Ipswich Town 0-3 Hull City: Lambert’s Blues comfortably beaten as they again fail against a promotion rival
- Credit: Picture: Steve Waller
Ipswich Town’s inability to handle promotion rivals cost them once again as they were well-beaten by League One leaders Hull City.
It was a trait which derailed last season’s promotion bid as Paul Lambert’s men won just two of their 18 games against the 10 sides which ultimately finished above them and it’s a question the Blues have yet to answer as they bid to avoid a repeat of last season’s tumble down the table.
Town had responded well enough following Mallik Wilks’ second-minute opener, playing some decent football at a good tempo without being able to test Matt Ingram in the Hull goal, but you felt the game was up after Josh Magennis had turned home the second just before the break.
That’s exactly how it proved as, despite some good passages of play, the visitors remained in control and finally killed the contest off as Tom Eaves struck with 13 minutes remaining.
It was ultimately a comfortable victory for the visitors on a night where Town had plenty of possession once again but didn’t carry enough threat in front of goal to contend with a side who hold similar promotion ambitions to their own.
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Had supporters been inside the stadium for this game, Lambert and his players would have been left in little doubt what the paying public thought of this performance.
Defeat and results elsewhere saw Town drop to fifth in the table ahead of the visit of Charlton, in sixth, at the weekend.
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With injury dictating much of his selection process, Lambert made four changes to the side which started the weekend victory over Shrewsbury.
Out went new injury victims Teddy Bishop (ankle) and Jon Nolan (groin), with Emyr Huws and Keanan Bennetts coming in for them, while Kayden Jackson and Toto Nsiala made way for James Norwood and Luke Woolfenden respectively.
The Hull side included two former Town full-backs, with Callum Elder and Josh Emmanuel given starts and the latter quickly involved as the visitors took an early lead.
The game couldn’t have started much worse for the Blues as Hull played a patient passing move down the right flank, with Emmanuel finding George Honeyman who drove inside, played a pass to Wilks. The midfielder then had plenty of time on the edge of his box to drive low past Tomas Holy.
Just a minute and 40 seconds were on the clock when the ball hit the net, giving Town plenty of time to work their way back into the game, but while they were certainly more vocal than during their weekend win, they weren’t able to work the ball into threatening areas during the opening 15 minutes.
The first real effort on goal came on 23 minutes when Bennetts popped the ball through the legs of visiting captain Richard Smallwood and drove towards goal, before thundering a shot which deflected behind off of defender Jacob Greaves.
Norwood was next to try his luck, firing straight at Matt Ingram from an extremely tight angle as he picked up on a clever ball in behind from Woolfenden, before another casualty entered the Town injury room as Freddie Sears left the game with what looked like a hamstring injury.
Town were having good spells of pressure in the Hull half without being able to stretch their opponents on too many occasions, though Norwood looked a nuisance the two Ipswich full-backs were able to get up higher up the pitch than they managed at the weekend.
Chambers headed a floated Bennetts cross into the arms of Ingram before Norwood stretched but couldn’t reach a deep cross from Stephen Ward which tried to find the striker at the back stick.
But the game got a whole lot harder just before the break when Magennis was afforded the freedom of the Town box as he latched onto Reece Burke’s ball, took a touch and placed past Tomas Holy.
It was a sucker punch just as the Blues were beginning to build a head of steam, which they did their best to recover from during the opening 15 minutes of the second period as they huffed and puffed without being able to land a blow on Hull.
It was Hull who had the next big moment with a chance which could have killed the game off once and for all, but Magennis fired his volley over the top after being found unmarked by an excellent Emmanuel cross from the right.
Another Hull chance came and went as Wilks out-muscled Woolfenden as he seized on a poor Bennetts pass, with Holy eventually making a good save as the visiting forward burst into the box as the visitors enjoyed a good period of dominance.
Bennetts headed wide before Lambert turned to his bench and introduced both Kayden Jackson and Oli Hawkins in place of Norwood and Bennetts, but just a few ticks of the clock later the game was well-and-truly up as Eaves profited from a loose Jack Lankester pass, beat Woolfenden off the ball and finished past Holy to complete the scoring.
Ipswich Town: Holy; Chambers, Woolfenden, McGuinness, Ward; McGavin, Huws, Judge; Bennetts (Jackson, 74), Sears (Lankester, 32), Norwood (Hawkins, 74)
Subs: Cornell, Nsiala, Kenlock, Drinan
Hull City: Ingram; Emmanuel, Greaves, Burke, Elder; Slater (Jones, 62), Honeyman (Samuelsen, 82), Smallwood; Wilks (Coyle, 82), Adelakun (Scott, 62), Magennis (Eaves, 71)
Subs: Long, Batty