Ipswich Town 0-4 Aston Villa: Blues well-beaten by promotion-chasers after Ward’s red card
Ipswich Town’s 10-men were well beaten by promotion-chasing Aston Villa at Portman Road this afternoon.
Former Ipswich midfielder Conor Hourihane put the visitors ahead as he profited from a loose ball after Cole Skuse had deflected Lewis Grabban’s shot onto the post, before Grant Ward’s red card before the break left them with an uphill battle.
The former Tottenham man was dismissed for raking his studs down Neil Taylor’s battle, with the 10-men unable to truly test a Villa side with promotion on the agenda.
The game was effectively ended when Grabban fired home Villa’s second off the post 10 minutes into the second half, before the former Norwich man grabbed his second as he profited on a mix-up between Cameron Carter-Vickers and Cole Skuse.
Henri Lansbury made it four when he headed home Birkir Bjarnason’s cross to complete the scoring.
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Ipswich ended the game with three strikers on the pitch, in the form of Martyn Waghorn, Freddie Sears and Ben Folami, but in truth they never looked like finding the net.
The game was played out in front of a boosted attendance of more than 20,000 at Portman Road and, although their side were comfortably beaten by Steve Bruce’s men, the home support were in good voice until the end.
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There was a good atmosphere at Portman Road prior to kick-off, with a boosted attendance and good weather combining, as Bryan Klug made one change to his side from last weekend’s defeat by Nottingham Forest as Bersant Celina returned in place of Ben Morris.
The Blues were on the front foot from kick-off at a sun-drenched Portman Road and produced the first chance of the game as Ward took advantage of Neil Taylor’s slip to cross to the back post where Kenlock found space but could only slice wide.
Both sides traded blows, with Bartosz Bialkowski in receipt of one from Mile Jedinak which left the Pole wincing after the two collided under a ball into the box, before the hosts went ahead.
The goal was a fortunate one, as former Norwich striker Lewis Grabban’s shot was deflected onto the post by the head of Cole Skuse, allowing Conor Hourihane to turn the ball home against his former club.
Ipswich looked to get moving forward again but were leaving Martyn Waghorn isolated in attack, as Bersant Celina came deeper and deeper to try and get the ball, but the hosts found themselves down to 10 men before the half was out.
The straight red shown to Ward was debatable, as the Ipswich man raked his studs down Taylor’s leg as he looked to bring the ball out of the sky, and the decision was greeted by boos both as the wide man left the field and as the officials departed at the break.
The visitors made their man advantage count 10 minutes into the second half as, minutes after Bialkowski was forced into a good save to keep Josh Onomah out, the Pole was beaten by Grabban’s low shot as the forward spun Jonas Knudsen to drive home off the post.
Waghorn had the Blues’ first shot on target in the 60th minute as he touched the ball neatly inside and fired a low shot that Sam Johnstone was able to deal with easily.
From there Villa took the game out of sight as Grabban added his second of the afternoon following a mis-placed pass from Cameron Carter-Vickers, before Lansbury headed home Birkir Bjarnason’s cross to complete the scoring.
Ipswich: Bialkowski; Spence, Carter-Vickers, Knudsen; Ward, Kenlock, Skuse, Hyam (Folami 76), Nydam (Connolly 72); Celina (Sears 56), Waghorn
Subs: Crowe, Smith, Gleeson, Carayol
Aston Villa: Johnstone; Elmohamady, Chester, Jedinak, Taylor (Hogan 63); Omomah, Whelan, Hourihane (Lansbury 74), Grealish, Bjarnason, Grabban (Adomah 83)
Subs: Bunn, Samba, Bree, Snodgrass