Ipswich Town 2-5 Bolton Wanderers: Blues embarrassed on miserable afternoon
- Credit: Steve Waller - www.stephenwaller
Ipswich Town were humbled by Bolton Wanderers at Portman Road as Paul Cook’s side went down 5-2 on a miserable afternoon.
After a two-week break from action, all looked well when Macauley Bonne put Ipswich ahead inside five minutes, but it was all downhill from there.
As has become customary this season, Town again let their lead slip away and trailed 2-1 on the half hour and 3-2 at the interval, before Ipswich heads completely went after the break.
Josh Sheehan and George Johnston added to Dapo Afolayan’s brace and Eoin Doyle’s penalty with goals of their own after the break, making the score 5-2 to the visitors as the boos rang out inside Portman Road.
The damage had been done and the result decided with more than 30 minutes to go, with the Blues remaining winless, six games into the new season.
The midfield lacked energy and bite, the defence lacked cohesion and confidence and the attacking unit struggled to create anything through the middle. Those troubles combined to produce a team which failed to function against an organised Bolton side who knew their roles and leave with their first victory in Suffolk in 20 years.
The result leaves Cook’s Ipswich 22nd in League One, one of only three teams in the division without a victory.
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Cook made five changes to the side which drew 2-2 with Wimbledon a fortnight ago, handing out two debuts in the process as George Edmundson and Christian Walton came into the side in place of Luke Woolfenden and Vaclav Hladky.
There were tweaks in the final third, too, with Bonne returning in place of Joe Pigott while Conor Chaplin and Sone Aluko came into the side for Scott Fraser and injury-victim Kyle Edwards.
Bonne was presented with his player and goal of the month awards for August prior to kick-off and, with less than five minutes on the clock, he was celebrating once again as he tapped home the simplest of finishes to put his side ahead. The bulk of the credit for the opening goal should go to Wes Burns, though, who tore at Bolton left-back Liam Gordon, with the defender hitting the deck under the lightest of touches, leaving Town’s winger the opportunity to pick out Bonne expertly.
But, just as they have through much of this season to date, Town couldn’t hold their lead. A long diagonal ball opened the door, with Eoin Doyle cushioning a header into the box for Dapo Afolayan to drill the ball between the legs of Walton.
And the exciting Wanderers forward was at it again eight minutes later as he teased his way into the box, tempting Kane Vincent-Young into a poorly-timed, rash challenge which left referee Bobby Madley no option but to point to the spot. Doyle did the rest as he fired home down the middle.
Vincent-Young's afternoon was ended soon after, when he was replaced by Janoi Donacien and received a hug from Cook as he departed following an extremely difficult 20 minutes on the pitch.
Bolton were finding gaps in the Ipswich defence, seemingly at will, but Town mustered an equaliser on the half hour when Burns again took aim at Gordon, burned past his man and delivered a cross which just evaded Bonne but deflected home off Bolton defender Ricardo Santos.
Chaplin, who had previously found it tough to get into the game, fired and then headed over, the latter from a good Hayden Coulson cross, before Bonne saw one more good chance come and go before the break, as he couldn’t make a good enough connection with another Burns cross.
He and Town were made to pay, with Bolton too having one more chance before the whistle blew, with a sweeping move from right to left ending with Afolayan coming in on his right foot and curling a superb shot past Walton and into the net.
No sooner had the second half started, the Blues were further behind. It looked like danger had been averted when Walton saved Antoni Sarcevic’s driven shot, but the ball came back to the attacker, who dinked the simplest of balls into danger for Sheehan to tap home.
Then came the fifth, at a time when Ipswich looked completely shot. The Blues couldn’t get the ball out of their territory, with Walton spilling a routine cross as he collided with Burgess, and they were eventually punished once again. George Johnston scored it, firstly heading into Edmundson from Santos’s cross, before then seeing the rebound land at his own feet to turn home.
Cook responded by introducing Tom Carroll, with his side so close to getting a foothold in the game a minute later, when Bonne connected with Coulson’s cross but saw his effort bounce back off the inside of the post and land safely.
But there was no real sign of a fightback, with the mood flat inside Portman Road at the end of a miserable afternoon of football, on a day which began with great expectation.
Ipswich Town: Walton; Vincent-Young (Donacien, 21), Edmundson, Burgess, Coulson; Evans, Harper; Burns (Jackson, 83), Chaplin (Carroll, 64), Aluko; Bonne
Subs: Holy, Penney, Barry, Pigott
Bolton Wanderers: Dixon; Jones, Santos, Johnston (Baptiste, 81), Gordon; Sheehan (Lee 74), Williams; Sarcevic, Isgrove (Kachunga, 62), Afolayan, Doyle
Subs: Gilks, Aimson, Thomason, Delfouneso
Att: 19,267 (553 Bolton fans)