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Ipswich Town 2-3 Portsmouth AET: Blues punished by poor decision again as Lambert’s men exit FA Cup

PUBLISHED: 17:44 07 November 2020 | UPDATED: 20:49 07 November 2020

James Norwood wins a free kick after being bundled over by Haji Mnoga.
    Picture: Steve Waller       
www.stephenwaller.com

James Norwood wins a free kick after being bundled over by Haji Mnoga. Picture: Steve Waller www.stephenwaller.com

Ipswich Town fell at the first hurdle in the FA Cup after Portsmouth grabbed a 3-2 victory in extra-time at Portman Road.

Keanan Bennetts scuffs a great first half opportunity to pull a goal back.
    Picture: Steve Waller       
www.stephenwaller.comKeanan Bennetts scuffs a great first half opportunity to pull a goal back. Picture: Steve Waller www.stephenwaller.com

Sean Raggett ultimately won the contest for the hosts as he bundled home following a free-kick, with nine minutes of the extra period remaining, with the Town players frantically appealing for what replays showed to be a clear offside, only for the goal to be given.

The defeat was ultimately cruel on a much-changed Town after they battled back from a nightmare start.

The game looked beyond the Blues after just 13 minutes, once Ronan Curtis and Tom Naylor had put the visitors two up during a first half where Ipswich never really got going, before an unlikely Jon Nolan goal pulled them back into the game just before half-time.

From that point on, though, Ipswich were playing with a much higher tempo and increased purpose, with substitute James Norwood finding the net just a few minutes after coming on to equalise and eventually take the tie to extra-time.

Portsmouths skipper Tom Naylor celebrate putting the visitors 2-0 ahead.
    Picture: Steve Waller       
www.stephenwaller.comPortsmouths skipper Tom Naylor celebrate putting the visitors 2-0 ahead. Picture: Steve Waller www.stephenwaller.com

Both teams had chances to win it, though, before Raggett ultimately took the visitors through to round two.

Lambert delivered on his promise of changes ahead of this game, making nine and only retaining the central defensive pairing of Mark McGuinness and Toto Nsiala from Tuesday’s loss at Sunderland. The latter was given the armband.

That meant David Cornell started in goal with Janoi Donacien and Myles Kenlock coming in at full-back, with the three-man midfield of Brett McGavin, Jon Nolan and Emyr Huws ahead of them.

In attack, Keanan Bennetts made his full debut on the right, Freddie Sears returned on the left and Oli Hawkins played down the middle against the side he left this summer.

The Blues dominated the ball during the early exchanges of the contest, though much of their possession was inside their own half as they played the ball from right to left and back again.

They couldn’t gain a foothold in the final third and, in truth, were never able to gain a foothold in this game as two Portsmouth goals in two minutes effectively ended the game as a contest.

The first had elements of misfortune as Curtis’ free-kick hit the post and bounced into the net off of Cornell’s out-stretched arm, after McGuinness had given away a free-kick, 25 yards out, before the Town goalkeeper was beaten a few seconds later when Tom Naylor’s effort deflected off McGuinness and took the shot well behind the Welshman’s grasp.

Hawkins headed Bennetts’ cross wide after the loanee had escaped his man on the right to deliver, before the visitors continued their pressure as Cornell had to get down quickly to save from Curtis and then rush out to stop a dangerous Pompey through-ball in its tracks.

Portsmouths skipper Tom Naylor celebrate putting the visitors to nil ahead.
    Picture: Steve Waller       
www.stephenwaller.comPortsmouths skipper Tom Naylor celebrate putting the visitors to nil ahead. Picture: Steve Waller www.stephenwaller.com

The visitors were threatening with the majority of their attacks against a Town defence leaving plenty of gaps but, with a rare moment of quality, Lambert’s men were able to find a route back into the contest.

McGuinness had played a part in both Portsmouth goals but made a positive contribution on this occasion, playing a delightful pass through which Nolan looked to nod to Sears, before a piece of good fortune saw it bounce back to him off Sears, allowing the midfielder to turn and fire low into the net.

That gave Town a foothold before the break and they started the second period well, with Nolan having a shot deflected wide, McGavin nearly scoring direct from a corner as the Pompey Craig MacGillvray dug the ball away with his feet, before Hawkins was denied what appeared to be a clear penalty as Rasmus Nicolaisen dragged him to the floor.

Ipswich were playing with greater tempo and moved the ball more purposefully, before Norwood returned from a hamstring injury with 30 minutes remaining as he replaced Hawkins.

Ronan Curtis celebrates giving Portsmouth the lead from a free kick.
    Picture: Steve Waller       
www.stephenwaller.comRonan Curtis celebrates giving Portsmouth the lead from a free kick. Picture: Steve Waller www.stephenwaller.com

His impact was nearly immediate as, four minutes later, Town’s No.10 was sent through on goal by a clever Sears header, before Norwood chested the ball down for himself, delayed his shot and found the corner of the net to equalise.

From that point on Ipswich were on top but needed to be wary of Portsmouth on the break, particularly once ex-Blue Ellis Harrison was introduced, with both sides having chances to win – Town through a Sears header and Pompey through a Ben Close shot which flew over the bar – before the game before the end of normal time.

Pompey fired the first warning shot of extra-time, with Marcus Harness hitting the outside of Cornell’s right post, leaving the Town keeper standing, before the Welshman had to claw Harrison’s header out of danger as he held on well.

Cornell did superbly to keep Ben Close’s header out from a free-kick, only for Raggett to ram the ball home and win the game for the visitors despite the home protestations that he was offside following Nicolaisen’s nod forward.

Replays backed Town’s point, but it mattered little as the goal was given after the officals came together.

Ipswich Town: Cornell; Donacien, Nsiala, McGuinness, Kenlock; McGavin, Huws (Judge, 102), Nolan; Bennetts (Edwards, 67), Sears (Lankester, 94); Hawkins (Norwood, 62)

Subs: Holy, Wilson, Jackson

Portsmouth: MacGillvray; Johnson (Mnoga, 50), Nicolaisen, Raggett, Pring; Cannon (Close, 22), Naylor, Harness, Williams, Curtis (Harriosn, 75), Marquis (Morris, 91)

Ipswich keeper David Cornell is beaten early on as Portsmouth tale the lead from a Ronan Curtis (not pictured) free kick.
    Picture: Steve Waller       
www.stephenwaller.comIpswich keeper David Cornell is beaten early on as Portsmouth tale the lead from a Ronan Curtis (not pictured) free kick. Picture: Steve Waller www.stephenwaller.com

Subs: Bass, Downing, Hiwula


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