Portman Road Stalemate
Our long distance FA Cup season continued last Saturday with a trip to Suffolk to face Ipswich Town, our reward for winning at Bournemouth in the third round.
It’s been a season of highs so far, some great results and performances but on this occasion this tie proved to be neither for us with us at least gaining a replay from what was, overall, a drab 0-0 draw against the promotion chasing League One side.
Having gone on the Supporters’ Club coach to Bournemouth, it seemed a sensible decision to go with them again. Is that superstition? Probably not, more to do with those I usually travel to away games with can’t be bothered with the FA Cup.
It is nice to be able to report a trouble free journey, and once again it was with an early arrival in Ipswich around 12:15 p.m. giving everyone time for refreshments ahead of our very first FA Cup tie against Ipswich.
There were long queues at the turnstiles as everyone was subjected to a search. It wasn’t quite on the scale at Bournemouth, but in fairness to Bournemouth, they do search all home fans as thoroughly.
Once the biggest competition in football, the FA Cup is one now that allows managers to give other players the opportunity. We made seven changes to the team that had started the win against West Brom; Ipswich showed eight changes from that which had beaten Morecambe in midweek.
Ours, in effect, was eight with Charlie Taylor moving from the centre of defence to left-back and Vincent Kompany included all three of his new January signings in the match day squad; Ameen Al-Dakhil got a start alongside Jordan Beyer in defence while both Hjalmar Ekdal and Lyle Foster were on the bench.
It was a concerning opening few minutes for the Clarets with Ipswich twice coming close to taking an early lead. Virtually from the kick off they got down the right with George Hirst, who featured for Blackburn against us recently, unable to find the target following a low cross. Almost before we’d recovered from that, Marcus Harness hit the bar from distance.
Thankfully, that start didn’t continue and we got ourselves into the game although we did look out of sorts for long periods and didn’t really threaten too much. We had opportunities, but hardly chances. Jay Rodriguez had a couple of efforts, Darko Churlinov threatened on occasions down the left and Scott Twine took a free kick that was a long way out and it went straight to the goalkeeper.
Ipswich, meantime, after that start, were mainly contained with Al-Dakhil enjoying a good debut alongside my man of the match Jordan Beyer. It led to a goalless first half and I don’t think anyone could really argue with that scoreline.
We made changes, three of them at once on the hour, and then introduced Foster for his debut. One of the subs, Anass Zaroury, went close with a shot that won us a corner but given the best possible view, I fail to see how it wasn’t a goal kick; the reaction from the players of both teams suggested they were every bit as surprised. It shouldn’t have been given the performance of referee Tom Nield who was, at best, hard to fathom.
Long before the end, it was evident that this was one of those days when we wouldn’t score. Now, we had to ensure they didn’t. Ipswich went for it in the final minutes of the game and ended it as they started it by hitting the bar.
I don’t think anyone could complain at our first 0-0 game since February last year. It was one of those games and one of those days. There haven’t been many this season and I know there will be many other exciting games to report on. This just wasn’t one of them.
The teams were;
Ipswich: Václav Hladky, Janoi Donacien, Luke Woolfenden, George Edmundson, Greg Leigh, Lee Evans, Sam Morsy (Massimo Luongo 78), Kayden Jackson (Kyle Edwards 85), Sone Aluko (Conor Chaplin 60), Marcus Harness (Nathan Broadhead 60), George Hirst (Freddie Ladapo 60). Subs not used: Christian Walton, Cameron Burgess, Kane Vincent-Young, Cameron Humphreys.
Yellow Cards: Marcus Harness, Sam Morsy.
Burnley: Bailey Peacock-Farrell, Vitinho, Ameen Al-Dakhil, Jordan Beyer, Charlie Taylor, Jack Cork, Samuel Bastien (Josh Cullen 59), Nathan Tella (Connor Roberts 90+1), Scott Twine (Josh Brownhill 59), Darko Churlinov (Anass Zaroury 60), Jay Rodriguez (Lyle Foster 67). Subs not used: Charlie Casper, Hjalmar Ekdal, Ian Maatsen, Ashley Barnes.
Yellow Cards: Jordan Beyer, Jack Cork.
Referee: Tom Nield (West Yorkshire).
Attendance: 25,420 (including 1,581 Clarets).
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