Report: Ipswich Town 0 Huddersfield Town 1 – Blues fail to score again as they drop to 16th
- Credit: Picture: Steve Waller
Ipswich Town once again drew a blank as they lost 1-0 to Championship table-toppers Huddersfield at Portman Road this afternoon.
Centre-back Chris Schindler headed home from a 58th minute corner to settle another uninspiring spectacle on Suffolk soil as the Terriers recorded their first win here in 20 years and Town dropped to 16th in the table.
Mick McCarthy’s men have now failed to score in their last four matches. They’ve scored just three goals from open play in more than 1,000 minutes of action across all competitions. They’ve failed to score a first half goal in 29 of their 36 games this calender year.
Tom Lawrence went close with a curling free-kick, while Grant Ward lobbed a decent opening just wide. That was the closest Ipswich ever came to ending their drought.
Huddersfield weren’t exactly dominant, but they took their chance, struck the post at 0-0 and had far more stand-out performers as Manchester City loanee Aaron Mooy ran the show in midfield. All eight of their league wins have come by a single goal.
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The atmosphere inside the stadium, for the first time, turned a little poisonous as Town fans greeted a late shot with ironic cheers and chanted ‘what a lad of rubbish’ at the final whistle.
Blues boss Mick McCarthy named an unchanged starting XI following Tuesday night’s goalless home draw with Brighton, while Huddersfield manager David Wagner made three alterations to his team after their 2-1 midweek home win over Rotherham.
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Another typically tight and uninspiring first half of football at Portman Road ensued. Town effectively nullified high-flying opposition but there was very little attacking threat going forwards.
Terriers midfielder Jonathan Hogg headed straight at Bartosz Bialkowski from a corner in the opening exchanges. Ipswich then had the better of the play for a spell without ever being able to show cutting edge in the final third.
Lawrence over-hit a cross after a fine piece of skill, while some fine link-up down the right between Grant Ward and Josh Emmanuel led to a corner and subsequent free-kick which Lawrence curled inches wide of the far post.
Town had clearly been working on trying to build from the back more, with players always showing for a short ball from keeper Bialkowski, but it was an approach which looked alien to them, summed up by a moment when Christophe Berra, after twisting and turning in a dangerous area, ended up slipping onto his backside and putting the ball out for a throw-in.
Huddersfield came the closest to breaking the deadlock when, in the 28th minute, a rapid counter-attack and loose clearance by Emmanuel led to Elias Kachunga stroking a side-footed shot against the inside of the post. Bialkowski did well to get up and keep out Nahki Wells’ angled near-post follow-up attempt.
Ipswich continued to huff and puff in attack as lone striker Leon Best did his utmost to hold the ball up. Jonas Knudsen blazed well over after Lawrence’s short free-kick, while Luke Chambers had a near post header at a corner blocked.
Town finally created a decent chance in open play a minute before the break when Best flicked the ball on and Ward beat the offside trap. The former Tottenham man lobbed an angled attempt over keeper Danny Ward but beyond the far post.
Terriers boss Wagner made a bold attacking switch at the break, replacing holding midfielder Dean Whitehead with flying winger Rajiv van La Parra and changing to a 4-4-2 system. Advanced right-back Tommy Smith soon saw an effort inside the box deflected over by Knudsen.
Blues boss McCarthy reacted with a double sub of his own just before the hour mark – Teddy Bishop and Freddie Sears replacing Ward and Bru as the hosts also went 4-4-2.
Huddersfield broke the deadlock a minute later with a well-taken set-piece goal after Chambers’ back-header was poorly controlled by Bialkowski.
German centre-back Schindler produced sharp movement in the box to dart to the near post, lose his marker, and convert Mooy’s corner delivery with a well-directed header across goal.
When Sears’ long-range attempt was held by keeper Danny Ward in the 67th minute there were ironic cheers from the home fans followed by sarcastic chants of ‘we’ve had a shot’.
There was a lengthy stoppage around the 70 minute mark following a clash of heads. There were no instructions from the bench or conversations between Blues players. The mood on and off the pitch had gone very flat.
The game’s next chance didn’t arrive until the 81st minute when, after Best won a brave header in the box, Bishop’s stabbed effort was smothered by keeper Ward. At the other end, Michael Hefele headed a deep Mooy free-kick just over the bar.
The final whistle
IPSWICH TOWN (4-5-1): Bialkowski; Emmanuel, Chambers (cpt), Berra, Knudsen; Ward (Bishop 57), Douglas, Skuse, Bru (Sears 57), Lawrence (Varney 86); Best.
Unused subs: Gerken, Digby, Kenlock, Grant.
Booked: Douglas (52)
HUDDERSFIELD TOWN (4-2-3-1): Ward; Smith, Hudson (cpt), Schindler (Hefele 71), Lowe; Whitehead (La Parra 46), Mooy; Kachunga, Mooy, Scannell (Cranie 87); Wells.
Unused subs: Coleman, Holmes-Dennis, Payne, Palmer.
Booked: Hogg (50)
Attendance: 16,146 (803 away)
Referee: Christopher Kavanagh