Ipswich Town 1-4 West Ham United: Blues well-beaten as mistakes are punished in Portman Road loss
- Credit: Picture: Stephen Waller
It was a mixed afternoon for Ipswich Town as the Blues ultimately went down to a 4-1 defeat to West Ham United at Portman Road.
The Hammers led 1-0 at the break thanks to Sebastien Haller’s close-range striker, before the game was turned upside down by a spell which saw four goals scored in five minutes, with the visitors punishing Ipswich mistakes as they netted three of them.
Haller’s second saw the French striker smash home from six yards before Town levelled through an excellent move which ended in a good Freddie Sears finish into the bottom corner.
Then they went to went to sleep at the back, with goalkeeper Tomas Holy allowing a cross to sail over his head for Tomas Soucek to head home, before a nightmare moment for captain Luke Chambers as he turned into trouble, was stripped of possession and then thumped the post with his boot after Haller completed his treble with ease.
The hosts offered their Premier League far too much time and space and were punished for their mistakes but, especially prior to the frantic scoring spree, there were again positives to take in their penultimate pre-season outing.
The highlight was the homegrown midfield trio of Andre Dozzell, Flynn Downes and Teddy Bishop, who showed great chemistry in the middle of the pitch, moving the ball sharply and creating opportunities for their side.
Dozzell played in the deeper of the midfield roles, dictating play, with Bishop and Downes ahead of him looking to pick up possession and drive towards goal.
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Town’s desire to pass the ball and stretch their opponent was in evidence again, with a mixed impact, while Paul Lambert lined his players up in his now preferred 4-3-3 system.
There were plenty of absentees, with the likes of Kane Vincent-Young, Luke Woolfenden, Kayden Jackson, James Norwood and Cole Skuse, James Wilson and Oli Hawkins all missing as Lambert opted to give longer run-outs to some of his players having split minutes more evenly so far in pre-season.
The Blues had a chance early as the ball bounced up nicely for Aaron Drinan inside the West Ham box, but the young Irishman saw his shot blocked by a combination of Fabian Balbuena and Ajibola Alese before then seeing an effort deflected away as he attacked the near post following a ball into the box from Freddie Sears.
West Ham were moving the ball well though and, following a mistake by Janoi Donacien, worked the ball from left to right and freed Andriy Yarmolenko inside the areas, only for captain Chambers to come across and win the ball with a well-timed tackle as the skipper went to ground.
Ipswich looked to play at every opportunity, with much of it going through Dozzell, but Ipswich’s next chance came through the combination of Downes and Gwion Edwards, with the Welshman freeing Aaron Drinan to drag a shot along the floor and into Randolph’s arms.
Bishop was the next to test the Hammers defence as he waltzed into the penalty area and opted for a low cross which was easily cleared, rather than shooting, before West Ham really should have taken the lead.
It was French striker Haller who was guilty of missing what should have been an easy finish from a player who cost the Hammers £45m, but Holy anticipated the forward’s shot and seemingly went to ground before he got a shot away, with Town’s Czech keeper holding onto the ball well.
Town were moving the ball well and creating openings yet leaving themselves open at times at the back, though it was the hosts who had the next effort as Downes took aim from 25 yards and stung the palms of a flying Randolph.
The chances kept coming, this time for West Ham as Haller was clipped through from deep but fluffed his lines again, with a tame shot well-saved by Holy.
The French striker did finally find the net just prior to half-time, though, with the Ipswich defence furious it was allowed to stand after Diangana’s cross appeared to go out of play as he battled with Donacien. It was deemed to still be in play, though, and the youngster’s cross was nodded in by Haller to give the visitors the lead at the break.
The first half ended with Idris El Mizouni replacing Edwards, who appeared to have picked up a knock, before the second started with a thumping Toto Nsiala tackle which won the ball and left Dozzell and Alese shaking off knocks. Alese would only last another eight minutes.
Sears and Stephen Ward combined in the final third without being able to fashion an opening before Holy seemingly got the slightest of touches as his shoulder sent an Andriy Yarmolenko shot onto the post.
The Town goal was soon breached again as the Hammers and Haller found a second after Diangana was given space on the right to cross into the six-yard box to supply a cross for his striker to smash home, before Town netted their first of the afternoon.
It originated from Donacien, who clipped a nice ball into El Mizouni’s feet, with the Tunisian laying it off for substitute Emyr Huws to jink past two men and lay the ball off to Sears to fire into the bottom corner.
Two goals in as many minutes were quickly followed by another two, with both going against Town.
Both were down to Ipswich errors, with Holy badly misjudging a Conor Coventry cross which flew over his head for compatriot Tomas Soucek to head home at the far post to make it 3-1, before Chambers suffered a horror moment as, with Town trying to play out from the back, he turned into trouble and easily lost possession, was robbed by Diangana and then saw Haller turn the ball in for his hat-trick.
Further changes followed, with the Ipswich skipper one of those to depart, before the game drifted to a conclusion.
Town have one further pre-season friendly to play, against an as yet unnamed opponent on Saturday.
Ipswich Town: Holy (Cornell 73), Donacien, Chambers (Ndaba 73), Nsiala, Ward (Smith 73); Downes (Huws 59), Dozzell (Nolan 59), Bishop (Judge 59); Sears (Folami 83), Edwards (El Mizouni 39), Drinan
West Ham: Randolph; Coventry, Baluena, Alese (Cardoso 55), Cresswell; Soucek, Wilshere; Yarmolenko, Anderson, Diangana; Haller