Ipswich Town 2-1 Tottenham U21: Roberts strikes twice as Dobra impresses in Blues’ EFL Trophy win
- Credit: Picture: Steve Waller
Jordan Roberts scored twice as Ipswich Town came from a goal down to get their EFL Trophy campaign off to a winning start this evening.
After Armando Shashoua had given the Tottenham youngsters the lead early on, Roberts fired home twice after the break from close-range to open his Ipswich account.
Both goals were supplied by Armando Dobra, the Blues' brightest spark on the night, as the young Albanian international tested the visiting defence time and again with his direct running and positive touch.
In truth the Blues were comfortable throughout against their young opponents, physically dominating them if not always being able to make their advantage count. The game offered Emyr Huws and Jon Nolan the chance to get vital minutes in their legs as they continue their comeback from injury, while the likes of Janoi Donacien, Idris El Mizouni and goalkeeper Will Norris will have benefited from the run-out.
There was a debut, too, with 17-year-old striker Tyreece Simpson, a former rugby player, who led the line after replacing Roberts.
Manager Paul Lambert, who was not shy in revealing his dislike for this competition in the build-up to the game, made nine changes to his side with only Myles Kenlock and Luke Woolfenden retained from the weekend victory over Shrewsbury.
The Blues boss deployed a wing-back system with Donacien and Gwion Edwards outside a back three, with the hosts in full control of the ball early on without being able to force Spurs keeper Alfie Whiteman into action, before they fell behind.
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Tottenham's first attack of the game saw Tashan Oakley-Booth thread a nicely-weighted pass through the Ipswich line for Shashoua to slide under keeper Will Norris after just eight minutes.
Jordan Roberts had a chance to level soon after but the striker could only head an excellent Janoi Donacien cross over the bar, before Gwion Edwards had a shot blocked away after he met Roberts' low pull-back.
Dobra was the next to threaten as he burst into the box before seeing his shot blocked away, before Idris El Mizouni's free-kick was met by a flying James Wilson who could only head wide.
Dobra stung the palms of Whiteman and Roberts could only turn the ball over from an excellent Edwards cross as Ipswich failed to make their advantage count before the half-time whistle blew.
For all their energy and good passages of passing play, Spurs put little pressure on their hosts, but there was one nervy moment at the end of the first-half as Huws' well-under hit backpass was seized on by Rodel Richards who could only fire wide from a tight angle after he had rounded Norris as he charged out of his box.
The Blues returned unchanged after the break and were level 90 seconds later as Dobra's superb pressing on the byline saw the young Albania international rob the Tottenham left-back and deliver a low ball into the box which Roberts only had to tap into the net.
Town continued to press, as music star Ed Sheeran's name was sung by the North Stand after he was spotted inside Portman Road, with Dobra again the provider for the leveller.
The youngster superbly took the ball on his chest and beat Tariq Hinds before pulling the ball back for Roberts to slam home his second of the night. That was it for the striker, though, as he was replaced by debutant Tyreece Simpson.
The youngster, a former rugby player, led the line as Ipswich switched to a 4-2-3-1 and had an excellent effort from range well-saved by Whiteman before the full-time whistle sounded.
There was a nervy moment late on, as Enock Asante fired wide from inside the box, but the Blues had already done enough to get off to a winning start.
Ipswich Town: Norris; Woolfenden, Wilson, Kenlock; Donacien, Nolan, Huws, El Mizouni, Edwards; Dobra, Roberts (Simpson 67)
Subs: Wright; Ndaba, Clements, Vincent-Young, Downes, Rowe
Spurs U21: Whiteman; Okedina, Eyoma, Lyons-Forster, Hinds; White (Asante 86), Shashoua; Markanday, Oakley-Booth (Patterson 70), Tracey; Richards
Subs: De Bie. Dinzeyi, Clarke, Thorpe
Attendance: 5,377 (283 away fans)