Ipswich Town 2-0 Blackpool: Blues comfortable as impressive display earns three points
- Credit: Photo: Steve Wallerwww.stephenwaller.com
Ipswich Town completed the double over Blackpool and snapped a run of three home defeats with a promising display at Portman Road.
Goals from Alan Judge and Luke Woolfenden, either side of half-time, put the Blues in full control of the contest and they never let go to secure three much-needed points.
Without blowing their opposition away, Town were comfortable in this game and displayed a freshness during a performance packed with energy and endeavour.
Manager Paul Lambert gave debuts to Troy Parrott, Luke Matheson and Josh Harrop, with the three loanees showing early glimpses of what they can bring to this side as they look to power their way back into the promotion race during the second half of the season.
Victory moves Town up to 10th, leaving them four points off the play-offs but with three games in hand on Charlton in sixth. Peterborough are next up on Tuesday.
There were surprises on the team sheet when it was released at 2pm, with the headline news the fact skipper Luke Chambers was dropped to the bench. New signing Matheson was brought into the side at right-back and the partnership of Mark McGuinness and Luke Woolfenden continued in the middle.
There was also a start for Parrott in attack, with Gwion Edwards dropping out of the starting XI to accommodate him.
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The new signing from Tottenham was lively in the early exchanges, linking up well with Sears and nearly sliding McGuinness in behind after the Arsenal youngster had marrauded forward from the back.
Alan Judge had Town’s first chance, sliding a shot into the side netting with the aid of goalkeeper Chris Maxwell’s fingertip, while Marvin Ekpiteta headed Sullay Kaikai’s free-kick wide as the visitors had their first chance of the afternoon.
Former Norwich man James Husband was the next to threaten as he stooped to meet a teasing Kaikai cross, heading wide, with Jordan Thorniley getting ahead of his man to turn a low corner wide just a few minutes later.
A sweeping Town move from left to right eventually ended at the foot of Luke Thomas, who bobbled an effort wide, before play quickly moved to the other end where Tomas Holy needed to get down to his right to push Elliott Embleton’s driven shot to safety.
Parrott took a rifled McGuinness ball down with his chest before turning and threading a superb pass which Sears converted well, before the offside flag went up, before the Blues found the opening goal.
McGuinness made a vital interception, breaking up a Blackpool attack before Kenlock floated a superb ball into the path of Judge, with the Irishman taking it down, shaping towards goal and finding the bottom corner from outside the box.
This was the first time Town had led at the break since the win at Blackpool in October, with the Town advantage doubled within four minutes of the second period starting as Dozzell’s corner was headed back into danger by Blackpool striker Jerry Yates, where Woolfenden lay in wait to nod the ball home at the back post.
Town were good value for their lead, which should have become three just before the hour when McGuinness headed wide when presented with a free header from a well-placed Town free-kick.
The hosts were comfortable by this point, with Judge threatening a second as he drilled the ball into the side-netting from an excellent Matheson pass, before James Norwood and Harrop were introduced from the bench.
Sears should have scored before his effort was deflected behind following Matheson’s pull-back, but it mattered little as the Blues stood firm to secure three big points on an afternoon where referee John Busby failed to finish the game after picking up a hamstring injury late on.
Ipswich Town: Holy; Matheson, Woolfenden, McGuinness, Kenlock; Downes, Dozzell; Judge, Thomas (Edwards, 60), Sears, Parrott
Subs: Cornell, Chambers, Ward, Drinan
Blackpool: Maxwell, Gabriel, Thornily, Ekpiteta, Husband (Garbutt, 82); Dougall (Labala, 82), Virtue (Mitchell, 61), Embleton (Ward, 82), Stewart, Kaikai (Simms, 72), Yates
Subs: Sims, Turton