Reminder from Pablo
Ipswich Town Reserves 1 West Ham Reserves 1PABLO Counago gave a little reminder of what he is capable of with a stunning goal in front of watching Blues boss Joe Royle.
By Derek Davis
Ipswich Town Reserves 1 West Ham Reserves 1
PABLO Counago gave a little reminder of what he is capable of with a stunning goal in front of watching Blues boss Joe Royle.
He may also have impressed a gaggle of scouts and Hammers boss Alan Pardew for the first hour when the out-of-favour striker looked hungry and sharp before fading.
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With the transfer deadline set for Thursday, there is little time for him to find a new club, even on loan, and if he does not then he will have to settle for a place on the first-team bench until his contract expires in the summer.
Ipswich were looking to double West Ham, who they beat in November, with Counago scoring then as well.
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They looked as if they were going to do that after an impressive first half but the Hammers, who have not won in eight now, with their last victory coming over Norwich in December, stepped up a gear in the second half.
Counago's 30th-minute opener was an exquisite finish with a clever turn and shot from the edge of the area that arrowed into a corner of the net, beating the impressive Jimmy Walker.
The Hammers keeper made good saves to deny Town, starting in just the third minute.
Skipper Scott Michell had delivered an excellent cross for James Scowcroft to head down into Owen Garvan's path and his shot was blocked. Walker tipped the follow-up against the crossbar and, although Dean McDonald finished from close range, he was ruled offside.
Walker also tipped a Scowcroft drive over the bar after a neat ball from Counago set the on-loan Leicester striker through. Scowcroft also also headed wide from another McDonald cross.
The busy keeper was alert to a good through ball from McDonald, with Counago closing fast, and the former Celta Vigo man drove a 22-yard shot at him after intercepting a poor Jemel Henry pass.
McDonald hit an 18-yard shot wide after the Spaniard had put him in and Ipswich were well worth their half-time lead.
Jimmy Juan looked composed in midfield, ably assisted by Liam Manning, and the Blues showed slick passing a,nd movement.
The Hammers played with more purpose in the second half and equalised in the 64th minute through Hogan Ephraim, who needed three goes before finally getting the ball past an agile Shane Supple.
Young Irish international Garvan shone and might have got on the scoresheet three times in the second half but his first attempt from a James Krause cross flew over the bar, his second was blocked by the keeper and he could not quite reach a cross-come-shot from Liam Craig
Irishman Gerard Nash made a successful return from a lengthy absence in which he has suffered a horrendous list of injuries.
Krause was operating as right-back in the absence of Scott Barron, who needs a second operation to correct a groin problem and will miss the remainder of the season.
The Blues reserves stay bottom and now entertain Derby at Portman Road on Saturday with a 1pm kick-off.
Ipswich Town: Supple, Mitchell, Krause, Juan (Craig, 76) Collins, Nash, McDonald (Knights, 84) Manning, Counago, Scowcroft and Garvan. Subs not used: Moore, Lordan and Clarke.
West Ham: Walker, McClenahan, Brevett, Laws, Henry, Stokes, Allen (Cowley, 64), Mullins, Pearson, Ephraim (Andrews, 84) and Bunce.
Subs not used: Kuciak, Welsh, White and Davidson.
Referee: M Harris.