Peterborough United 2-1 Ipswich Town: Blues fall short against promotion contender yet again
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Ipswich Town’s miserable run against League One promotion contenders continued as they went down 2-1 to Peterborough.
Things started so well as James Norwood’s excellent finish put the Blues ahead after just six minutes but the visitors came back, with Jonson Clarke-Harris heading the equaliser before Joe Ward fired a free-kick past Tomas Holy to put his side in front.
It was a lead they never relinquished as Town once again fell short when it really matters, struggling to carry a meaningful goal threat in the second half and ultimately fell to defeat.
The loss means Paul Lambert’s side have lost all nine games they have played against the top seven sides in League One this season and leaves them back in 11th place, four points from the play-offs with two games in hand on sixth-placed Charlton.
Despite Saturday’s impressive 2-0 victory over Blackpool, manager Paul Lambert made four changes to his side for a game played in difficult conditions on a London Road surface beset by problems in recent weeks.
Veteran full-backs Luke Chambers and Stephen Ward came into the side in place of Luke Matheson and Myles Kenlock, whole Teddy Bishop returned from suspension in the middle of midfield for Luke Thomas.
Freddie Sears also dropped out, allowing James Norwood to come into the side and partner Troy Parrott in a two-man attack ahead of a diamond midfield.
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Town were direct early on, hitting Norwood quickly in possession, with that tactic paying dividends after just six minutes when a long ball forwards saw Mark Beevers make a meal of his header, allowing Bishop to lob the ball through for Norwood who thumped past Christy Pym from a tight angle.
The Blues were sticking by their guns, getting the ball forward quickly and often and often bypassing a midfield battle which saw Flynn Downes booked for a thundering tackle on Dan Butler on 15 minutes. The challenge incensed the Peterborough side, who surrounding the referee, but the Ipswich man got the ball.
The first quarter of the game could not have gone better for the Blues but there was a scare on 22 minutes as a long ball wasn’t dealt with convincingly by Tomas Holy and Mark McGuinness, as it squirmed away from the two of them and looked as though Mo Eisa was going to slot into an open goal, before the Town keeper scrabbled back and kept the Posh forward’s effort out.
Holy was called upon again a few minutes later, grabbing Eisa’s shot before flapping under a corner which he did well to recover from and punch behind at the second attempt.
Eisa was the next to try his luck as the hosts continued to feel their way into the game, firing over the top from outside the box, before the home side soon found their equaliser.
Chambers pushed forward to win a challenge midway inside the Town half, leaving space down the right flank for Butler to send a deep ball into the box, allowing Clarke-Harris to rise above Ward and nod back into Holy’s far corner.
The scores were level at the break, with Posh the better side by the end of the opening period, with the Blues suffering a blow at the break as Norwood was forced off and replaced at the break by Gwion Edwards.
Things soon got worse, though, when Ward took aim with a free-kick from a little under 25 yards and beat the Town wall to leave Holy stumbling towards his post as it hit the back of the net.
The Town keeper’s erratic night continued as he left his line far too late to try and beat Eisa to a through-ball, with the Posh striker tapping it past the Czech before Downes got him out of trouble.
Josh Harrop replaced Alan Judge just past the hour mark before Ward survived penalty appeals for handball as he threw himself in front of a Sammie Szmodics shot from point blank range, with the former Colchester man then forcing a save from Holy a few minutes later.
Lambert’s next move saw Freddie Sears introduced for Teddy Bishop, but the former West Ham man’s introduction didn’t change the picture for the Blues as they ultimately went down to defeat once again.
The closest they came saw Parrott's shot blocked off the line before Harrop's follow-up effort was saved by Christy Pym.
Next up is a trip to Shrewsbury Town on Saturday.
Peterborough United: Pym, Kent, Thompson, Beevers; Brown (Hamilton, 73), Ward (Kanu, 73), Taylor, Butler; Eisa (Jones, 73), Szmodics, Clarke-Harris
Subs: Gyollai, Burrows, Tracy, Mason
Ipswich Town: Holy, Chambers, McGuinness, Woolfenden, Ward; Downes, Dozzell, Bishop (Sears, 79)_, Judge; Parrott, Norwood (Edwards, 46)
Subs: Cornell, Kenlock, Matheson, Drinan