Ipswich Town 0-0 MK Dons: Blues again fail to register shot on target in drab draw
- Credit: Steve Waller-www.stephenwaller.c
Ipswich Town once again drew a blank as they failed to find a way past MK Dons in the first game of a new era at Portman Road.
In the week where the club was bought by a group of American investors, ending Marcus Evans’ ownership of the club, Paul Cook’s men failed to register a shot on target for the second-successive game as they played out 0-0 draw against the visiting Dons.
Tomas Holy was by far the busier of the two goalkeepers, making a string of saves to keep the visitors out, while Town were unable to test the goalkeeper when they did manage to fashion a rare opening.
Cook’s first side of a new era included 11 players who had combined for just three goals since October and the Blues again lacked threat in the final third as they toiled in attack in search of a winner.
Their point and results elsewhere leave Town eighth, three points off the play-offs with seven games remaining.
The Town line was led by the raw combination of Armando Dobra and Aaron Drinan, while there was a welcome return in midfield as Flynn Downes made his first appearance in a month, adding much-needed steel to the Blues’ engine room.
After two minutes of silence in memory of The Duke of Edinburgh, following his passing on Friday, the game got underway with Town in a flat back four, a four-man midfield in front of that and then Dobra playing off Drinan in attack.
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They started with good intensity, charging down MK defenders, but weren’t able to open too many doors before Zak Jules turned a dangerous Dons corner into the hands of Holy.
Town’s first real foray forward saw Stephen Ward send a stinging ball through the Dons’ six-yard box, which Gwion Edwards got crowded out of as he tried to attack the ball between two visiting defenders.
MK began to work their way into the game, with a dangerous ball into the box needing Toto Nsiala to block Will Grigg’s shot, before Scott Fraser shot wide.
Town’s best chance of the half arrived just before the break as Downes won the ball back to set Edwards away and send in a skidding cross which Dobra met and agonisingly stabbed wide of the post.
The two sides went in goalless at the break, with Town completing a third successive half without registering a shot on target, before Holy was called into action early in the second as he tipped an Andrew Surman shot round the post.
The Czech then stopped from Matt O’Riley, catching a driven shot before then producing an excellent double save from the same player, seconds after manager Cook had made a triple substitution in a bid to inject something into his side.
Freddie Sears, Alan Judge and Tristan Nydam stepped off the bench, with the latter returning to action following a nasty ankle injury, two years to the day after his last competitive appearance for the club.
Sears’ first action was to hit the deck under little pressure as he ran into the box, before the former Colchester men cut inside a few minutes later and rifled a vicious shot just wide of the post.
A second chance soon followed but he couldn’t connect well enough with a ball down the line when presented with an opportunity to finish.
Oli Hawkins was the last man off the bench, replacing Drinan, but there was still no way through as Town had to settle for a point.
Ipswich Town: Holy; Woolfenden, Nsiala, Chambers; Edwards (Parrott, 70), Ward; Downes, Dozzell (Judge, 62); Bishop (Nydam, 62); Dobra (Sears, 62); Drinan (Hawkins, 88)
Subs: Cornell, McGuinness
MK Dons: Fisher; Jules, Darling, Lewington; Laird, Surman, McEachran (Kasumu, 71), Fraser, Harvie (Sorinola, 62); O'Riley, Grigg (Brown, 71)
Subs: Nicholls, Sorenson, Mason, Houghton