Town give a heartening display against Hammers

Ipswich Town 0 West Ham 1

IPSWICH Town gave a promising pre-season display in this friendly against Premier League opposition at Portman Road on Saturday afternoon.

They were enterprising and fluid and would have deserved their draw if they had not conceded a soft 31st minute goal to Carlton Cole.

Luke Hyam caught the eye in midfield while Tamas Priskin was a lively front man in what was an enterprising team effort that will have given fans renewed heart for the coming season.

Mark Kennedy made his home debut for Town with Hyam being rewarded for some excellent pre-season displays with a starting place in front of the back four.

Ipswich-born Kieron Dyer was in the Hammers team at kick-off along with another Suffolk-raised player Matthew Upson, who like Robert Green was in the England World Cup squad in South Africa this summer.

In the 15th minute, Norris and Priskin combined to release the latter on a run at goal. The Hungarian perhaps took the ball a tad too far, and Green blocked the shot – the ball ballooning on to the roof of the net. From Kennedy’s resultant inswinging corner, McAuley had a free header, but sent his seven yard effort a yard to high.

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Ipswich were giving a good account of themselves with Priskin heading an Edwards cross wide in the 25th minute. With Upson having gone off, Dyer was now playing right back for the visitors.

West Ham took the lead in the 31st minute when a hopeful cross from the right saw Boa-Morte climb above Peters to head goalwards from close in. Murphy was able to push the ball up in the air with Cole on hand to bundle it into the net with Ipswich unable to clear.

It was an untidy goal to concede, and going behind put the Blues on the back foot with Hitzlsperger dragging his shot wide from a great position after a 37th minute pull-back by substitute Noble.

Town should have equalised in the 48th minute when McAuley back-headed an Edwards long throw and Walters had only Green to beat from right in front of goal. He stooped forward to head at goal with Green making an instinctive block, and then just beating Norris as the ball ran loose on the edge of the six-yard box.

A sweet Town move – and they were now playing well again – in the 56th minute involving Norris and Priskin led to Norris having a 20 yard shooting opportunity. His effort cannoned off a defender for a corner that came to nothing.

Gabbidon shot just wide in the 68th minute after the Hammers had started to utilise their substitutes.

Murphy came out bravely to take the ball off Cole’s feet two minutes later with the ball going straight up the other end where Walters got in a header following a cross by Edwards.

In the 75th minute Smith flashed a header just wide from Leadbitter’s free-kick, and two minutes later Leadbitter took aim at another free-kick and missed the bar by a couple of inches.

Town manager Keane sent on his youngsters in the closing stages with Ipswich continuing to have as much of the game as their opponents.

Teams

Ipswich Town: Murphy; Peters (sub Ainsley 71 mins), McAuley, Smith, Kennedy (O’Connor 71); Hyam; Norris, Leadbitter, Edwards (Lambe 71); Walters, Priskin (Murray 71). Subs: Lee-Barrett, Brown, Hourihane.

West Ham: Green; Tomkins (Stanislas 71), Dacosta (Gabbidon 61), Upson (Noble 22), Ilunga (Daprela 71); Faubert (Spector 71), Parker (Kovac 71), Dyer (Piquionne 61), Hitzlsperger (Barrera 71), Boa-Morte (Diamanti 61); Cole. Sub: Kurucz,

Referee: Mr F Graham (Essex)

Attendance: 10,564

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