MATCH REPORT: Set-pieces once again Ipswich Town’s undoing in friendly defeat at non-league Luton Town

IPSWICH Town were defeated 2-0 by non-league hosts Luton Town in this afternoon’s pre-season friendly.

Just like last season, set-pieces were once again the Blues’ downfall as towering Hungarian centre-back Janos Kovac was left unmarked to head home from a corner and a deep-free-kick respectively.

The Blue Square Premier side could and should have been in front after 11 minutes when striker Andy Gray air-kicked in the six-yard box.

Town – whose side was a mix of first-team and fringe players – were nowhere near as fluid as they were at Cambridge United on Wednesday night, though they could have broken the deadlock in the 35th minute when Michael Chopra glanced a deep Jimmy Bullard free-kick onto the post.

Luton broke the deadlock in the 37th minute when Kovac’s header looped over far post guardian Andy Drury and into the top corner.

And they kept that advantage come the half-time whistle thanks to some excellent goalkeeping from Mark Tyler, the custodian keeping out a Bullard long-ranger and then getting up quickly to block striker Ryan Stevenson’s follow-up.

Blues boss Paul Jewell made six changes at half-time and there was a slight improvement in performance after the restart.

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Luke Hyam saw a sweet volley clawed out of the top corner, while the home keeper also kept a low Jay Emmanuel-Thomas effort out at the near post.

Aaron Cresswell cleared a Kovac header off the line in the 69th minute – the big man again finding space at a set-piece – but the Blues failed to learn their lesson as he was once again left unmarked in the 89th minute, the defender time heading home from close-range.

– Reaction to follow.

LUTON TOWN (4-1-2-1-2): Tyler; Taylor, Henry (cpt) (Beckwith 71), Kovacs, Rowe-Turner (Watkins 56); Kasim; Lawless, Howells (Robinson 77); Rendell (O’Donnell 46); Gray (Walker 68), Fleetwood (Woolley 68).

Unused: Brill.

IPSWICH TOWN (4-1-2-1-2): Loach (Lee-Barrett 46); Ainsley (Edwards 46), Chambers, Delaney, Whight (Cresswell 46); Luongo; Kourouma (Hyam 46), Drury; Bullard (Emmanuel-Thomas 46); Chopra (Scotland 46), Stevenson (Ellington 70).

Attendance: 2,440 (273 away)