Ipswich Town 1-0 Plymouth Argyle: Morsy the difference as Blues win
- Credit: Steve Waller - stephenwaller.com
Sam Morsy was Ipswich Town’s match-winner as the Blues ended promotion-chasing Plymouth’s impressive winning run at Portman Road.
The skipper’s excellent run saw him meet a perfect James Norwood cross on 37 minutes, easily turning home what ended up being the Blues’ winner.
It came towards the end in what was a free-flowing first-half from Kieran McKenna’s men, in which they put together some excellent passages of play and threatened the Plymouth box on multiple occasions.
The Pilgrims, sitting fourth in the table and on a run of six-successive victories without conceding, came back into the contest after the break, though Town remained the more-threatening of the two sides.
And, unlike a week ago at Oxford, McKenna’s men were able to see the game out and claim a deserved victory on an afternoon where both sides celebrated the life of legendary striker Paul Mariner prior to kick-off.
The win closes the gap on the League One top six by just a single point, to five, with Sheffield Wednesday now the team in the final play-off place following their comfortable victory over Cheltenham.
The majority of the League One play-off chasers were not in action today due to the international break, meaning the majority of the Blues’ rivals now hold games in hand as the race for the top six gets ever closer to the finish.
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Town return to action next weekend against Cambridge.
McKenna made three changes to his side for the visit of Argyle, with Norwood getting the nod in attack in place of Joe Pigott, while Sone Aluko came in for Conor Chaplin.
Skipper Morsy returned to the starting XI, having given his side a boost from the bench at Oxford a week ago, with the midfielder involved early in a move which led to Aluko firing into the side-netting.
Aluko was involved again as Town’s first big opening afternoon saw the veteran attacker turn down the chance to shoot, in favour of a pass to West Burns. The Welshman flashed a shot through the penalty area from a tight angle, which deflected out for a throw-in and eventually led to a second opening which Aluko fired wide on the stretch.
Burns was beginning to work left-back Steven Sessegnon, with Town probing away down both flanks and through the middle of the pitch, with Plymouth restricted to just one long-range effort which flew wide inside the first 45 minutes.
Norwood was the next Town player to shoot, twisting and turning to the left of the box before sending a tame effort into the arms of Cooper, before Burns found space in the box to wrong-foot keeper Michael Cooper with a header. He managed to recover and save, though.
Then Town found their way through. Norwood made it, as he battled away for the ball on the right side of the box and kept his patience, before squaring a ball across the box which Morsy couldn’t fail to turn into the net as he timed the run perfectly.
Norwood shot over soon after, as Town continued to attack in search of the second goal they didn’t get at Oxford a week ago, before the Blues were roundly applauded off at the break following a first-half full of threat.
Plymouth came out for the second half and enjoyed a greater share of the ball in Ipswich territory, without overly testing Christian Walton in the Town goal, with the hosts still looking for the second.
Tyreeq Bakinson was the closest to unlocking the door, as he battled away to rob both Danny Mayor and Romoney Crichlow of the ball in quick succession, only for his second stab at possession to ultimately run through to the goalkeeper.
McKenna then shuffled his pack, taking Aluko and Norwood out of the game and introducing Macauley Bonne and Conor Chaplin in their places, with Town continuing to operate in Plymouth territory without ever truly testing visiting keeper Cooper.
There were some nervy moments to see out, as five minutes of added time were played, but the Blues stood firm to claim three points.
The lead could have been doubled in added time, but Burns sent his shot wide after being set free by Celina.
Ipswich Town: Walton; Donacien, Woolfenden, Burgess; Burns, Morsy, Bakinson, Thompson; Aluko (Chaplin, 65), Celina, Norwood (Bonne, 65)
Subs: Hladky, Penney, Baggott, Carroll, Pigott
Plymouth Argyle: Cooper; Wilson, Bolton (Crichlow, 24), Gillesphey; Edwards, Sessegnon; Houghton (Broom 68), Randell, Mayor, Ennis, Hardie (Garrick, 75)
Subs: Burton, Scarr, Lewis, Law, Crichlow
Att: 23,256 (1,291 Plymouth fans)