Ipswich Town 3-1 Fleetwood Town: Blues finish season with three goals and a win
- Credit: Steve Waller-www.stephenwaller.com
Ipswich Town signed off for the summer with a comfortable victory over Fleetwood on the final day at Portman Road.
With any hope of making the League One play-offs long gone, three points in their final match of the season ensures Town finished ninth in the third tier, heading into what is sure to be an exciting summer punctuated by change at Portman Road.
On a day when 10 of Paul Cook’s squad of 18 were not contracted to the club beyond the summer, including captain Luke Chambers and fellow stalwart Cole Skuse, the Blues hassled, harried and battled while also producing three moments of quality which wrapped the contest up before the break.
James Norwood scored the first, reaching double figures for the season, before Gwion Edwards and Troy Parrott put the Blues out of sight before the break in a game which mattered little to either side.
Wes Burns got one back before a raft of substitutions saw the contest begin to drift away, with three points in the bank for the hosts.
Cook made just one change to his side following Tuesday’s goalless draw at Shrewsbury, with captain Chambers coming back into the side in place of injured full-back Kane Vincent-Young.
The Blues made a lightning start as Gwion Edwards’ deep cross was kept in by Armando Dobra, whose quick and clever feet teased the Fleetwood defence before he pulled the ball back for Norwood to slam into the back of the net.
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Fleetwood weren’t at the races early on and they were punished again just six minutes later as Edwards battled away down the left, won the ball from James Hill and cut back to finish through Fleetwood keeper Alex Cairns.
That was his last meaningful contribution, though, as he limped off and was replaced by Keanan Bennetts after just 15 minutes.
The visitors’ first effort on goal saw David Cornell stop Barrie McKay’s low shot well, but it was Town who continued to dominate as Cook bellowed instructions and urged his players to press from the bench. It worked, forcing Fleetwood into errors time and time again.
Town made their dominance count further before the break as Andre Dozzell’s clever ball over the top saw Norwood outfox Callum Connolly and then play a perfectly disguised pass into the path of Parrott, who finished superbly past Cairns.
Cornell made another decent save, this time denying Danny Andrew, before stopping Kyle Vassell’s low shot before the break, with Parrott having the first opening of the second period as he shot wide following Flynn Downes’ excellent through ball from deep.
Mark McGuinness fired a Dozzell corner over the top, appealing for a penalty under the challenge of Nathan Sheron, before Bennetts’ low cross found Norwood in space, with the striker unable to get anything meaningful on the ball as the cross drifted behind off his studs.
That was his final act, as he limped off with a knock and was replaced by Teddy Bishop, with the midfielder on the seen as Parrott charged forward and slipped Dobra through to force a save from Cairns in the Fleetwood goal.
Town lost their clean sheet as Wes Burns chased his own through ball, intended for an offside team-mate, and out-paced Mark McGuinness to fire into the far corner.
Cook then introduced Skuse and Kayden Jackson, alongside Josh Harrop, for the final few minutes as the last match of a disappointing campaign drifted to its conclusion.
Ipswich Town: Cornell; Chambers, Woolfenden, McGuinness, Kenlock; Downes, Dozzell; Edwards (Bennetts, 16 (Skuse, 79)), Dobra (Jackson, 79), Parrott (Harrop, 79); Norwood (Bishop, 70)
Subs: Holy, Nsiala
Fleetwood Town: Cairns, Hill, Connolly, Andrew (J Morris, 85); Burns, Rossiter, Finley (Whelan, 85), Biggins, McKay (Baggley, 85); Garner, Vassell (Sheron, 46)
Subs: Coleman, Holgate, S Morris