Simpson scores the winner as Town U23s secure play-off spot with impressive win

The Ipswich Town players celebrate against Nottingham Forest

The Ipswich Town players celebrate against Nottingham Forest - Credit: Ross Halls

Ipswich Town Under 23s’ quest for honours took another step forward this afternoon with a 2-1 victory over Nottingham Forest at Portman Road. 

Matt Ward and Tyreece Simpson put Kieron Dyer and Terry Butcher’s side into an excellent 2-0 half-time lead, before the Blues held off a Forest comeback after the break to secure three vital points. 

The victory secures Town’s place in the end-of-season play-offs, with Dyer’s men cemented in second place in Professional Development League Two South and now likely to face Northern leaders Sheffield United in the semi-finals. 

The young Blues, playing in Paul Cook’s preferred 4-2-3-1 system, played some good football during their eventual victory over the team sitting second in the Northern section, keeping the ball well and taking their chances when they came to secure three points. 

Tyreece Simpson in action for Ipswich Town's Under 23s against Nottingham Forest

Tyreece Simpson in action for Ipswich Town's Under 23s against Nottingham Forest - Credit: Ross Halls

They finish their regular season at Crewe on Monday. 

Dyer named a young side, with the only player with first-team league minutes under their belt being striker Tyreece Simpson. 

Bailey Clements, Tawanda Chirewa, Ross Crane and Levi Andoh do have senior experience in the EFL Trophy, though, with the latter having the first promising moment as his cross from the right wing nearly beat the Forest keeper as it flew narrowly wide of his far post.  

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Goalkeeper Bert White, who trains regularly with the senior Ipswich keepers, made a good save to deny Alex Gibson-Hammond, as the winger cut inside to shoot, before Baba Fernandes fired over from the corner which followed.  

Andoh was Town’s main source of attack down the right flank, with a superb touch from the youngster taking a long pass from Albie Armin past his man, before Matt Ward was able to turn the cross home with a clever touch back through his own legs. 

Andoh was again the Town player to threaten when he headed Matt Healy’s free-kick wide, before the hosts soaked up a little Forest pressure in the minutes prior to their second goal. 

Town Under 23 boss Kieron Dyer and assistant Terry Butcher watch on from the sidelines

Town Under 23 boss Kieron Dyer and assistant Terry Butcher watch on from the sidelines - Credit: Ross Halls

Simpson showed what he’s all about, just before half-time, as he held off his man as he and Fernandes burst into the box, before the Town forward produced a nice finish underneath advancing Michael Statham.  

Chirewa had Town’s final effort before the break, shooting over from outside the box, before Forest grabbed the initiative in the second period, finding a way back into the contest as Fin Back headed home from inside the box. 

Dyer responded by bringing on Colin Oppong in place of Simpson, with the Northern Irishman’s first act to go down in the box under Aaron Donnelly’s challenge, as he collected a superb Chirewa’s pass. The referee pointed to the spot but, after consultation with his assistant, the decision was reversed after Oppong was adjudged to have kicked the ground, rather than being felled by his opponent. 

Chirewa had a chance to well-and-truly kill the game off as he got on the end of a good passing move to force a save from the Forest keeper, but it mattered little as Town held on to claim three big points. 

They had to breath a late sigh of relief, though, as Yassine En-Neyah lifted the ball over Town keeper White with a shot looking destined for the net, only for it to drop wide at the last second. 

The win was ultimately secured as the Blues saw off a succession of late Forest corners before the full-time whistle blew. 

Ipswich Town: White, Andoh, Armin, Clements, Crane (Valentine), Alexander (Humphreys), Healy, Chirewa, Ward, Simpson (Oppong), Page.  

Subs not used: Bort, Bradshaw

Goalkeeper Bert White, pictured in action for Town's Under 23s against Nottingham Forest

Goalkeeper Bert White, pictured in action for Town's Under 23s against Nottingham Forest - Credit: Ross Halls

Ross Crane, pictured in action for Town's Under 23s against Nottingham Forest

Ross Crane, pictured in action for Town's Under 23s against Nottingham Forest - Credit: Ross Halls


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