Ipswich Town 2-0 Accrington Stanley: Lambert’s men turn things up a gear after break to preserve unbeaten record
- Credit: Picture: Steve Waller
Ipswich Town stepped things up a gear in the second period to maintain their unbeaten record at the top of League One.
On a day when both Oli Hawkins and Kayden Jackson were absent through injury and illness respectively, the Blues struggled during an opening period which saw Alan Judge operate as a makeshift striker, before switching Freddie Sears to that role after the break brought results.
Sears scored the second himself, having earlier fed Gwion Edwards for the Welshman’s fifth goal of the season, with Paul Lambert’s men ultimately comfortable from that point.
They returned from the break with more urgency and a greater sense of purpose, having struggled to get things going in a first half littered with errors, where they were unable to get on top in midfield or put meaningful patterns of play together in the final third.
The win, Town’s fifth in six games, keeps Town top of the table, a point clear of Hull, ahead of Tuesday night’s visit to Doncaster Rovers.
Leading into this game it looked as though Lambert had the simplest of team selections, following last weekend’s victory at Blackpool, but the absence of Hawkins and Jackson complicated matters.
The solution was to play Judge through the middle, in a slightly deeper role than a traditional striker would, with Sears coming into the side and lining up on the left wing and Edwards on the other.
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Town struggled to get the ball down during the early exchanges, with Joe Pritchard the first to have a sight of goal as the Stanley midfielder shot wide following a Colby Bishop knockdown.
As time went on the Blues were able to work their way into the contest and enjoyed decent periods of possession, without being able to establish themselves in the final third. The first home chance came when Judge dropped deep and was able to play a beautiful pass through to Sears, setting him away, but the former Colchester man was pushed wide and then saw his shot saved by goalkeeper Toby Savin.
Tomas Holy was called into action for the first time when Matt Butcher was afforded far too much space by the Ipswich defence, with the Czech keeper saving the resulting shot well to his left, before getting away with one after he rocketed a simple clearance straight into Andre Dozzell, with Town lucky Colby Bishop could only stab wide of an empty net once the ball fell to his feet.
Holy was busy again, pushing Tariq Uwakwe’s low free-kick round the post, before the following corner was never fully cleared, allowing Pritchard the chance to shoot from the edge of the box. Thankfully it flew wide.
The next chance went Ipswich’s way and came after Edwards had skipped past Cameron Burgess to deliver a cross from the right which ultimately fell to Sears, who timed his run well to out-fox Ross Sykes, before having his close-range shot saved by Savin.
Seamus Conneely and Pritchard shot over the top for the visitors as a stop-start affair continued full of errors from both sides before he half-time whistle blew.
Lambert kept the same personnel but made a change at the break, switching Sears into the middle and moving Judge out to the right, with the tweak producing a much crisper display to start the second period, which was soon rewarded with a goal.
It came from a player who has a taste for scoring of late, with Dozzell finding Sears, who in turn slipped in Edwards to finish superbly for his fifth goal of the season.
Town were on top of this contest now and soon doubled their lead as they punished Accrington’s sloppiness in possession, which allowed Judge to feed Sears for the striker to dink the ball over Savin into the back of the net.
That goal killed things off for a Town side who are enjoying an excellent start to this strangest of seasons.
Ipswich Town: Holy; Chambers, Wilson, Nsiala, Kenlock; Dozzell, Huws (Nolan, 74), Bishop; Judge (Bennetts, 84), Edwards, Sears (Simpson, 90)
Subs: Cornell, McGuinness, Woolfenden, Lankester
Accrington Stanley: Savin, Nottingham, Sykes, Hughes; Burgess, Butcher, Russell, Pritchard, Uwakwe, Conneely (Cassidy 75), Bishop
Subs: Baxter, Allen, Barclay, Rodgers, Scully, Mohammed