Shocking end to miserable Town season
Ipswich Town 0 Sheffield United 3
A THOROUGHLY miserable season came an end for Ipswich Town at Portman Road on Sunday afternoon with a three-goal Championship hammering and a sending off for debut-making Tom Eastman.
Eastman was shown red after receiving his second yellow card after 58 minutes by which time the Blues were already two goals down.
The impressive Mark Yeates (34 minutes), Ged Evans (56) and Richard Cresswell (62) gave the Blades a deserved win despite Town beating them for shots on target.
Troy Brown came on as a substitute to make his debut while Billy Clark made his third appearance from the bench.
Manager Roy Keane says that he has much work to do during the summer to strengthen his squad into a successful one – and on this evidence his bottom-half side needs a great deal of improvement.
Town made two changes from the side that drew 2-2 at champions Newcastle in their previous game with D Wright and the injured D Murphy dropping out and Eastman coming in alongside McAuley at the back, and Garvan filling a midfield role and Wickham up front on his own again.
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With Clacton-based Eastman’s introduction, Smith moved to left back – a position he has played previously for Town.
There was no place in the final party of 18 for D and R Wright and Rosenior, who have all been told they will not be at Portman Road next season.
Town had a young bench in Brown, Clark and Hyam, while the visitors had a youngster Lowton on the right of midfield.
A helicopter hovered overhead just prior to kick-off not Town owner Marcus Evans arriving, but from the Army with the match dedicated to the Help for Heroes campaign.
Little happened on the pitch with typical end-of-season action and the biggest cheer from United fans upon Crystal Palace scoring in the relegation battle against Sheffield Wednesday.
This was until the 25th minute when Peters’ dangerous cross was hooked for a corner by Morgan ahead of Wickham right in front of goal.
Two minutes later, Wickham won possession on the half-way line and Leadbitter fed Walters whose accurate cross from the right was headed flush against the post by Garvan from eight yards. Morgan had to be careful not to touch the rebound over the line.
In the 34th minute the visitors went ahead following a powerful 16-yard shot from Yeates after the former Colchester player cut inside from the left to evade Norris’ tackle and beat Murphy at his near post.
Garvan’s free-kick three minutes later was played back by Walters to Colback, and the loanee should have done better with a free shot than loop an effort over the bar.
It was mainly the Blades as the game went into the second period on a bitterly cold early May afternoon.
Eastman deflected a shot goalwards that was held by Murphy, and in the 53rd minute, Yeates burst in from the left with Murphy saving at the near post with his boot.
Three minutes later Walters played the ball forward towards the six-yard box, and Wickham managed to get in a shot that struck Kenny with the keeper knowing little about it.
The ball went straight up the other end and Yeates got free down the right with McAuley caught upfield. Yeates’ low cross saw Evans get ahead of Smith to shoot unattended high into the net from 12 yards.
After 58 minutes Eastman’s debut turned into a nightmare when he got in a muddle with O’Connor and brought Lowton down as the winger went to go past. Referee D’Urso showed a second yellow card as Eastman had been booked in the first half for tugging at Nosworthy’s shirt.
Eastman looked a bit like a lost schoolboy as he meandered off as skipper Walters argued Eastman’s case.
In the 62nd minute the pain got worse for Ipswich. Yeates beat two players as he raced in from the left – with Murphy making a magnificent save from his shot. The ball bounced loose and Cresswell headed it over the line.
Brown had an 85th minute far post header pawed away by Kenny.
Ipswich Town: B Murphy; Peters, McAuley, Eastman, T Smith (sub O’Connor 56 mins), Walters, Norris (Clark 56), Leadbitter, Garvan, Colback (Brown 61); Wickham. Substitutes: Lee-Barrett, Martin, Edwards, Hyam.
Sheffield United: Kenny; Nosworthy (Little 84), Bartley, Morgan, Naysmith; Lowton, Montgomery, Harper, Yeates; Cresswell, Evans. Substitutes: Aksalu, Seip, Geary, Fortune, Foster, James.
Referee: Mr A D’Urso (Essex)