just evading a sliding Frank Nouble at the far post.
Ipswich then ended the half on the back foot, but defended well. A perfectly-timed slide tackle from Bishop denied Diame in the box, Tyrone Mings produced a fine clearing header to deny Cole getting on the end of a teasing Cresswell delivery, while Jarvis fluffed his lines just before the break, shooting tamely at Gerken after beating the offside trap.
Both managers changed their entire teams at half-time and the second period did not live up to the action of the first.
Mauro Zarate glanced a header wide, while Seb Lletget’s tame volley was easily held by Town new boy Bartosz Bialkowski. For Ipswich, Freddie Veseli – who last week was allowed to spend time at SWiss club Luzern on trial, but came on central midfield at the break – was denied a back post header by defender Josh Cullen after good work by Daryl Murphy and Paul Taylor.
West Ham looked the more likely to snatch a winner in the closing stages. First, Bialkowski made a fine reaction save to keep out Lletget’s effort after his quick one-two with Zarate in the box, while Ricardo Vaz Te spurned a golden opportunity when he side-footed wide from eight-yards out under pressure from Ben Wyatt.
– Reaction to follow.
First half (4-4-2): Gerken; Hewitt, Berra, Clarke, Mings; Stewart, Skuse, Bishop, Henshall; Marriott, Nouble.
Second half (4-4-2): Bialkowski; Parr, Chambers, Smith, Wyatt; Anderson. Hyam, Veseli, Tabb; Murphy, Taylor.
WEST HAM UNITED
First half (4-4-1-1): Jaaskelainen; Demel, Collins, Tomkins, Cresswell; Downing, Kouyate, Noble, Jarvis; Diame; Cole.
Second half (4-4-1-1): Adrian; O’Brien, Chambers, Reid, Page; Vaz Te, Poyet, Cullen, Lletget; Zarate (McCallum 78); Nolan.
Attendance: 8,976 (1,920 away)