Ipswich Town 1-2 West Ham U21: Blues beaten again as errors prove costly
- Credit: Steve Waller - www.stephenwaller
Ipswich Town’s winless start to the season goes on after Paul Cook’s men were beaten by West Ham United’s Under 21s.
Just as they did on Saturday against Bolton, Town went ahead early as James Norwood turned home as play broke down inside the box but, once again, they were soon pegged back and eventually fell to defeat.
Keenan Appiah-Forson netted for the visitors 10 minutes after Norwood’s opener to equalise, before a late Armstrong Okoflex penalty eventually secured victory for the young Hammers.
An uneventful affair burst into life with 10 minutes remaining, when a mad 30 seconds saw goalkeeper Tomas Holy clearly spill a cross over his own line under very little pressure, only for the officials to somehow combine to fail to spot it.
The keeper then hurled the ball out, with Ipswich substitute Zanda Siziba hitting the deck at the end of rapid counter-attack for one of the most blatant penalties you will see. Referee Charles Breakspear again said no, in what appeared to be an attempt to even things up after the initial error.
A flat second half got even flatter inside Portman Road when Holy clattered into West Ham’s Jamal Baptiste inside the area, giving away the softest of penalties which Okoflex converted to complete the misery for Ipswich.
The Hammers ended with 10 men, after Pierre Ekwah was shown a second yellow card in stoppage time, but it mattered little as the Blues slumped to defeat.
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Manager Paul Cook fielded an experienced line-up in comparison to the young visitors, but never got into a groove in the final third, on a night when the Blues were their own worst enemy in the big moments.
Sam Morsy made his Ipswich debut and showed flashes of what he can offer alongside Tom Carroll but, though the Ipswich midfield looked more balance, they weren't really able to provide an attacking platform for the Ipswich forward line to take advantage of as errors at the back eventually proved the Blues' undoing.
Next up is a trip to Lincoln City as League One action resumes on Saturday.
Cook had said in the lead-up to this game that he planned on fielding a ‘strong’ side in this game, though only Kane Vincent-Young kept his place following the weekend loss to Bolton as he started just a few days after he was replaced just 21 minutes into that game.
Morsy made his debut, as did teenage centre-back Albie Armin, who partnered Luke Woolfenden at the heart of defence with Matt Penney coming in at left-back and Tomas Holy starting in goal.
Morsy was partnered by Tom Carroll in midfield, with a three of Kayden Jackson, Idris El Mizouni and Louie Barry lining up behind lone striker James Norwood, who was returning from injury.
And the mix-and-match Ipswich side were ahead inside two minutes in scrappy fashion. Norwood scored it as he peddled backwards to try and reach a clipped Carroll cross, with the Town striker stabbing home at the second attempt after West Ham goalkeeper Krisztian Hegyi couldn’t get enough contact on the ball.
Town have a bad habit of blowing leads during the early weeks of this season and were at it again, with their advantage in this one lasting just 10 minutes before Keenan Appiah-Forson netted as he finished off a clever move by collecting a one-two and beating Holy.
Both sides exchanged good moments, with the Blues looking a little nervy at times, before an excellent skidded pass from Jackson flashed across the box and so nearly allowed Norwood to turn the ball into the net. Sadly, though, the Town striker failed to make contact.
Jackson then blazed over the top on the half hour, having driven his initial effort into the heels of El Mizouni and then receiving the rebound back to feet, before Holy was called into action after Carroll’s poor pass allowed the Hammers to break, with the Town keeper ultimately saving Kamarai Swyer’s shot.
Neither side could test the goalkeeper further from that point on, going in level at the break, before the Blues continued to trudge away after the interval, with Louie Barry hitting the deck inside the box before being told to get up as the referee waved penalty appeals away.
Town lost Jackson to injury just before the hour, with Conor Chaplin taking his place and moving inside to act as the No.10, meaning El Mizouni was moved to the right flank.
Next off the bench was Zanda Siziba, who replaced Barry, but still neither side could get going in what was a stodgy second period which saw the game drift for long spells.
Then, suddenly, the game burst into life in unexpected circumstances.
Holy fumbled a cross over his own line, for what looked like a clear goal, only for the officials to miss it. That allowed the Ipswich goalkeeper to hurl the ball downfield to an unmarked Chaplin, who danced his way into the box and find Siziba, who hit the deck for what looked like a clear penalty. Nothing doing again.
Siziba then headed over from Norwood’s cross, before Joe Pigott replaced El Mizouni.
Town struggled to create anything from there, with Okoflex completing the misery as Holy was made to pay. He probably should have been earlier.
Next up for Ipswich in this competition is a game at Gillingham on October 5.
Ipswich Town: Holy; Vincent-Young, Woolfenden, Armin, Penney; Morsy, Carroll; Jackson (Chaplin, 57), El Mizouni (Pigott, 78), Barry (Siziba, 66); Norwood
Subs: Hladky, Baggott, Humphreys, Nolan, Pigott
West Ham: Hegyi, Alese, Laing, Baptiste; Ekwah, Ashby, Chesters (Rosa, 88), Longelo, Appiah-Forson; Swyer (Perkins, 69), Okoflez
Subs: Kinnear, Dju, Diallo, Forbes, Casey
Att: 4,231 (150 West Ham fans)