Lincoln City 0-1 Ipswich Town: Bonne does the business as Blues earn first win
- Credit: Steve Waller - www.stephenwaller.com
Ipswich Town’s got their season up and running as Macauley Bonne’s header secured a first win of the season at Lincoln.
The Ipswich-born striker thumped home his fifth goal of the season from an excellent Hayden Coulson cross on the half-hour, as Paul Cook’s men took three League One points at the seventh attempt.
Bonne’s goal came following a period of good Ipswich pressure but, to secure the win, the Blues needed to soak up plenty of their own as the Imps pushed for a leveller.
There were nervy moments but ultimately Cook’s men were able to hold on to take the win, on an afternoon where new signing Bersant Celina played 65 minutes as he made his second debut for the club.
The Kosovo international showed flashes of the ability all who witnessed his 2017/18 loan spell know he has, without being able to overly impact the game in the final third.
As it happened, the key Ipswich displays came at the defensive end, where George Edmundson and Cameron Burgess put in excellent displays packed with blocks and headed battles.
Victory moves Ipswich up to 19th in the third-tier table, heading into next weekend’s home clash with Sheffield Wednesday.
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Cook made five changes to the side which lost 5-2 to Bolton last weekend, with the headline undoubtedly being the inclusion of Celina from the start.
The Kosovo international began as Town’s No.10, between Wes Burns and Scott Fraser and behind striker Macaule Bonne.
Tom Carroll came in for Rekeem Harper, alongside, Lee Evans, with Janoi Donacien replacing Kane Vincent-Young in a defence also including George Edmunds, Cameron Burgess and Hayden Coulson. Vaclav Hladky replaced Christian Walton in goal.
With both sets of fans in good voice early on, the Blues were tested down the flanks before having their first real opening of the game, which saw a superb Fraser pass angled into danger and just evading the out-stretched foot of Bonne as the striker threw himself at the ball.
Celina’s early involvement saw the attacker play quick, first-time passes to try and bring others into play, without having possession in particularly dangerous areas. Lincoln, though, were able to have some joy down the Ipswich flanks, with Burgess needing to throw himself in front of a Chris Maguire shot to block inside the box, before Anthony Scully fired over the top of the bar from range.
Burgess was at it again, stopping Scully’s run into the box before so nearly putting the Blues ahead as he turned against the bar from close range following a scrambled in the box.
Town didn’t need to wait long, though, before Bonne connected with a superb Coulson cross as he beat TJ Eyoma and thumped a header into the back of the Lincoln net to give the Blues the lead.
Town tails were up, with a superb Celina pass giving Burns the chance to shoot over the top, before Lewis Fiorini served a reminder of Lincoln’s threat with a shot which flew wide of Hladky’s post but hit the back of the net after rebounding off the advertising boards, fooling half of the home crowd into thinking it was in.
Scully hit the deck under pressure from Donacien, with referee Benjamin Speedie waving play on but facing an interrogation from Imps boss Michael Appleton as the sides left the field just a few minutes later.
Town had survived until the break but saw the ball hit their own net just a couple of minutes after it, only to be saved by the offside flag as Regan Poole connected with Lewis Fiorini’s cross.
There was a blow on 51 minutes when Coulson limped out of the game with what appeared to be a groin injury, suffered while making a clearance, with Luke Woolfenden taking his place as Burgess switched to left back.
Town took a few minutes to find their feet, with Lincoln getting on top and Hladky needing to get down well to hold a Fiorini drive. Edmundson then threw himself in front of a shot from the young midfielder as the Imps began to build pressure.
Harper replaced Celina with 25 minutes remaining as Cook looked to tighten things up in the wake of Lincoln pressure, with the Blues threatened regularly down the right flank but continuing to show teeth of their own, as Fraser saw a shot saved by Josh Griffiths at the end of an excellent team move.
Teddy Bishop, quiet against his boyhood club, was replaced to a few boos from the away end with a little over 10 minutes remaining, before Imps sub Hakeem Adelakun sent in a shot which Hladky did well to hold.
And that was as good as it got for the hosts, as Town left Sincil Bank with three welcome points.
Lincoln City: Griffiths; Poole Eyoma, Montsma, Bramall; Bridcutt (Nlundulu 81), Fiorini, Bishop (Sorensen 78); Scully, Maguire (Adelakun, 35), Hopper
Subs: Long, Sanders, Longdon, Robson
Ipswich Town: Hladky; Donacien, Edmundson, Burgess. Coulson (Woolfenden, 51); Evans, Carroll; Burns, Celina (Harper, 65), Fraser (Aluko, 81); Bonne
Subs: Holy, Aluko, Chaplin, Pigott, Norwood
Attendance: 9,874 (1,710 Ipswich fans)