Gillingham 0-2 Ipswich Town: Pigott and Chaplin net in Trophy win
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Ipswich Town are up-and-running in this season’s Papa John’s Trophy following their 2-0 victory over Gillingham at Priestfield.
The Blues, who lost at home to West Ham’s Under 21s in their first game of this season’s competition, were the better side throughout this contest as Joe Pigott and Conor Chaplin struck to secure victory.
Town had the better of the play, created the better chances and held firm under pressure at the back on a night when a number of the visitors’ fringe players showed manager Paul Cook what they can do.
Pigott and Chaplin took their goals well, Idris El Mizouni played with composure and drive in the middle of midfield and the partnership of Toto Nsiala and Luke Woolfenden dealt with Gillingham’s physicality as the visitors kept a clean sheet on the road.
Cook changed his entire XI from Saturday’s loss at Accrington for this this game, with those coming into the side doing enough to ensure all four sides in Group I sit on three points from two games, heading into the final round of matches.
Ipswich host Colchester in their final group game next month, in a match which could see them come face-to-face with Luke Chambers, Cole Skuse and Freddie Sears, with the winner progressing to the knock-out stages.
But next up for Cook and his players is Saturday’s League One clash with Shrewsbury.
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As expected, Cook made a host of changes to his side for the second Trophy game of the season, switching his entire XI.
Tomas Holy started in goal against his former club, with Kane Vincent-Young, Woolfenden and Nsiala named ahead of him in defence, along with a surprise return for outcast left-back Myles Kenlock.
The academy product, left out of Town’s 22-man squad this season and thus ineligible for League One matches, has been training with the Under 23s this season after being frozen out in the summer.
Rekeem Harper and El Mizouni lined up in midfield behind Chaplin, Kyle Edwards and Kayden Jackson, with the latter a late replacement after Sone Aluko picked up a knock.
aPigott started in attack and had the first opening of the game on nine minutes, after a long spell of Ipswich possession saw him collect Vincent-Young's pass and fire over the top of the bar.
Gillingham’s first shot of the night had the same outcome, as one-time Ipswich youngster Stuart O’Keefe fired over the top, before Jackson’s cross a few minutes later found the foot of Chaplin. He fired wide, though, as he looked to angle the ball towards goal.
Pigott fired over again, twice, with the second of those coming after a good Vincent-Young run, before penalty appeals following a sublime spin from Edwards as he collected a long Nsiala pass inside the box. It looked a though Jack Tucker had taken his feet from under him, but referee Trevor Kettle saw things differently.
Pigott then had another swing inside the box, seeing a close-range effort blocked by Tucker before failing to latch onto the rebound under pressure, with Chaplin next to try his luck as he dragged a shot wide after some neat interplay with Jackson down the right flank.
Holy improvised to tip Olly Lee’s long-range shot over the top of the bar, appearing to lose the flight of the ball, before Pigott did finally get his goal as he fired into the roof of the net after latching onto a good low cross from the right boot of Jackson.
Town were ahead just before the break, having had the better of the first half, and were on the front foot in the second, too, with Harper picking the wrong pass with options ahead of him and then Pigott spinning to fire wide.
Town continued to pile on pressure with Vincent-Young storming forward to the edge of the box but turning down the chance to shoot on his left foot. He really should have and he was crowded out.
Harper was the next to be presented with a chance to shoot, as he connected with a Kenlock cross, but the midfielder couldn’t strike the ball well enough and it dropped away from danger.
Bailey Akehurst then tried his luck for the hosts, trying to lob Tomas Holy from fully 70 yards, but the Town keeper was able to peddle back well enough and claim above his head.
The Blues survived two separate Gillingham penalty appeals, with Woolfenden and Jackson in the vicinity as Charlie Kelman tumbled in the box, before Jackson was present again as O’Keefe hit the deck. Kettle wasn’t moved.
Those failed appeals were compounded a few moments later by Town’s second goal, which looked to kill off this game. The move for Chaplin’s strike started in the hands of Holy, as he claimed a high free-kick and found Pigott, who launched an excellent ball from inside his own half which sprung Chaplin away. The former Barnsley man kept his cool to finish.
Cook quickly made two changes after the goal, bringing on James Norwood and Louie Barry in place of Pigott and Edwards, before Holy was needed to get down low and save Lee’s low shot as it skipped off the turf.
Gillingham looked to quickly move the ball forward late on, in search of a way back into the game, but nothing was forthcoming as the Blues saw things out to win.
Gillingham: Chapman, McKenzie, Tucker, Ehmer (Lintott, 70), Bennett, Akehurst, O'Keefe, Reeves (Lloyd, 72), Lee, Akinde (Sithole, 72), Kelman
Subs: Cumming, Tutonda, Adshead
Ipswich Town: Holy; Vincent-Young, Woolfenden, Nsiala, Kenlock; Harper, El Mizouni, Jackson, Chaplin (Siziba, 85), Edwards (Barry, 73); Pigott (Norwood, 73)
Subs: Hladky, Armin, Humphreys, Yengi