Ipswich Town F.C
Norwood - 62
Judge - 87
Swindon Town F.C
Jaiyesimi - 16, 74
Twine - 67
Ipswich Town 2-3 Swindon Town: Lambert's men begin 2021 with home loss
- Credit: Picture: Steve Waller www.stephenwaller.com
Ipswich Town began 2021 in defeat as relegation-threatened Swindon Town claimed three points from their visit to Portman Road.
It looked as though the stage was set for the Blues to come from behind and push for victory over the side who entered the game sitting 23rd in the table, with James Norwood making a real impact from the bench as he equalised on 62 minutes following Diallyang Jaiyesimi’s opener.
But as soon as the Blues were level they were behind again following a stunning Scott Twine strike, which was followed by a second from Jaiyesimi as the men from Wiltshire seemingly made the game safe.
There was a grandstand finish after Alan Judge scored what turned out to be a consolation goal but, despite a real push in the final five minutes, they couldn’t find an equaliser.
It was an excellent away performance from John Sheridan’s men, who defended well after taking a 16th-minute lead, with Town lacking the creativity to break them down during a turgid first-half on their return to action following a 25-day lay-off.
The introduction of Norwood and Flynn Downes, as Swindon dropped too deep, gave Ipswich life at the start of the second half and they seemed destined to go on and win the game, before never recovering as Twine and Jaiyesimi struck twice in quick succession.
Manager Paul Lambert watched the game from the stands as he continues to feel the effects of coronavirus and won’t have been happy with what he saw from his side as they ended the day eighth on the League One table.
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Lambert made two changes to the side which beat Burton last time out, with Aaron Drinan led the line in place of Oli Hawkins and Armando Dobra coming in on the left flank in place of Keanan Bennetts.
After former Ipswich striker Brett Pitman received treatment following an aerial clash with Mark McGuinness, Matt Smith lifted the first chance of the game over the top of the bar for the visitors before Town had an early appeal for a penalty waved away. A clever Andre Dozzell ball made the opening as he set Armando Dobra away down the left to cross for Drinan, who was kept from the ball by a mixture of Zeki Fryers’ leg and then arm.
The Ipswich appeals came to nothing and, a few minutes later, they were behind when Swindon spread the ball to a bare right flank where new boy Dominic Thompson had time to cross for ex-Norwich man Jaiyesimi to head home from eight yards out.
Town looked to respond but found it hard to break the Swindon lines despite some decent passaged of play, with the closest they came prior to the 25-minute mark seeing Emyr Huws head a clipped Stephen Ward cross wide.
They should have been level just after the half hour when Dozzell clipped the most delightful of balls into the path of Judge, who beat the offside trap, chested it down and really should have scored but was stopped in his tracks by debut-making Swindon goalkeeper Mark Travers.
That was as good as it got for Town before the break, when Lambert and Taylor acted quickly by introducing Flynn Downes and James Norwood in place of Emyr Huws and Drinan.
It nearly paid instant dividends as Norwood cleverly knocked the ball down for Judge, who let fly from 25 yards and hit the outside of Travers’ post before the ball bouncing behind.
Norwood completely changed the outlook of the Ipswich side after coming on, bringing guile and mastery of the dark arts which was soon rewarded when, despite air-kicking his first effort from Jackson’s cross, was fortunate to see the ball bounce back to him off Paul Caddis before he was able to turn it home from close-range.
That goal should have been Town’s platform to press for a winner but, barely had they equalised, they were behind again when Twine scored one of the best goals Portman Road has seen for some years, turning in space, 30 yards out and turning in space before letting off a dipping rocket of a shot which gave David Cornell no chance in the Town goal.
Seven minutes later and it was 3-1, with Jaiyesimi delivering from the right with a ball which beat Woolfenden and allowed Pitman to get in front of McGuinness before the ball crept into the far corner. Jaiyesimi claimed it, with Pitman seeming to be happy to allow the former Norwich man to celebrate his second goal of the game.
Town looked to respond once again, with Downes heading Judge’s cross over the top, before some clever work from Norwood saw the striker lay the ball of for Judge to finish well.
Ipswich pushed in the few minutes remaining but couldn’t find a way through as they fell to defeat.
Ipswich Town: Cornell, Chambers, Woolfenden, McGuinness, Ward; Dozzell, Huws (Downes, 46); Judge, Dobra (Lankester, 78), Jackson; Drinan (Norwood, 46)
Subs: Holy, Nsiala, Kenlock, Siziba,
Swindon Town: Travers, Caddis, Fryers, Conroy, Thompson; M Smith (Grant, 90+4), Lyden, Palmer; Jaiyesimi, Pitman, Twine
Subs: Matthews, T Smith, J Smith, Payne, Curran, Hope