Report: Ipswich Town 2 Stevenage Borough 1 – Yorwerth and Tabb goals seal come from behind win in League Cup

Ipswich Town v Stevenage
Capital One Cup First Round.
Jay Tabb scores for Town taking them to a 2-1

Ipswich Town v Stevenage Capital One Cup First Round. Jay Tabb scores for Town taking them to a 2-1 lead. - Credit: Sarah Lucy brown

Jay Tabb netted a second-half winner as Ipswich Town came from behind to beat League Two side Stevenage Borough at Portman Road and seal their place in the second round of the Capital One Cup.

The Blues were flat in the first half and trailed at the interval thanks to Christophe Berra’s unfortunate 34th minute own goal.

The introduction of flying winger Ryan Fraser at half-time lifted Mick McCarthy’s men though and the home side were good value for their victory, debutant centre-back Yorwerth heading home from a corner (55) and Tabb finishing off a fine move (76).

There was one heart in mouth moment when referee Fred Graham awarded the visitors a penalty, only to change his mind after consulting with his assistant, but that would have been harsh on Ipswich given that Boro keeper Chris Day made a string of impressive saves.

It was McCarthy’s first cup win in charge of the club – in any competition – at the sixth attempt. And it ended a miserable run of form for Town in the League Cup, the Suffolk outfit having exited the competition to lower league opponents in nine of the previous 12 seasons and gone out in the first round in six of the previous 10 years.

McCarthy may have made 10 changes to his starting line-up, following the 2-2 draw at Brentford on Saturday, but you could hardly describe it as a weakened team.

Indeed, the only inexperienced players were young defenders Yorwerth and Myles Kenlock, while winger Larsen Toure – a Guinea international signed after a trial – is something of an unknown.

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Town started the match brightly enough and Brett Pitman – one of six full debutants – put a near post volley just wide in the ninth minute following Toure’s cross from the right.

The home side struggled to build any momentum or rhythm though and slowly but surely the League Two visitors, who lost in the play-off semi-finals to Southend last season, worked their way into the game.

Charlie Lee’s goal bound shot deflected off Yorwerth for a corner then, moments later, David McAllister’s crisp shot from the edge of the box flew just past the left post.

Those chances encouraged Boro, manager Teddy Sheringham having made just three changes to his team following their 2-0 home to Notts County at the weekend.

It required another last-gasp block to turn Fraser Franks’ goal bound header around the post, following Tom Pett’s corner delivery, in the 18th minute. Then, midway through the half, McAllister sliced a shot well wide from a golden position after striker Dipo Akinyemi had tied Yorwerth up in knots.

Ipswich finally produced a moment of fluidity in the 29th minute but, after patient build-up, Luke Chambers badly overhit his cross with plenty of time and space.

Giles Coke and Toure were both booked for over-zealous challenges soon afterwards and, although Toure could feel slightly hard done by, it was a sign of the home team’s frustrations.

Stevenage’s breakthrough came in the 34th minute after Coke was left on the deck following a tangle of legs in the left-back position. While he argued that he had been the victim of a trip, Akinyemi raced away and found Parrett with a sideways pass in the area. Parrett drifted past Yorwerth, his angled shot was saved by the legs of Dean Gerken but cannoned straight into the shins of Berra and back into the net for an own goal.

Ipswich responded well and knocked on the door during five minutes of fury.

First, Pitman slid a shot across the face of the goal following David McGoldrick’s sublime touch out of the sky and angled ball into the area from the halfway line.

Then, not long afterwards, left-back Kenlock maurauded forwards, drifted inside and picked out Jay Tabb with a fine pass. The latter’s shot took the slightest of touches off keeper Chris Day to go out for a corner.

Pitman headed a Toure cross into the body of Jamie McCombe just before the half-time whistle but, in truth, it had been a largely underwhelming half.

McCarthy brought on flying winger Fraser – man-of-the-match at Griffin Park last weekend – for Toure at the break, while Stevenage took off two of their better performers – Akinyemi and McAllister.

Fraser’s direct running and trickery immediately lifted the Blues and had them on the front foot, Yorwerth firing over at the second attempt after his initial header from a corner was blocked.

The towering centre-back, signed following his release by Cardiff in the summer, wasn’t to be denied a debut goal though. Again, Fraser was heavily involved in winning the corner, his low cross, following Pitman’s fine drag back, leading to a vital intervention. Fraser then took the set-piece, Yorwerth climbing highest to plant a downward header into the ground and beyond the keeper.

It then required two fine stops in as many minutes from keeper Day to prevent Town taking the lead. First he clawed out Pitman’s header from eight yards out, following yet more trickery and a fine chipped cross by Fraser. Then, he showed smart reactions to keep out McGoldrick’s firm near post header, again following a Fraser corner.

Ipswich continued to push and Fraser, at the heart of seemingly everything, went close himself in the 71st minute after drifting inside from the right touchline and hitting a crisp, low shot just wide of the right-hand post from the edge of the area.

The Blues went closer still three minutes later, Luke Chambers putting a far post header back across goal and just wide following a fine move that started with Kenlock’s driving run, continued with Pitman’s clever back-heel before Fraser’s well-weighted delivery from the left.

It seemed only a question of when, not if, Town would finally smash the door down. The answer was the 76th minute, Tabb guiding the ball into an unguarded net at the end of a sublime move. It started with Fraser’s pass, then came Pitman’s clever ball around the corner from the right touchline and finished with McGoldrick breezing past his marker and unselfishly picking out his unmarked team-mate with a square pass.

Ipswich were in complete control, but there was a major heart in mouth moment in the 82nd minute after referee Fred Graham – who has never been in charge for a Town defeat – awarded a Stevenage penalty only to change his mind.

When Berra lent into Parrett just inside the box, both men hitting the deck, it seemed an innocuous coming together. Linesman Elliott Kaye waved his flag furiously on the near side though and Graham, upon seeing that, pointed to the spot. However, after a lengthy consultation with Elliott, Graham reversed the decision and a drop ball was awarded instead.

Town then finished on top, keeper Day having to make two more smart stops in stoppage-time to prevent the home side adding a third – staying big to keep out McGoldrick’s over-the-shoulder volley, following pitman’s clever chip, and diving to his left to keep out McGoldrick’s close-range header, following Tabb’s dogged run and cross from the left.

The draw for the second round will be made after the conclusion of Thursday night’s match between Doncaster and Leeds.

IPSWICH TOWN (4-4-2): Gerken; Chambers (cpt), Yorwerth, Berra, Kenlock (Smith 78); Toure (Fraser 46), Coke, Douglas, Tabb; Pitman, McGoldrick.

Unused subs: Bialkowski, McDonnell, Benyu, Murphy, Sears.

Booked: Coke (31), Toure (33), Kenlock (47)

STEVENAGE (4-4-1-1): Day; Franks, McCombe, Wells, Okimo; Lee, McAllister (Gorman 46), Schumacher (cpt) (Conlon 78), Pett; Parrett; Akinyemi (Williams 46).

Unused subs: Jackson, Hughes, Casey, Johnson.

Booked: Lee (45+), Franks (64)

Referee: Fred Graham.

Attendance: 10,449 (388 away).

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