U23: ITFC 1-2 COVENTRY CITY

Kieron Dyer’s side unable to capitalise on opportunities at Portman Road

It was Dyer’s young Blues side who looked the most likely to come out best in the closing stages of their opening Professional Development League Two fixture, however a late strike from Josh Pask separated the sides on the final whistle. 

A missed penalty awarded to Ipswich Town looked to be an opportunity the hosts would regret not taking before the final whistle. 

A slow start to the fixture saw both sides attempting to test their opposing defences, however it was Town who looked the more threatening early on. An early penalty appeal from Ben Morris was waived away by the referee after an exciting build up looked to put the Town Number 9 in a promising position.

Looking to bounce back, a foul just outside the Town penalty area on Coventry skipper Jonny Ngandu put the Visitors in prime position to take the lead, however the shot was successfully pushed away by Town ‘keeper Antoni Bort into the path of the Sky Blues’ Jay McGrath who was unable to react in time and placed his shot over the crossbar.

With the game beginning to open up from its original cagey nature, both sides seemed to look to apply pressure, however the only opportunities available for each side were owed to a number of defensive mistakes, which neither set of attackers were able to capitalise on.

On 20’, a breakdown in defensive communication from the Town back line gifted a chance to Coventry’s Fabio Tavares, who gladly knocked the ball on, seemingly against his right arm before lifting over Blue’s ‘keeper Bort to give the young Coventry side the lead.

Immediately after, Town looked to bounce back and were awarded a penalty-kick after a late challenge in the opposition danger area, however the shot from 12 yards out was fired over Joe O’Shaughnessy’s crossbar in emphatic nature by Town’s Morris.

Jay McGrath was next to test Bort, however a left-hand diving save was responsible for preventing a second shot from nestling into the back of the Host’s net. This was followed up by an intelligent move from the dominant looking Coventry side. Blaine Rowe was able to pick out skipper Ngandu from the right-wing, however this shot was again placed above the crossbar.

5 minutes from half-time, an impressive passing play saw the young Blues look to create a chance, which fell to striker Tawanda Chirewa. His shot was placed left of ‘keeper O’Shaugnassey whose standout save denied Town the equaliser. This was followed up on the brink of half-time by a similar opportunity for the young Blue, however, was again unsuccessful in delivering for the Town side.

The young Blues were quick out of the blocks into the second half and held the lion’s share of possession. On the 48th minute, Town’s Matt Ward was provided a chance to equalise through a short pass in the box from Morris, however his close-range effort was fired over the Coventry net.

The young Coventry side, while hoping to double their lead through the right-boot of Josh Reid were again denied by a reaching save from Town’s Bort and gifted a corner which didn’t pose any trouble to the Ipswich defence. 

After a dominant looking second half, the young Blues were able to find space down their right-wing, however Morris was unable to react in time to place shot past the Coventry ‘keeper. After a defensive mix-up, an opportunity fell to Chirewa who, on the 68th minute, placed his shot from the right-hand side of the box into the back of the Sky Blues’ goal.

Looking to continue their form immediately, Morris, who had looked a thorn in the side of the Coventry back line for the best part of the fixture was unable to keep his shot between the goal posts and fired his against the frame of the Visitor’s goal. 

A seemingly quiet second half from Coventry provided only one noticeable chance for their 28, Tavares, whose skilful movement in the box earnt him an open shot against Bort, however this was comfortably pushed aside by the young ‘keeper. Immediately after and 10 minutes until the final whistle, Marco Rus was unlucky to not find a way past Bort and saw his long, curling shot from the left wing strike the Blue’s goal post on the way out.

5 minutes from the final whistle and against the run of play, a low cross played in from the right-wing found its way to Josh Pask, who managed to flick this chance past Bort, giving Coventry the lead late on.

The last opportunity of the game came from a free kick that was played into the box from Town striker Chirewa, however skipper Albie Armin saw his headed effort strike the post, denying the young Blues side their much sought-after equaliser.

Town: Bort, Andoh (Healy 57′), Stewart, Armin (C), Clements, Alexander, Humphreys, Chirewa, Siziba (Curtis 55′), Ward, Morris

Subs: Cullum, Smith, Healy, Okunowo

Coventry: O’Shaugnassey, Godden, Pask, Ngandu (C) (Burroughs 63), Tavares, Rus, McGrath, Howley (Evans-Harriott 63), Rowe, Reid, Drysdale

Subs: Bell, Dinangia, Nee

Attendance: 283

Match report by Seb Norton

Photo: Ross Media UK

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