Ipswich Town 1 Birmingham City 0 match report – Joe Garner’s debut goal seals gritty win

Joe Garner wheels away after giving Town a 1-0 lead in the Ipswich Town v Birmingham City (Sky Bet C

Joe Garner wheels away after giving Town a 1-0 lead in the Ipswich Town v Birmingham City (Sky Bet Championship) match at Portman Road, Ipswich, on 05 August 2017. Picture: STEVE WALLER www.stephenwaller.com - Credit: Picture: Steve Waller

Ipswich Town got their 2017/18 campaign off to a winning start as Joe Garner’s debut goal secured a 1-0 victory over Birmingham City at Portman Road.

Joe Garner fist pumps after scoring to give Town a 1-0 lead in the Ipswich Town v Birmingham City (S

Joe Garner fist pumps after scoring to give Town a 1-0 lead in the Ipswich Town v Birmingham City (Sky Bet Championship) match at Portman Road, Ipswich, on 05 August 2017. Picture: STEVE WALLER www.stephenwaller.com - Credit: Picture: Steve Waller

Garner – a £750k summer signing from Rangers – timed his run to perfection to side-foot home Jonas Knudsen’s fine low cross five minutes after the restart, continuing his rich vein in front of goal following six pre-season finishes.

It had been a damp squib of a first half in which Harry Redknapp’s visitors posed the greater attacking threat.

Andre Dozzell had undoubtedly been the Blues’ brightest player, but the England U19 star was stretchered off with his leg in a brace moments before the break after going down innocuously.

The game-changing moment arrived three minutes after the restart when Town defender Jordan Spence was perhaps fortunate not to see red when tugging back Clayton Donaldson just he looked to break clear 40 yards from goal.

Andre Dozzell is taken from the pitch after being injured in the Ipswich Town v Birmingham City (Sky

Andre Dozzell is taken from the pitch after being injured in the Ipswich Town v Birmingham City (Sky Bet Championship) match at Portman Road, Ipswich, on 05 August 2017. Picture: STEVE WALLER www.stephenwaller.com - Credit: Picture: Steve Waller

Less then two minuets later, Mick McCarthy’s men broke the deadlock as Garner arrived late to convert the over-lapping Knudsen’s low delivery from close-range.

The Portman Road crowd came alive and the home players suddenly had an extra spring in their step.

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Homegrown teenager Flynn Downes, who replaced the injured Dozzell, instantly looked at home in senior football, Grant Ward provided tireless energy in the No.10 role, while captain Luke Chambers led by example.

Blues keeper Bartosz Bialkowski made a smart near post stop from Emilio Nsue, but Town were the team on top and should have sealed the win in the 77th minute when Freddie Sears stabbed wide from close-range.

– Reaction to follow.

IPSWICH TOWN (5-3-2): Bialkowski; Iorfa (Webster 74), Spence, Chambers, Spence, Knudsen; Skuse, Dozzell (Downes 45), Ward; Garner, Sears.

Unused subs: Gerken, Kenlock, Nydam, Celina, McGoldrick.

Booked: Spence (48)

BIRMINGHAM CITY (4-4-2): Stockdale; Nsue, Morrison (cpt), Roberts, Grounds; Davis, Gardner, N’Doye, Maghoma (Keita 79); Donaldson, Adams.

Unused subs: Kuszczak, Shotton, Kieftenbeld, Brock-Madsen, Harding, Gleeson.

Booked: Morrison (89)

Attendance: 18,153 (2,012 away)

Referee: Tim Robinson

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