Town sink to miserable Forest defeat
NOTTINGHAM Forest scored their first goals in eight games as Ipswich were booed off following a nightmare start to 2012.
The defensive problems and grim home form that had blighted the last 12 months for Town show no signs of being solved after today’s 3-1 defeat at Portman Road.
Marcus Tudgay scored for previously shot-shy Forest after just four minutes before Gareth McCleary doubled their advantage on 25.
The home side threatened to set up a grandstand finish with 15 minutes left when Grant Leadbitter’s penalty struck both posts and went in after great trickery by Jay Emmanuel-Thomas won the spot kick.
But the comeback lasted just three minutes when Tudgay beat Damien Delaney to Andy Reid’s cross and found the far corner with a neat header.
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Ivar Ingimarsson endured a shocking start to the match after dithering to allow Tudgay to fire over, before again getting caught cold as Andy Reid played in the Forest striker who finished well from an acute angle to open the scoring.
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Shell-shocked by the early blow against shot-shy opponents, Town looked to hit back and Daryl Murphy fired just wide on nine minutes.
And they should have grabbed an equaliser before the midway mark when Jay Emmanuel-Thomas could only head at Lee Camp from close range.
Arran Lee-Barrett saved at the second attempt from George Boateng before Forest grabbed a second - and it was one Damien Delaney not want to see again.
The Irishman was beaten too easily by McCleary and his 20-yard shot gave Lee-Barrett no chance.
Town probably carved out the better of the chances in the opening 45 minutes with Delaney firing over and Murphy heading straight at Camp.
And they were within a whisker of grabbing a goal back when Emmanuel-Thomas struck the underside of the crossbar from 20 yards.
Lee Bowyer hobbled off with a groin injury, allowing Michael Chopra to come on and Town to revert to a traditional 4-4-2 formation, but Ipswich will need a momunemtal second half to get anything from the game.
Town needed a great start to the second half to have any chance of repeating their heroics at Barnsley a few weeks earlier.
But it was Forest who looked like they wanted to put the points to bed – nearly scoring on several occasions immeaditely after the restart.
Tudgay met Reid’s near post corner but his shot was parried out by Arran Lee-Barrett and Delaney hacked the ball clear.
It was only a reprieve as the home goal came under attack again, Reid seeing a shot cleared off the line by Carlos Edwards and Ivar Ingimarsson blocking the ever-dangerous Tudgay.
Slowly Town hit back, but they lacked creativity in the final third, too often unable to find a way past the stubborn Forest defence.
When they did, through Lee Martin’s teasing cross, neither Murphy, Emmanuel-Thomas nor Chopra could apply the finishing touch.
Forest were happy to sit back and soak up the pressure and Chopra was within a whisker of getting a touch to Emmanuel-Thomas’ low cross before Nathan Ellington headed a corner just wide.
In the 75th minute, the home side had a lifeline when Emmanuel-Thomas skipped past Jonathan Greening but was brought down by a combination of George Boateng and Greg Cunningham.
Leadbitter scored, just, but any hopes of another remarkable comeback was ended by Tudgay’s decisive header.
PAUL Jewell has sprung a surprise by naming Andy Drury – and dropping Michael Chopra – from his side to face Nottingham Forest this afternoon.
Ivar Ingimarsson comes in for suspended Ibrahima Sonko while Jimmy Bullard doesn’t even make the bench.
It seems likely Drury, who didn’t lose any of his 15 games while spending three months on loan at League Two Crawley Town, will play on the right hand side of midfield – his first league start for Town this season.
Daryl Murphy will start upfront alongside Jay Emnmanuel-Thomas with Jason Scotland still sidelined.
As expected, Guy Moussi will start at centre back in place of suspended Joel Lynch for Nottingham Forest while Robbie Findley is out with a shoulder problem.
Forest are expected to start with just one upfront, Marcus Tudgay, while Andy Reid and George Boateng both come in.
Ipswich: Lee-Barrett; Edwards, Ingimarsson, Delaney, Cresswell; Drury, Bowyer, Leadbitter, Martin; Murphy, Emmanuel-Thomas. Subs – Wright, Ainsley, Carson, Chopra, Ellington.
Forest: Camp; Gunter, Moussi, Chambers(C), Cunningham; Greening, Boateng; McCleary, McGugan, Reid; Tudgay
Subs: Smith, Majewski, Meadows, Derbyshire, Bamford.