HALF-TIME: Dreadful start for Town versus Tykes

HALF-TIME: Ipswich Town 0 Barnsley 2

IT was a dreadful opening half for Ipswich Town in their Championship fixture against Barnsley at Portman Road on Saturday with the visitors comfortably two goals ahead.

Goran Lovre netted in the 21st minute with the home defence and midfield all at sea and keeper Marton Fulop conceded an own goal six minutes later as Town’s weakened side struggled to compete against a mid-table Barnsley outfit.

The visitors named four strikers on the bench with Birmingham City loanee O’Connor making his first start up front on his own with Lovre playing in front of a four-man midfield.

The Tykes have won just once at Portman Road (December 1998) but were in good cheer having beaten Preston at Deepdale on Tuesday.

Town made three changes with Leadbitter (suspended), McAuley (injured) and Wickham (dropped) dropping out and Townsend, Scotland and Kennedy returning.

Kennedy wore the captain’s armband, with his manager playing mind games on Friday when he insisted that the 34-year-old was not ready to start yet after a hamstring problem.

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Smith moved to central defence to partner Delaney while Townsend was wide with Colback and Livermore filling the central midfield positions.

There was an Armistice Day tribute before kick-off to those who have lost their lives in battle, which was impeccably observed.

In the ninth minute and in front of what looked another small attendance figure, Barnsley attacked with three against one but Hammill took the ball a tad too close to Kennedy and the 34-year-old was able to get in a touch that saw the ball roll forward into the grateful hands of Fulop.

Five minutes later a hopeful ball forward by Eastman released Priskin, who tried his luck from 20 yards and Steele was forced into a good save – tipping the ball on to bar and away for a corner.

Town’s young and rather makeshift side had looked vulnerable to Barnsley’s slick counter attacks and it was no great surprise when the visitors took the lead in the 21st minute.

Hammill crossed from the left and Smith did well to get his head to ball as O’Connor threatened. The ball ran to the right by-line where O’Brien pulled it back to the unmarked Lovre to fire home accurately from 13 yards.

Two minutes later it should have been two for a side that has only scored four first half goals this season. O’Connor ran clear after a forward header from the half-way line and with only Fulop to beat the number 36 rolled his shot wide of the far post.

The let off was only temporary however with a Fulop own goal giving Barnsley a two-goal advantage in the 27th minute. Ipswich’s midfield was being over run, and when Hammill cut in unattended from the left in the 27th minute his low shot struck the far post.

The ball rebounded off the woodwork and off the body of the prone Fulop to roll gently over the goal line.

There were boos circulating around the ground and chants of ‘Keano, Keano sort it out’ as Ipswich floundered although a move involving Colback and the busy Townsend in the 35th minute resulted in Steele tipping over a stinging drive by Priskin.

Three minutes later after being set up by Edwards, Priskin turned well and missed the far post by a whisker.

Priskin placed the ball into the net in the 45th minute after good work by Livermore, but was judged offside with Town booed off the field at the interval.

Teams

Ipswich Town: Fulop; Eastman, Delaney, Smith, Kennedy; Edwards, Livermore, Colback, Townsend; Scotland, Priskin.

Barnsley: Steele; Trippier, Shackell, Foster, Hassell; O’Brien, Colace, Doyle, Hamill; Lovre; O’Connor.

Referee: Mr P Tierney (Lancashire).

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