Monday, 19 March 2012

GUEST BLOG: Ipswich Town 3: Peterborough United 2

As Town kicked off the second half of Saturday's 'East Anglian derby' (of sorts), I was heading off to Manchester for the evening.

But fear not, fellow Blue Andy Cross has offered to fill in with a truly honest report on the game as he saw it:

Hoping to avenge for the 7-1 mauling at the hands of the Posh in August, Paul Jewell made just one change from the impressive 2-2 draw against Hull last weekend; bringing in Lee Martin for the unfortunate Jason Scotland.

Ipswich started brightly, with the ever-improving Andy Drury creating a half-decent opening for Michael Chopra, only for Posh keeper Paul Smith to thwart his goal-bound header.

Once reported Town target Tyrone Barnett then went up the other end to miss a glorious first chance for the visitors, as the former Crawley forward stabbed wide after George Boyd had played him in.

Darren Ferguson’s men were, arguably, the better side in the opening stages and Peterborough midfielder Tommy Rowe was next to spurn a great chance as he glanced a free header past Alex McCarthy’s far post.

Jay Emmanuel-Thomas then saw his goal bound effort tipped around the post by Jones. From the resulting corner, the Blues took the lead. After Drury played the ball in, Damien Delaney’s header was cleared only as far as the perfectly placed Grant Leadbitter, and the in-form midfielder made it 3 goals in 2 games as his half-volley struck the inside of the post and nestled emphatically in the back of the net.

The goal came very much against the run of play and Peterborough were very unlucky to find themselves behind.

As Town attempted to gain a foothold in the game, Lee Martin thought he had won a penalty for his side after being shoved off the ball by Paul Taylor, but referee Gary Sutton was misleading in pointing for a goal kick instead of a spot-kick. Probably the right decision too.

After a blistering start from both sides, the game settled down and it was the away side who kept the ball much better than a Town side who looked shaky after Leadbitter’s opening goal.

On the half-hour mark, the visitors’ got the equaliser they fully deserved. Lone striker Barnett latched onto a through ball from George Boyd and although his first effort was blocked by McCarthy, the ball ricocheted back off the forward and skipped across the surface into an empty net. Despite Damien Delaney’s best efforts to stop the ball from crossing the line, Peterborough deserved to be level and could have been ahead minutes later.

Tommy Smith, under no apparent pressure, played a weak pass intended for keeper McCarthy which was smartly anticipated by Posh striker Taylor but the Town keeper done well to block his effort on goal. After the visitors’ great spell of dominance, Chopra had another headed chance, this time seeing his effort come just inches away from beating the stranded Jones.

As the game reached half time, Town have counted themselves very fortunate not to be behind in a first-half performance considerably lacking in the quality that the Blues had consistently shown in recent games. Too many players were underperforming, particularly JET and Andy Drury.

The second half began in similar circumstances as the first ended. George Boyd’s low shot was saved by the impressive McCarthy who was keeping Town in the game. Manager Paul Jewell sensed that a change was needed, and duly replaced the largely ineffective JET with the more experienced head of Lee Bowyer. Town reverted to a 4-3-3 formation with Murphy and Martin supporting Chopra on either flank.

The change seemed to work for the Blues as they started to take control of the game. Chopra shot over from close-range before hitting the crossbar after Martin’s skewed drive. In the midst of Chopra’s chances, Ryan Stevenson had replaced Drury.

Ipswich took the lead on the 77th minute when Peterborough again failed to deal with a corner. Lee Martin’s cross fell to Delaney who forced a good save by keeper Smith, but Daryl Murphy followed up from yards out to make it 2-1 to the home side.

Town’s lead didn’t last long though. After another great ball by Boyd, Posh substitute Emile Sinclair managed to hold off Delaney to poke home for his eighth of the season. After dominating the majority of the second-half, Town found themselves level; if only for a couple of minutes.

Bowyer’s cross-field ball found Aaron Cresswell and the full-back let fly with a 25-yard strike which hit the unfortunate Gabriel Zakuani on its way and landed in the back of the net, giving the wrong-footed Smith absolutely no chance.

The Blues held on for a hard-fought victory which stretches their unbeaten home record to an impressive five games.

Don't forget, if you'd like to write an article about anything Ipswich Town related I'd love to hear from you: tweet me @tractorgirlamy8

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