Stu says: Five observations following Ipswich Town's 1-1 draw with Lincoln in the FA Cup
PUBLISHED: 18:59 09 November 2019 | UPDATED: 18:59 09 November 2019
© Copyright Stephen Waller
Ipswich Town will face Lincoln City in a first round replay following this afternoon's 1-1 draw at Portman Road. STUART WATSON gives his thoughts on the game.
Paul Lambert insisted in the build-up that he wanted the club to progress in a 'fantastic competition'.
His team selection suggested otherwise as he changed his entire outfield 10 following Tuesday night's 1-0 win at Rochdale (while Lincoln made just one change to their team).
Fears that so many alterations would lead to another flat and disjointed display in knockout competition, something we've witnessed so often in recent years, proved valid.
Town trailed at the break courtesy of Tyler Walker's cool finish following Bruno Andrade's low cross from the right.
Referee Kevin Johnson was booed off the field at the break after failing to award the hosts a single free-kick, but that was no excuse for a performance which badly lacked intensity or any semblance of a game plan.
Thankfully, Town stepped things up after the restart in what was a far more entertaining affair.
Just like at Rochdale, a subtle tactical tweak at the break made a big difference.
In midweek, swapping wingers Danny Rowe and Alan Judge onto opposite flanks injected some life into Town. Today, moving Andre Dozzell inside from the right and pushing Armando Dobra out wide got the Blues going.
Dozzell - the only player on the field to have featured in those FA Cup ties with Lincoln back in 2017 - started to get on the ball more and dictate the tempo. The diminutive Dobra no longer was left trying to battle for fight balls.
Town pressure began to build. Twice in quick succession a stretching Will Keane was agonisingly close to getting on the end of driven low crosses from Emyr Huws and substitute Gwion Edwards.
Lincoln continued to pose a threat themselves in what was now a far more entertaining spectacle.
Toto Nsiala, making his first appearance since his nightmare injury comeback at Accrington three weeks ago, had been doing okay. Far from perfect, but alright.
Then, just like at Accrington, he gave away a clumsy penalty. Second to the scene following a bouncing ball in the box, he barged into Jake Hesketh. Fully fit or not, that does seem to be a major Achilles heel in his game.
Thankfully for him, Walker's spot-kick was dreadful. Will Norris, who saved four penalties in his final season at Cambridge United, stepped to his right to keep the ball out. Walker then fluffed the rebound chance.
That let off drew a roar of encouragement from the crowd and, four minutes later, the Blues were level.
After Anthony Georgiou's low cross was blocked, Myles Kenlock dropped a shoulder to beat his man and picked out Dozzell with a cut-back. The midfielder caressed a side-footed shot inside the far side-netting from the edge of the box. A fine goal.
The Blues pushed for a win. Flynn Downes fired narrowly wide after a neat touch and turn a good 20 yards from goal, while Kenlock rifled a low effort just wide of the same upright.
Lambert brought on striker James Norwood for the final five minutes, but there was to be no breakthrough.
POSITIVES TO TAKE
All credit to Nsiala with the way he responded to giving the penalty away. He produced a vital headed clearance at the near post and a lovely heeled flick under pressure by the byline.
Kenlock and Janoi Donacien have slipped way down the pecking order this season, but both full-backs were assured in all they did. Kenlock may have been caught out for the goal, but second half he was an attacking threat and also produced some strong pieces of defending at key moments.
Getting more minutes in the legs of Emyr Huws and Will Keane was also important. You could see Keane's touch and confidence returning as the game went on and he was so unfortunate not to get a goal to go with a tireless display.
Those two will probably be quite happy this has gone to a replay as they seek more game time to get fully up to speed again.
And so, just like in January 2017, Town head to Sincil Bank for a replay. We all know what happened on that infamous night in front of the BBC One cameras.
That's now 15 games without a win for the Blues in the FA Cup (D5 L10).
Town are at Colchester for a pretty meaningless EFL Trophy final group match on Tuesday night, then they have a free weekend due to the fact the scheduled match at Oxford United got postponed due to international call-ups.
The replay will come on the Wednesday after that (November 20). It means Town will face Lincoln four times in the space of three months, with league games against them scheduled for December 29 (a) and January 25 (h).