Charlton Athletic 2-0 Ipswich Town: Limp Blues soundly beaten
- Credit: Steve Waller - stephenwaller.com
Ipswich Town began life after Paul Cook with defeat at Charlton, with the Addicks well on top of John McGreal’s side in their 2-0 win.
Jayden Stockley scored the opening goal of the game, midway through the first half, and from there Town struggled to lay a glove on the hosts and never truly looked like finding a way back into the game despite only trailing by a single goal.
They were put out of their misery in the final minutes of the game as Alex Gilbey twisted through the Ipswich defence to slot home the home side’s second.
Town’s fast start to the game quickly faded and they were overrun in midfield for long spells of this contest. They never had a grip on a game in which they only had a foothold thanks to a succession of saves from goalkeeper Christian Walton.
Interim boss McGreal, who had just one hour to work with his players at Playford Road before departing for London on Monday, switched to play two strikers in the second half, introducing Joe Pigott alongside Macauley Bonne, but the move couldn’t force an equaliser before Gilbey added the second goal.
The Blues, backed by more than 3,000 supporters at The Valley, remain 11th in the League One table and sit nine points off the play-offs, having played a game more than Plymouth in sixth.
Next up is Wigan on Saturday. It remains to be seen if the Blues have a new man at the helm in time for the trip to the side sitting fourth in the table.
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McGreal named a first Ipswich side which didn’t reinvent the wheel following Cook’s departure, but included plenty of subtle changes.
Walton remained in goal behind a regular centre-half pairing of Toto Nsiala and George Edmundson, with the latter back in the side after passing a fitness test for an Achilles problem. Kane Vincent-Young and Janoi Donacien started as the Blues’ two full-backs.
Lee Evans returned to the centre of midfield alongside Sam Morsy and an advanced Scott Fraser, behind wide men Sone Aluko and Kyle Edwards and striker Macauley Bonne.
The visitors started with energy, clad in a white and black away kit which so far has a perfect record on the road and backed by more than 3,000 traveling supporters in the Jimmy Seed stand.
Town, using the same 4-2-3-1 system so rigidly stuck to by Cook, looked to get the ball wide to Edwards whenever possible, but the final ball into the box wasn’t able to reach Bonne.
Charlton had the first two real openings, with Conor Washington firing over the top first before Ben Purrington’s ball into the box caused danger at the back post, with Donacien there to clear.
The Blues continued to try and move the ball around quickly, with most of the play going through Fraser, but they couldn’t fashion it into an opening before Diallang Jaiyesimi headed harmlessly over the top for the hosts, who had begun to gain something of a foothold in Ipswich territory.
And that foothold soon told as a clever ball from midfield sprung Conor Washington away down the left flank and, though Walton was able to save the forward’s angled shot, the rebound dropped nicely for Stockley to ram the ball back past the Town keeper and the lunging Nsiala to find the back of the net.
Morsy’s mistake high up the pitch then led to a Charlton counter, at the end of which Edmundson needed to throw his body in front of Washington’s shot, as McGreal’s men struggled to regroup in the aftermath of the opening goal.
Stockley then headed over before Evans did the same at the other end, with the Welshman having a shot deflected wide just before the break, as Town headed to the dressing rooms behind at the interval.
McGreal stuck with the same 11 players for the second period and had Walton to thank for keeping the deficit as the goalkeeper did well to block Purrington’s effort at goal as the wing back connected with a looping cross.
Town were lacking when it came to aggression and desire, with Charlton taking advantage as they played the ball from back to front to create their next chance, as Purrington’s knock-back header presented Elliot Lee with a chance to head at the Ipswich goal. Thankfully for the Blues, he headed over the top.
A rare threatening moment for Ipswich saw Evans’ free-kick headed wide by Nsiala, before McGreal turned to his bench for the first time and introduced former Addick Joe Pigott in place of Fraser.
Walton then had to save well from Lee, as the attacker shot from the edge of the box, before having to scramble backwards to catch a curling Sean Clare shot. Nsiala was then needed to block Alex Gilbey’s shot as Charlton tore through Town once again.
But still they remained just a goal down, as Conor Chaplin was brought off the bench in place of Aluko.
That switch did little to turn the tide as Washington became the next Charlton player to aim a shot at Walton’s goal, with the Brighton loanee again equal to it as he stuck out a leg to save before stretching to deny the same player just a few minutes later.
Walton made another good save to deny Gilbey as time ticked down before the former Colchester man did ultimately find the net to complete a hugely disappointing evening for the Blues.
Charlton Athletic (4-1-3-2): Macgillivray; Clare, Pearce, Famewo; Dobson; Gilbey, Lee, Purrington, Jaiyesimi (Lee, 69), Stockley, Washington
Subs: Henderson, Leko, Kirk, Davison, Watson, Souare, Elerewe
Ipswich Town (4-2-3-1): Walton; Vincent-Young, Nsiala, Edmundson, Vincent-Young; Morsy, Evans; Aluko (Chaplin, 69), Fraser (Pigott, 64), Edwards (Humphreys 83); Bonne
Subs: Hladky, Burgess, Penney, El Mizouni
Att: 26, 376 (3,159 Ipswich fans)