Report: Blues beaten by new leaders Leeds as pressure increases on boss Hurst
- Credit: Pagepix Ltd
Ipswich Town were beaten 2-0 by new Championship leaders Leeds United this evening as the pressure increased on Blues boss Paul Hurst.
Kemar Roofe and Liam Cooper scored the goals for Marcelo Bielsa’s men, ensuring the Blues remain bottom of the second-tier table.
Pablo Hernandez was the tormentor in chief, threatening whenever he got the ball and displaying the incisive quality so lacking in the Blues’ play.
To their credit the Blues had some good spells in the game but, as has so often been the story, they came out second best in both penalty areas as they failed to threaten the United goal anywhere near enough.
Next up is Saturday’s trip to Millwall, looking more and more vital as the Blues sink further into a real relegation battle.
There were again surprises on the team-sheet as Hurst made seven changes to his side, with the headline move being the return of Bartosz Bialkowski in place of Dean Gerken.
Jordan Spence, Tayo Edun and Flynn Downes all came in for rare starts, while Jonas Knudsen, Kayden Jackson and Jon Nolan were all restored to the side.
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The Blues started well enough, having decent spells of possession and looking to free strikers Jackson and Freddie Sears, while displaying more energy than in Saturday’s clash with QPR, but their only real effort on goal coming when Matthew Pennington could only head Edun’s free-kick straight at Bailey Peacock-Farrell.
Leeds began to find their feet in the game, with their array of attacking talent connecting in the final third and asking the Ipswich backline questions.
Bialkowski remained relatively untested, though, before the hosts did ultimately find a way through.
Ipswich were caught upfield as Knudsen and Edun looked to combine in attack, with Leeds breaking and finding Pablo Hernandez wide who crossed to find Roofe who had stolen between the two Town centre halves to head home.
That’s how it stayed until the break, with the hosts again threatening at the start of the second period with a spring in their step. Hernandez was the tormentor in chief who threatened whenever he got the ball, on either flank, as he teased the Ipswich defence and highlighted a class the Blues currently lack.
The Spaniard was at the heart of the hosts’ second goal, too, as his flashed ball into the box was turned behind well by Bialkowski. Hurst’s men didn’t survive the corner, though, as it was taken short to Hernandez who laid it back to captain Liam Cooper to slam home.
Ezgjan Alioski so nearly made it three as a stunning effort rebounded off the angle of post and bar, with Bialkowski beaten, before the Pole was required to save well from Adam Forshaw and Alioski.
The Blues had little reply from there, with Nolan coming closest as his shot was palmed wide by Peacock-Farrell.
The defeat sees the Blues remain bottom of the table, now four points from safety.
Leeds United: Peacock-Farrell, Ayling, Alioski, Cooper, Berardi (Dallas 27), Phillips, Klich, Harrison (Pearce 58), Hernandez, Saiz (Forshaw 57), Roofe
Subs: Blackman, Pearce, Forshaw, Clarke, Baker, Dallas, Roberts
Ipswich Town: Bialkowski; Spence, Pennington, Chambers, Knudsen; Nolan, Skuse (Chalobah 84), Downes; Edun (Ward 62), Sears (Edwards 76), Jackson
Subs: Gerken, Donacien, Dozzell, Lankester