Ipswich Town 2-0 Rochdale: Blues stay perfect as second-half goals secure the points
- Credit: Picture: Steve Waller
Ipswich Town maintained their 100% record and place at the top of the League One table with victory over Rochdale this afternoon.
Teddy Bishop and Gwion Edwards scored the goals during a clinical six-minute spell, midway through the second half, to make sure of the points in a game played amid driving rain and howling wind at Portman Road.
The Blues were ultimately comfortable in this game and had much the better of the chances throughout, though the visitors offered threat throughout and stretched Town down the flanks, particularly in the first period.
But once the deadlock had been broken you always felt Paul Lambert’s men would see the job through, making it three wins from three games at the start of the league campaign.
Town and Hull are the only third-tier teams with perfect records from their three games, with Lincoln not in action having won their first two, with Ipswich next travelling to MK Dons a week today.
Lambert made just one change to his Ipswich side following last weekend’s victory at Bristol Rovers, with Oli Hawkins coming into the side for a first league start in place of James Norwood.
That meant Jack Lankester and Flynn Downes, who both came on to inspire the win at the Memorial Stadium, were again on the bench, with the likes of Alan Judge, Kayden Jackson, Cole Skuse and Luke Woolfenden all missing out despite returning to training late this week. There was no place for new signing Mark McGuinness, either.
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Town got themselves on the ball and in control early, with Hawkins firing the first warning sign as he headed over the top of the bar following a good deep cross from Stephen Ward, before Jon Nolan and Freddie Sears weren’t able to create an opening despite being freed into a two-on-two thanks to a good touch from Teddy Bishop to set his team-mates away.
Rochdale were providing Town with a physical test, particularly in the Blues’ box with a few nervy moments and bouncing balls, before the hosts looked like they had taken the lead when Hawkins’ firm header was clawed away by an excellent, flying save from teenage goalkeeper Gavin Bazunu.
Bishop’s cross provided that chance for the big striker, with the two combining again just a few minutes later when the midfielder’s pass inside saw Hawkins turn and fire against the outside of the post with his left foot.
Hawkins was again the man to threaten the Rochdale goal as his header from a Ward cross dropped towards the goal and, in truth, gave Eoghan O’Connell plenty of time to clear off the line under very little pressure.
The chances were Ipswich’s but Rochdale were keeping the ball well and threatening down both flanks, with midfielder Oliver Rathbone worrying Tomas Holy briefly as he sent a shot skimming just over the top of the crossbar.
Nolan was the next to threaten, driving a shot which Bazunu held at the second attempt, before Sears’ clever touch and dinked cross was headed off the line by Keohane from underneath his own crossbar.
Alex Newby headed over the top for the visitors, just before the break, before Sears started the second half by putting a free-kick into the wall after Bishop had been fouled on the edge of the Rochdale ‘D’.
But the Blues did soon find the net and killed off the game during a clinical six-minute spell.
Bishop scored the first, as he allowed a neat Hawkins lay-off to run across his body before dropping a shoulder and firing home his second of the season.
The opener was born down the Town left through Wards’ neat ball inside, with the Irishman beginning the move for the second two as Bishop and Sears helped the ball on for Edwards to pounce at the far post to finish.
From that point on the game was up and the points secure, though Rochdale did continue to offer a threat before the full-time whistle blew as Holy had to save from Jake Beesley.
Ipswich Town: Holy; Chambers, Wilson, Nsiala, Ward; Dozzell, Nolan, Bishop (Downes, 67); Edwards, Sears (Lankester, 75), Hawkins (Norwood, 75)
Subs: Cornell, Donacien, Kenlock, Huws
Rochdale: Bazunu; McShane, O’Connell, Rathbone, Lund, Ryan (Dooley 63), Keohane, Morley (Brierly 87), Newby, Beesley (Tavares, 87), Done
Subs: Lynch, McNulty, Hopper, Dunne