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Ipswich Town 1-2 Coventry City: Lambert's men bow out of the FA Cup after limp Sky Blues defeat

PUBLISHED: 21:41 10 December 2019 | UPDATED: 21:42 10 December 2019

A frustrated Tomas Holy after the visitors had taken the lead.
Picture: Steve Waller    www.stephenwaller.com

A frustrated Tomas Holy after the visitors had taken the lead. Picture: Steve Waller www.stephenwaller.com

© Copyright Stephen Waller

Ipswich Town's FA Cup journey is over after they were beaten 2-1 by Coventry City in a wet and windy second-round replay at Portman Road.

Toto Nsiala heads over.
 Picture: Steve Waller    www.stephenwaller.comToto Nsiala heads over. Picture: Steve Waller www.stephenwaller.com

In what was the third meeting between the two teams in as little as 10 days, the visitors picked up where they left off in the second half of Saturday's League One game, as they pulled their hosts apart and went in at the break two up courtesy of Jordan Shipley and Max Biamou.

The damage was done during a first half where Ipswich were clearly second best, lacked cohesion and struggled to put together attacking moves while looking shaky at the back.

As the rain became heavier and the wind continued to swirl the Blues were unable to find any kind of spark after the break, as the game drifted towards full time without any real attempts on the Coventry goal.

That was until substitute Luke Garbutt headed home to reduce the deficit to set up the potential of a grandstand finish in front of the lowest Portman Road FA Cup crowd in more than 80 years.

James Norwood looks to get on the end of a Gwion Edwards cross.
Picture: Steve Waller    www.stephenwaller.comJames Norwood looks to get on the end of a Gwion Edwards cross. Picture: Steve Waller www.stephenwaller.com

That was as good as it got, though, as the Blues tumbled out of the competition.

They now embark on a run of five-successive League One games, starting with Saturday's visit of surprise promotion chasers Bristol Rovers.

As has become customary, there were changes aplenty when Paul Lambert's team was announced at 6.45pm.

Luke Woolfenden, Judge and Gwion Edwards were the only three players to keep their places, with Toto Nsiala, Kayden Jackson, James Norwood among the notable returnees.

Town manager Paul Lambert watches from the touchline.
Picture: Steve Waller    www.stephenwaller.comTown manager Paul Lambert watches from the touchline. Picture: Steve Waller www.stephenwaller.com

Most notable, though, was the inclusion of Barry Cotter for his first Portman Road appearance in 609 days, dating back to Mick McCarthy's final game in charge of the Blues in April 2018, and following on from the Irish youngster's winning penalty in the EFL Trophy clash with Peterborough a week ago.

The Irishman hadn't touched the ball when Ipswich had their first effort on goal, when goalkeeper Tomas Holy's long ball forward flew all the way through to Kayden Jackson, but the striker wasn't able to react quickly enough and was unable to catch his shot with the required power to overly test Marko Marosi in the Coventry goal.

Luke Woolfenden then played Emyr Huws into trouble before losing the bouncing ball that followed, with the defender grateful to see partner Nsiala throw himself in front of Max Biamou's shot which stopped what seemed likely to be a certain goal.

Jordan Shipley lashed a shot wide before Nsiala climbed highest to meet an expert ball into the box from Judge, with the defender only just missing the target.

Tomas Holy makes an early save.
Picture: Steve Waller    www.stephenwaller.comTomas Holy makes an early save. Picture: Steve Waller www.stephenwaller.com

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Ipswich were on top but were soon behind. The hosts lost the ball in the middle of their own half as possession was gifted to Biamou, who slipped in Shipley to slide under the body of exposed goalkeeper Holy.

The Ipswich goalkeeper was berating the Ipswich defence after Callum O'Hare had been allowed a free header at the back post, which he pushed round the post for a corner, before freeing Ipswich on a rare attack which ended with Norwood's low cross just evading the flying leg of Jackson.

And in the blink of an eye it was 2-0 to the visitors. Mark Robins' side pulled the Ipswich defence and midfield in every direction possible before Shipley's low cross from the left found an unmarked Biamou in the box, with the striker doing the rest as he turned the ball home.

Jordan Shipley celebrates with teammate Max Biamou after giving the visitors the lead.
Picture: Steve Waller    www.stephenwaller.comJordan Shipley celebrates with teammate Max Biamou after giving the visitors the lead. Picture: Steve Waller www.stephenwaller.com

Boos rang out as the visitors celebrated in front of the North Stand, with the small crowd inside Portman Road fully aware that their side had a serious battle on their hands to remain in the cup.

There was little evidence of that battle being won before the half-time whistle, at which point Lambert shuffled his pack and replaced Cotter with Luke Garbutt and switched to a wing-back system.

It worked to an extent, with Ipswich getting hold of the ball better in the minutes after the break but whenever the ball was worked into the final third the moves broke down and the foothold was lost.

Ipswich huffed and puffed but it was Coventry who looked the most likely to score again on the break as Jamie Allen put in a magnificent ball into the box which Biamou guided over the top.

The Blues huffed and puffed before Garbutt's header which came from a looping Jackson cross following good work from Norwood, raised hopes.

Jon Nolan and Will Keane were sent on for the final minutes but they weren't able to force the issue before the full-time whistle went.

Ipswich Town: Holy; Cotter (Garbutt, 46), Nsiala, Woolfenden, Kenlock; Skuse, Huws (Keane 88), Edwards, Judge (Nolan 88); Jackson, Norwood

Subs: Norris, Wilson, Downes, Dozzell

Coventry City: Marosi; Dabo, McFadzean, Rose, Kelly, Allen (Westbrooke 82), Walsh, Shipley (Bakayoko 64), McCallum, O'Hare, Biamou (Godden 71)

Subs: Wilson, Mason, Hyam, Hiwula

Attendance: 6,515 (367 Coventry fans)

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