James Norwood was just out of pace when he failed to hit a cross in the first half against AFC Wimbledon
– Credit: Pagepix
In a match manager, Paul Cook admitted that he would play a crucial role in whether the Blues reach the League One play-offs. Town had already failed twice when Josh Harrop was sent off before the game because of a challenge against Nesta Guinness-Walker had reached half an hour.
The hosts had already established themselves as the dominant team before Will Nightingale on 21 … headed the prelude home. Jack Rudoni added the second when Town failed to hit the box and left a free header in the box.
Cook’s men had been bullied by physical strikers Joe Piggott and Oli Palmer and couldn’t stand their hosts the full-backs and the clever midfield attacked late.
Ryan Longman made it to three in the last moments, with Town never showing any sign of a setback despite a slightly improved performance in the second half.
Whether this loss actually Town’s season determined remains to be seen, but all of the weaknesses that have plagued the blues throughout the season were all on show as they opened up again.
Charlton manager Nigel Adkins was ahead of Town’s visit present at The Valley for that game on Saturday, and he will have seen little to worry an Addicks side that has been well received since joining Lee Bowyer as Man ager.
After the defeat, Town is five points ahead of the League One play-offs in ninth place. The games are still running tonight after outperforming Lincoln City in sixth place.
Ipswich is still within six game range in theory, but the issues highlighted by that loss are again that Reason why a late indictment for the top 6 seems increasingly unlikely.
Cook made three changes to his side when the Blues first came to the Dons’ homeland. In the headlines, James Norwood was attacked alongside Aaron Drinan.
Alan Judge and Harrop both came to the side with Armando Dobra, Teddy Bishop and Andre Dozzell, the latter pair falling on the bench.
Both teams were Louder from the start than in the last few games. The game was played at breakneck speed as a group of five Town fans watched from an elevated seat on a block of flats behind one of the Plow Lane gates.
The Blues’ first chance for the game came over the right flank when Harrop put the ball back to Gwion Edwards, who traversed well for Drinan to attack. The Irishman couldn’t get enough of it to threaten the goal, however.
Drinan was the source of Town’s first shot on goal in 229 minutes. After Flynn Downes drove a superb duel and drove into the Wimbledon area, the striker took aim and drove straight at New Zealander Nik Tzanev in Dons Gate.
The first action by Ipswich keeper Tomas Holy was to get one Shot by Joe Piggott to push the post but the hosts took the lead from the next corner when defender Will Nightingale headed the back of the city net. Town tried to respond when Drinan Tzanev got in a clearance fell when he hit a ball on the sideline, giving Edwards a chance to try to shoot back into an empty net. However, Nesta Guinness-Walker did an excellent job of coming back and tackling.
The town’s task got tougher as Luke O’Neill was given way too much space for Rudoni to drive the second of the Dons home before the surrender became nearly impossible when Harrop was sent off for his late challenge against Guinness-Walker.
Cook slumped in his seat with his head in his hands, knowing for sure the game was over.
The hosts were at the top for the remainder of the first half, stretching Town and continuing to put crosses in the penalty area. At the start of the second it was almost three as Holy blocked Ayoub Assal’s shot well in front of the attacker’s successor. up was knocked off the line by Nsiala.
The Blues had some decent moments in attack but couldn’t test the goalkeeper before Cook made four changes introducing Keanan Bennetts, Andre Dozzell, Freddie Sears and then Teddy Bishop .
The game was over for some time, however, when the half drifted further before Kayden Jackson emerged from the bench as Cook made his final change by withdrawing from Norwood, the final act of which was a low cross beheading Luke Woolfenden.
Cook’s changes had little impact. Longman added the third as time ran out, putting a square ball into the box from former Ipswich midfielder Shane McLoughlin.
AFC Wimbledon: O’Neill (Alexander, 76), Tzanev, Nightingale, Kalambayi , Guinness-Walker (Osew, 76); Woodyard, Dobson, Rudoni (McLoughlin, 64), Assal (Oksanen, 64); Piggott, Palmer (Longman, 69)
Ipswich Town: Holy; Woolfenden, Nsiala, Chambers; Edwards (Bennetts, 63), Ward (Bishop, 69), Downes, Richter (Dozzell, 63), Harrop; Norwood (Jackson, 80), Drinan (Sears, 63)
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