Ipswich Town 4-0 Charlton Athletic: Town cut loose on final day
- Credit: Steve Waller - stephenwaller.com
Ipswich Town ended their season on a high as they played with freedom on their way to a comfortable victory over Charlton.
The Blues, with little to play for other than pride, came firing out of the box and scored twice in the opening minutes, with Tyreeq Bakinson expertly finding the top corner from outside the box and Wes Burns beautifully finishing a clever Conor Chaplin pass.
Town were enjoying themselves as they entertained a crowd of more than 26,000 inside Portman Road, with chances continuing to come before Burns doubled his own personal tally as he converted Macauley Bonne’s pass soon after the break. The goal means he finishes the season as Town's top scorer on 13.
The final word went to James Norwood who, on what is set to be his final Ipswich appearance, managed to squeeze the ball home from the tightest of angles to end his Town career with a goal, just a couple of minutes after coming on.
Town ultimately finish 11th in League One after a third season at this level fell flat, but their final game was a reminder of why there is so much to feel positive about heading into another vital summer.
Much better is required next season, those at the club and watching on from the outside know that, ahead of what will be a fourth crack at promotion when the new seasons begins in July.
McKenna’s final side of the season included a start for Bonne, who was making what could prove to be the final appearance in an Ipswich shirt as his loan spell from QPR comes to an end.
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Bersant Celina and Chaplin started behind him, with Burns fit enough to begin the game on the right flank. Elkan Baggott made his first league start at Portman Road, coming into the team as Cameron Burgess dropped out through injury.
Town could finish no higher than 10th and Charlton 12th, but there was still a good atmosphere building inside Portman Road as the teams entered the field, while visiting fans let off flares and smoke bombs ahead of kick-off.
Burns had the first opening of the game, as a fast-flowing Ipswich break ended with the Welshman lashing the ball over the top, but it was Bakinson who was the first to make a mark.
A move down the Ipswich left created the opener, but it was midfielder Bakinson who brought the real quality as he let fly with a stunning strike which was still rising as it found the top corner.
It was the perfect start, with Celina trying his luck soon after and shooting wide before a brilliant flowing move ended with Chaplin slipping Burns through with a beautiful ball, which the Welshman matched with an excellent finish with the outside of his boot.
The goal took him level with Bonne at the top of Town’s scoring charts, on 12. The striker thought he’d regained his position at the summit, only for him to be flagged offside when he connected with Janoi Donacien’s through-ball and beat goalkeeper Nathan Harness.
Bonne had a shot blocked before skipper Sam Morsy fired wide, with Christian Walton called into significant action for the first time as he turned Jayden Stockley’s effort round the post on 36 minutes.
Town’s rapid start to the half had given way to a slower-paced game heading into the break, in which Ipswich were by far the more threatening, with the second half starting in excellent fashion.
Bonne turned provider for Burns, with a nicely-weighted ball into the penalty area which the Welshman gobbled up to slot home his 13th goal of the season. It saw him take Bonne’s place as Town’s top-scorer.
Baggott got himself in a bit of a muddle, which allowed Conor Washington to shoot over the top of the bar, before another exploratory Luke Woolfenden run ended in his shot being blocked and the rebound sent flying behind for a goal kick.
Donacien’s afternoon was ended early, as he limped off after falling awkwardly in his own box, with replacement Kane Vincent-Young involved early as he got forward to send in a cross which Morsy should really have converted.
A second Town change saw Cameron Humphreys replace Chaplin, before Stockley sent an effort against the Ipswich bar in a rare show of Charlton invention.
Bonne’s afternoon, and possibly Ipswich career, ended on 85 minutes when he was replaced by Norwood, who himself was making what looks like it will be his final appearance in Blue.
Celina shot wide before Norwood completed the scoring, with the Ipswich players returning to the pitch after the final whistle for the traditional lap of appreciation at the end of a rollercoaster season.
Ipswich Town: Walton; Donacien (Vincent-Young, 56), Woolfenden, Baggott; Burns, Penney; Morsy, Bakinson; Celina, Chaplin (Humphreys 75), Bonne (Norwood, 85)
Subs: Hladky, El Mizouni, Aluko, Pigott
Charlton Athletic: Harness; Iniss, Famewo, Pearce; Matthews, Blackett-Taylor; Dobson, Gilbey (Aneke 54), Morgan (Forster-Caskey, 68), Stockley, Washington (Lee, 75)
Subs: Henderson, Jaiyesimi, Burstow, Elerewe
Att: 26,002 (1,972 Charlton fans)