Millwall 3 Ipswich Town 4 match report: Spence has last say in seven-goal thriller!
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Jordan Spence scored a dramatic late winner as Ipswich Town edged a seven-goal thriller at Millwall this evening.
Two goals inside the opening four minutes set the tone for a frenetic, physical encounter – Jed Wallace breaking the deadlock with 45 seconds on the clock only for Joe Garner to equalise.
Martyn Waghorn scored twice on his full debut with fox-in-the-box finishes either side of Aiden O’Brien’s goal to send the Blues into the break 3-2 ahead.
Substitute Tom Elliott got the Lions level with a scrambled 80th minute finish, but Ipswich had the final say as Spence headed home the excellent Grant Ward’s free-kick delivery.
Along with Wolves and Cardiff, Town are one of only three Championship teams to have maximum points on the board. This is the first time since the promotion campaign of 1999/00 they have won their opening four matches of a season.
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The tone was set for a breathless half of end-to-end action when Millwall scored with just 45 seconds on the clock. Town didn’t deal with a cross from the left and Wallace forced the ball home from 12 yards out.
Ipswich quickly drew level after a driving run from Dominic Iorfa allowed Garner to let fly from 25 yards. Whether his shot took a deflection or just swerved in the air is unclear, but wrong-footed keeper Jordan Archer should have done better.
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Ex-Norwich City striker Steve Morison was bullying the Blues backline as the Lions posed the greater attacking threat. O’Brien had a shot blocked by Spence, then Shaun Hutchinson headed over from Shaun Williams’ free-kick delivery.
Marauding left-back James Mereditch burst into the Town box with the aid of a sharp one-two just after the half hour mark, but was booked for diving after going down over the leg of Cole Skuse.
Town’s next goal therefore came against the run of play in the 34th minute. After Garner worked the ball left, Ward twisted and turned before providing a sumptuous outside of the boot cross. Waghorn bust a gut to get across the goal and convert expertly on the run at the bear post.
Ipswich’s lead lasted less than two minutes. Town again didn’t deal with an aerial ball, Morison’s shot was pushed away by Bartosz Bialkowski and, after George Saville’s thumping angled shot came down off the underside of the bar, O’Brien forced the ball home. Spence could maybe have down more than slicing the ball up into the roof of the net on the goalline.
It was Town who were to have the last say in the opening period though, regaining the lead deep into stoppage-time. David McGoldrick had barely been in the game, but it was his pressing and subsequent fancy footwork which led to Waghorn again arriving in the right place at the right time to convert emphatically from close-range.
Morison saw a curling effort tipped around the post by Bialkowski soon after the restart as the intensity of the game remained high.
Millwall then forced a series of corners, many of which were cleared by Garner’s head, one ending with O’Brien putting a close-range overhead kick into the side-netting.
The Lions went close in the 68th minute when Saville’s low effort from the edge of the box wrong-footed Bialkowski. The Town keeper was able to take the sting off the effort with his legs before dropping on the ball as it span towards the line.
Home boss Neil Harris made three substitutions and one of them, Elliott, was the man who scrambled home after a deep free-kick delivery was not dealt with.
You always sensed there was one more goal in the game and it was Town who got it in the 88th minute. The dynamic Ward won a free-kick on the left and then delivered a fine set-piece. Spence rose highest in a crowded box to send the travelling supporters delirious.
MILLWALL (4-4-2): Archer; McLaughlin, Webster, Hutchinson, Meredith (Ferguson 74); Wallace, Williams, Saville, O’Brien (Onyedinma 75); Morison (cpt) (Elliott 75), Gregory.
Unused subs: King, Craig, Thompson, Cooper.
IPSWICH TOWN (4-2-3-1): Bialkowski; Iorfa, Spence, Chambers (cpt), Knudsen; Ward, Skuse; Waghorn (Rowe 75), McGoldrick, Sears; Garner.
Unused subs: Crowe, Woolfenden, Kenlock, McDonnell, Nydam, Morris.
Referee: James Linington.