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Match report: Droghead United 0 Ipswich Town 5 – Sears nets twice in opening friendly win

PUBLISHED: 15:52 08 July 2017 | UPDATED: 13:18 09 July 2017

Freddie Sears celebrates scoring Ipswich Town's third goal in this afternoon's 5-0 friendly win at Irish side Drogheda United. Grant Ward and Conor McKendry are also pictured. Photo: ©INPHO/Ryan Byrne

Freddie Sears celebrates scoring Ipswich Town's third goal in this afternoon's 5-0 friendly win at Irish side Drogheda United. Grant Ward and Conor McKendry are also pictured. Photo: ©INPHO/Ryan Byrne

Ipswich Town started their pre-season campaign with a comfortable 5-0 win at Irish side Drogheda United this afternoon.

Ipswich Town manager Mick McCarthy poses for pictures with some young Irish supporters. Photo: ©INPHO/Ryan Byrne Ipswich Town manager Mick McCarthy poses for pictures with some young Irish supporters. Photo: ©INPHO/Ryan Byrne

Brett Pitman started the scoring with a fine top corner effort, then provided two assists for strike partner Freddie Sears.

Mick McCarthy changed his entire team at the break and big front man Kieffer Moore made it 4-0 soon after the restart with a glancing header. New boy Joe Garner made it five late on with a near post finish.

Inexperienced youngsters Pat Webber, Adam McDonnell, Conor McKendry, George Fowler, Tristan Nydam, Flynn Downes and Ben Morris all got game-time in this glorified training match 35 miles north of Dublin.

Tommy Smith, Emyr Huws and David McGoldrick have all been given an extended summer break due to their recent international action, while Andre Dozzell is currently away playing for England at the Under-19 European Championships in Georgia.

The Ipswich Town team which started the first half at Drogheda. Photo: ©INPHO/Ryan Byrne The Ipswich Town team which started the first half at Drogheda. Photo: ©INPHO/Ryan Byrne

Midfielder Kevin Bru – understood to be transfer listed – and Luke Hyam were both conspicuous by their absences.

Meanwhile, there was no appearance for skipper Luke Chambers, or new boys Bersant Celina and Tom Adeyemi, despite the trio being part of the group in Dublin.

Steven Taylor, who has been told to prove his fitness if he is to be offered a new deal, played the first half.

Drogheda are bottom of the Irish top-flight and fielded a weakened side full of trailists and youngsters having played a league game the previous night.

Brett Pitman (right) celebrates scoring the first goal of the game with Conor McKendry. Photo: ©INPHO/Ryan Byrne Brett Pitman (right) celebrates scoring the first goal of the game with Conor McKendry. Photo: ©INPHO/Ryan Byrne

Town were in cruise control from the off. Northern Irish youth international winger McKendry twice went close for the Blues in the opening stages, while Pitman lobbed an effort just over.

The visitors, who had spent the week training at Carton House, finally broke the deadlock in the 14th minute when Pitman hammered a shot into the top right-hand corner of the net after he’d made himself half a yard of room on the edge of the box.

The former Bournemouth front man – who is reportedly transfer listed - then began to increasingly drop deep and, in a languid manner, pulled the strings as he provided two assists for his strike partner.

Sears calmly clipped home an angled one-on-one finish following a fine through ball (37), then smashed home his second from close-range following a neat exchange of passes in the box (40).

Freddie Sears puts Ipswich Town 2-0 up. Photo: ©INPHO/Ryan Byrne Freddie Sears puts Ipswich Town 2-0 up. Photo: ©INPHO/Ryan Byrne

Sears could and probably should have bagged a hat-trick as he was twice denied by the keeper’s legs one-on-one after beating the offside trap.

Dubliner Adam McDonnell, who gave the ball away cheaply on several occasions, also forced the keeper into a smart save with a swerving effort.

McCarthy changed his entire team at the break. Danny Rowe had already cut inside and tested the keeper before he crossed for Kieffer Moore to head Town into a 4-0 lead three minutes after the restart.

The tempo of the game dropped after that. Garner saw a square pass to Moore cut-out when he could have taken a shot, then the recent £750k recruit from Rangers made sure he took a pop himself late on when smashing home an angled near post effort.

Town’s next friendly is at League One side Peterborough United a week on Tuesday, followed by games at Gillingham, Colchester and Charlton.

IPSWICH TOWN

First half (4-4-2): Gerken; Emmanuel, Taylor, Webber, Kenlock; Ward, Skuse (cpt), McDonnell, McKendry; Sears, Pitman.

Second half (4-4-2): Bialkowski; Spence, Fowler, Knudsen (cpt), Nydam; Rowe, Bishop, Downes, Morris; Garner, Moore (McKendry 81).

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