Ipswich Town 2-1 Burton Albion: Huws wins it as Blues edge out basement boys
- Credit: Picture: Steve Waller www.stephenwaller.com
Emyr Huws scored Ipswich Town’s winner as the Blues edged past League One’s bottom club at Portman Road.
The Welshman headed home with 10 minutes left on the clock to secure three points against the Brewers, as the Blues escaped with the spoils despite being far from convincing for long spells in front of 2,000 supporters at Portman Road.
An opening 10 minutes, packed with drive, physicality and plenty of Ipswich pressure was rewarded by Keanan Bennetts’ first goal for the club as he connected with Oli Hawkins and Kayden Jackson flick-ons to fire into the bottom corner.
But the early spark fizzled out as Ipswich struggled to maintain that tempo, conceding an equaliser and then failing to break the hosts down regularly enough before Huws popped up to follow up his own blocked shot and win it for Lambert’s men.
The result saw Town get back to winning ways at Portman Road following three successive defeats to promotion contenders, with the Blues fifth in the League One table but level on points with the three sides above them on goal difference.
Lambert made three changes to his side following Saturday’s home loss to Portsmouth, most notably bringing in striker Hawkins in attack alongside Jackson, who started wide on the right.
There was a shuffle in midfield, with Emyr Huws replacing Jon Nolan while Keanan Bennetts moved into one of the wide roles as Armando Dobra dropped to the bench along with Jack Lankester.
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The 2,000 fans inside Portman Road gave their side a warm welcome as they entered the field, with the vast majority of those in attendance witness the Blues in action for the first time since the March shutdown.
And they were soon on their feet as Hawkins won an aerial duel which Jackson then helped on for Bennetts to expertly find the corner and open his account.
The early goal had Town tails up, with Jackson coming close to making it two as he lashed the ball from a tight angle which Kieran O’Hara had to palm away at his near post.
Bennetts, clearly playing with confidence, then danced inside with some quick feet before shifting the ball out from under his body and unleashing a 20-yard effort which flew narrowly wide of the Burton goal, during an excellent 10-minute period for the hosts.
But the next 10 were much more even and Lambert’s men were soon pegged back as captain Luke Chambers was caught upfield as he looked to latch onto an under-hit crossfield ball from Mark McGuinness, with Burton breaking down and left and Colin Daniel crossing for Joe Powell to turn home from eight yards out.
That goal brought moans and groans from the fans in attendance, as their side let an early lead and decent start slip away, with passages of play offered little patience as Town worked the ball around before ultimately heading back towards their own goal.
One or two groans were mixed in with an encouraging round of applause as the half-time whistle blew, ending a half which had promised much in its early minutes but ultimately ended even.
Bennetts, who picked up a knock during the opening period, didn’t appear for the second as Armando Dobra took his place, before the first chance of the second period saw Alan Judge take aim from 30-yards and seeing his shot spilled by O’Hara. Sadly, Jackson couldn’t quite reach the follow-up.
Huws was the next to try his luck, skidding a low effort at the goalkeeper following good work from Jackson, before Judge connected with a Hawkins knock-down before firing wide on his left foot.
Ward then curled a shot straight at O’Hara after good work from Dobra, as the game ticked past the hour mark, before a break in play as Niall Ennis received a head injury following an aerial battle with McGuinness.
Lambert switched to 4-4-2 with 15 minutes of this game remaining, pushing Jackson up top with Hawkins, and the hosts soon had their reward when a Judge cross from the right saw Hawkins battle five Burton players under a high ball, before Huws saw a shot saved by O’Hara and then followed up to force a header home, through bodies on the line.
That was ultimately enough to win it for Town, though Lucas Akins should really have grabbed an equaliser with two minutes remaining when he stabbed over from six yards out.
Town head to Peterborough on Saturday for another game against a League One promotion-chaser.
Ipswich Town: Cornell; Chambers, Woolfenden, McGuinness, Ward; Dozzell, Huws, Judge, Bennetts (Dobra, 46), Jackson (Drinan, 88), Hawkins
Subs: Holy, Nsiala, Kenlock, McGavin, Lankester
Burton Albion: O'Hara, Brayford, Hughes, Bostwick, Daniel (Lawless, 90); O'Toole, Edwards, Powell, Vernam, Akins, Ennis
Subs: Garratt, Wallace, Fox, Vassilev, Gallacher, Gilligan