Ipswich Town 1-0 Crewe Alexandra: Hawkins’ header the difference as Blues scrape home win

Oli Hawkins heads Ipswich Town into a 1-0 lead against Crewe Picture: STEVE WALLER

Oli Hawkins heads Ipswich Town into a 1-0 lead against Crewe Picture: STEVE WALLER - Credit: Photo: Steve Waller. www.stephenwaller.com

Oli Hawkins’ first goal for Ipswich Town was enough for the Blues to secure all three points against Crewe.

Luke Chambers congratulates Oli Hawkins, after he had scored to put Town 1-0 up. Picture: STEVE WALL

Luke Chambers congratulates Oli Hawkins, after he had scored to put Town 1-0 up. Picture: STEVE WALLER - Credit: Photo: Steve Waller. www.stephenwaller.com

The big striker’s header, just after the hour, ultimately settled a contest in which the hosts were second best for long spells, with their visitors having good periods of pressure and stretching the Town defence.

The Ipswich left side was a particular target for the Railwaymen as they asked questions time and again but, while David Artell’s men played the better football, had the majority of the efforts on goal and carried the most threat, they left with nothing.

The Blues didn’t have a shot on target before opening the scoring but, to Town’s credit, they improved after the break and were able to claim three points while a long way from their best to move into a share of the League One lead ahead of Tuesday’s visit to Sunderland.

Lambert was back on the bench after missing Tuesday’s victory over Gillingham while awaiting the results of a coronavirus test, which ultimately came back negative, and the Town boss made once change to his side.

Luke Woolfenden congratulates Oli Hawkins after his goal to give Town a 1-0 lead.
Picture: Steve Wa

Luke Woolfenden congratulates Oli Hawkins after his goal to give Town a 1-0 lead. Picture: Steve Waller www.stephenwaller.com - Credit: Photo: Steve Waller. www.stephenwaller.com

Out was Jack Lankester, following two successive starts, with Alan Judge returning in his place after missing both of those games with hamstring trouble. Kayden Jackson return to the bench following his period of isolation after catching the virus.

After a 30-minute respite period the consistent rain turned to a pour as the game kicked off, with Crewe starting the better with some quick football down the Town left, before their first chance came from a free-kick on the opposite flank.

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Goalkeeper Tomas Holy stood off the cross and was beaten to the ball by Luke Offord, with the Czech stopper lucky to see the defender’s effort bounce off his shoulder, stopping it en route to goal.

The keeper’s next contribution was more positive, as he used strong palms to push Owen Dale’s shot away, before the Blues began to grow into the game a little with some decent spells of possession.

Andre Dozzell had a shot charged down and Gwion Edwards flashed an effort wide, before Holy’s big moment of the first half saw him produce a stunning save to deny Tom Lowery as he spread himself to keep out a shot the Crewe midfielder should really have scored from five yards out.

That opening came as the visitors could in behind Stephen Ward once again and there were further moments of worry before the Blues were able to get in at half-time level, following a half where the visitors were the better side.

The second period lacked chances of note before Hawkins bullied Omar Beckles to excellently head a Ward cross at Will Jaaskelainen in the Crewe goal, before a period of last-ditch defending saw McGuinness made a block and an interception as Crewe upped their pace in the final third.

But, against the run of play, the Blues were ahead. Hawkins had toiled for much of this game but, with the smallest of jumps, met Judge’s in-swinging cross superbly and nodded it into the Crewe net.

That was enough for Town to win it, as they saw out further Crewe pressure with the visitors looking to exploit the Ipswich left.

Next up is Tuesday’s trip to Sunderland.

Ipswich Town: Holy; Chambers, Woolfenden, McGuinness, Ward; Dozzell, Bishop (Lankester, 79), Judge; Edwards, Sears (Bennetts, 84), Hawkins (Jackson, 69)

Subs: Cornell, Nsiala, Kenlock, Huws

Ipswich keeper Tomas Holy with an early save
Picture: Steve Waller www.stephenwaller.com

Ipswich keeper Tomas Holy with an early save Picture: Steve Waller www.stephenwaller.com - Credit: Photo: Steve Waller. www.stephenwaller.com

Crewe Alexandra: Jaaskelainen; Ng, Pickering, Beckles, Wintle, Offord, Lowery, Kirk, Ainley (Finney, 82), Mandron (Powell, 71), Dale (Porter, 71)

Subs: Richards, Zanzala, Johnson, Murphy

Mark McGuinness clears.
Picture: Steve Waller www.stephenwaller.com

Mark McGuinness clears. Picture: Steve Waller www.stephenwaller.com - Credit: Photo: Steve Waller. www.stephenwaller.com

Crewe Alexandras captain Perry Ng holds off Freddie Sears.
Picture: Steve Waller www.stephenw

Crewe Alexandras captain Perry Ng holds off Freddie Sears. Picture: Steve Waller www.stephenwaller.com - Credit: Photo: Steve Waller. www.stephenwaller.com

Gwion Edwards with a long-range first-half effort.
Picture: Steve Waller www.stephenwaller.co

Gwion Edwards with a long-range first-half effort. Picture: Steve Waller www.stephenwaller.com - Credit: Photo: Steve Waller. www.stephenwaller.com

Town manager Paul Lambert and his assistant Stuart Taylor look on.
Picture: Steve Waller www.

Town manager Paul Lambert and his assistant Stuart Taylor look on. Picture: Steve Waller www.stephenwaller.com - Credit: Photo: Steve Waller. www.stephenwaller.com

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