MATCH REPORT & GALLERY: Colchester United 0 Ipswich Town 3

Frank Nouble scores the opener at Colchester

Frank Nouble scores the opener at Colchester - Credit: Su Anderson

A quickfire second half double from Frank Nouble, as well as fine strike from Jack Marriott, sealed Ipswich Town a 3-0 pre-season win at Colchester United on Wednesday.

The League One hosts had the better of a goalless first period, but Town took control upon resumption as Nouble slammed home from close-range (54) before heading in at the back post moments later (56).

There was another breathtaking reaction stop from new Blues keeper Bartosz Bialkowski when he kept out U’s triallist Darren Ambrose’s drive before young striker Jack Marriott stepped off the bench to find the bottom corner with a fine low shot from 20 yards out.

There were positives and negatives for Ipswich Town to take from the goalless first half.

Ex U’s midfielder Anthony Wordsworth – whose every touch was booed by the home supporters – showed early on that he is keen to prove to manager Mick McCarthy that he is ready to do the nitty-gritty, racing back and conceding a free-kick on the edge of his own box.

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Tyrone Mings – another looking to impress with the left-back slot seemingly up for grabs – was guilty of overplaying in a dangerous position, the loss of possession leading to nothing.

Joe Dunne’s youthful hosts popped the ball about nicely at times and it was them who created the first real opening of the game, striker Dan Holman – recently recruited from Essex non-league side Braintree Town – firing a long-range effort just past the left-hand post.

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Ipswich’s first chance arrived following a rapid counter-attack from a well-defended corner. Nouble’s cross to the back post was a good one, but the lively Paul Anderson put his close-range diving header into the side-netting.

Town lacked tempo and invention at times, but the wing play of Anderson and Alex Henshall was a big plus. The latter, signed from Manchester City this summer, was named the sponsors’ man-of-the-match in last week’s 0-0 home draw with West Ham and again he caught the eye with his lightening pace, quick feet and constant desire to get at his marker.

On the left wing for Colchester was former Ipswich midfielder Darren Ambrose, the 30-year-old on trial with the Essex club having been released by Birmingham this summer.

The former Newcastle, Charlton and Crystal Palace man – who finished last season on loan at Greek club Apollon Smyrni – looked a little ring-rusty in the early stages, but he did produce a few raking cross-field passes, while one low cross caused havoc in the box.

As the half neared an end the visiting fans saw the best and worst of front man Nouble. First, McCarthy was left holding his head in his hands after one particularly poor piece of control. Moments later, the powerful striker killed the ball dead and turned his marker with a fine bit of skill to the delight of the crowd.

McCarthy had named a completely different team in each half of the first two pre-season games of the summer, but this time he made just one change at the break – swapping keeper Dean Gerken for new boy Bartosz Bialkowski.

Having created little in the opening period, Town scored twice in as many minutes – 54 and 56 – with Nouble the man to get them both.

The opener came after Murphy had done superbly to keep Mings’ deep cross in play, Nouble controlling the loose ball well with his right foot before rifling home from 10 yards with his left foot.

Moments later, Anderson raced to the by-line and floated a fine cross to the back post for the arriving Nouble to emphatically head home high into the net.

McCarthy put on 6ft 5in Hungarian trial striker Balint Bajner soon afterwards and he was immediately involved as Nouble came within inches of a quickfire hat-trick, side-footing just wide after a good run and cross by the substitute.

It wasn’t all one-way traffic as the U’s threatened to find a foothold back in the game. First, sub Macauley Bonne drove an angled shot across the face of goal. Then, Bialkowski – just as he did against West Ham last week – pulled off a breathtaking reaction save, somehow tipping Ambrose’s close-range drive over the bar one-handed.

Both managers made several changes in the latter stages and it was one of those – Marriott – who grabbed the third and final goal, his superb low, crisp strike finding the bottom corner from 20 yards out.

Marriott had the ball in the net again towards the end, but the offside flag was up when he tapped home on the goalline after Christophe Berra’s header had hit the inside of the post.

IPSWICH TOWN (4-4-2): Gerken (Bialkowski 46); Hewitt (Veseli 70), Chambers (Smith 70), Berra, Mings (Parr 66); Anderson (Taylor 66), Wordsworth (Tabb 70), Hyam (Skuse 66), Henshall (Stewart 70); Nouble (Marriott 70), Murphy (Bajner 59).

COLCHESTER UNITED (4-2-3-1): Lewington (Walker 70); Clohessy (Wright 70), Eastman (Thompson 70), Kent (Okuonghae 70), Gordon (O’Donoghue 70); Eastmond (Szmodics 70), Gilbey (Moncur 46); Vose (Sembi-Ferris 70), Holman (Bonne 70), Ambrose (Wright 66); Sears (Massey 70).

Attendance: 3,519 (1,566 away)

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