Ipswich Town 3-2 Leeds United: Quaner wins dramatic game for Blues as Lambert’s men sign off with a victory
- Credit: Picture: Steve Waller
Ipswich Town ended their 17-year stay in the Championship in style with a dramatic 3-2 victory over Leeds United.
Collin Quaner grabbed the winner in the final minute for 10-man Ipswich as he profited from a comedy of errors in the Leeds defence, as Luke Ayling and goalkeeper Kiko Casilla both left the ball for each other allowing the German to turn home on his final Ipswich appearance.
Flynn Downes and Andre Dozzell, two homegrown players who will be leaned on next season as the club rebuild around their youngsters, twice gave the hosts the lead before Mateusz Klich and Stuart Dallas levelled things up.
It looked as if Leeds would go on to win, when Luke Chambers was sent off for a foul on Kemar Roofe in the box, but the striker skied his penalty over the bar.
The game was heading towards a draw before Quaner turned home the winner from just inside the box, sending the home crowd home smiling at the end of a miserable season.
As the players emerged from the tunnel they were greeted by a North Stand flag display, with a banner reading ‘There is a light and it never goes out’.
The lights went out on Ipswich Town’s 2018/19 season many weeks ago, but this game was about sending everyone off with something resembling a smile on their faces and retaining hope for the future.
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With that in mind, Lambert made four changes to his side for a game against a Leeds side who already knew they would have to battle their way through the play-offs if they are to make the Premier League.
Bartosz Bialkowski returned in goal while Trevoh Chalobah, Andre Dozzell and Collin Quaner all came into the side, with Jon Nolan, Kayden Jackson and Will Keane dropping out.
The visitors had the better of the opening minutes, with Toto Nsiala needing to intervene on a handful of occasion to block dangerous balls on the edge of the Ipswich area.
Downes had the first real opening of the half, though, as good interplay between Quaner and Alan Judge saw the midfielder slipped in wide, but he took too long and his effort was blocked behind for a corner. Like so many of Ipswich’s set pieces this season, it came to nothing.
The Blues should really have been behind a few minutes later when, after Luke Chambers had presented the ball straight to midfielder Kalvin Phillips, Leeds switched play for Adam Forshaw to sting the palms of Bialkowski, with Pablo Hernandez unable to follow up.
Further Nsiala blocks were required to keep the score level, but the Blues were soon ahead.
It came following an expert pass from Dozzell, which set Quaner away before the German dived over a challenge from the on-rushing Casilla. The goalkeeper was booked and, from Judge’s delivery, the ball pinged around the six-yard box before Downes was able to turn it home.
Two more Nsiala blocks followed, but the visitors were level before the break as Forshaw’s pass opened up the Ipswich defence for Luke Ayling to pull back and Klich to fire home.
The Blues were clapped back onto the pitch after the interval but those claps turned to cheers within two minutes as a superb team involving Kenlock, Skuse, Downes, Chalobah and Quaner ended in Dozzell picking his spot and expertly finding the bottom corner.
Ipswich tails were up but Leeds kept pushing, working the ball quickly around the Leeds box and creating openings.
Bialkowski was required to turn a hooked Kemar Roofe effort over the top before, from a corner a few minutes later, the Pole stuck out a fist to try and punch another Phillips delivery but was lucky to see the ball bounce behind off of Liam Cooper’s thigh.
Indecision between the goalkeeper and James Bree led to two quickfire Leeds chances, with Bialkowski staying on his feet to first push away Jack Clark’s shot before also keeping out the Hernandez rebound.
Leeds maintained their pressure though and were level after Ayling’s cross was turned onto the bar by Roofe before Dallas followed up to nod home. Town appealed for offside, but there was nothing doing.
The visitors maintained their pressure and when Chambers bundled Roofe over in the box, it looked as though the Blues were going to let a lead turn into a defeat once again at Portman Road. The skipper was sent off but, as Roofe stepped up to take the resulting penalty, he slipped and skied an effort over the top of the bar.
Just as it looked like Ipswich’s final Championship game, for a year at least, would end in defeat, Quaner struck to win the game.
The full-time whistle was greeted with a roar, as the Blues signed off for the summer.
Ipswich Town: Bialkowski; Bree, Chambers. Nsiala, Kenlock; Skuse, Downes (Jackson 61), Chalobah, Dozzell (Elder 74), Judge; Quaner
Subs: Gerken, Emmanuel, El Mizouni, Brown, Harrison
Leeds United: Casilla; Ayling, Jansson, Cooper, Dalles; Phillips, Forshaw (Clarke 60), Klich; Hernandez, Harrison; Roofe
Subs: Peacock-Farrell, Berardi, Shackleton, Edmondson, Gotts, Bogusz
Att: 20,895 (3,963)