Ipswich Town 2-1 Shrewsbury Town: Bonne strikes again as Blues claim win
- Credit: Steve Waller - stephenwaller.com
Macauley Bonne was Ipswich Town’s match-winner as the Blues beat Shrewsbury 2-1 at Portman Road.
The QPR loanee rose highest just after half-time as he expertly angled a sublime head back across goal and into the net, securing victory in a game the Blues dominated for long spells.
That dominance looked to only be heading one way after Conor Chaplin had pounced midway through the opening half, stabbing his side into the lead. But, as has so often been Paul Cook’s side’s Achilles heel this season, they couldn’t hold onto their lead.
Shrewsbury, who had shown little ambition in the first quarter of the game, found an equaliser through Shaun Whalley five minutes after Chaplin’s opener, silencing Portman Road as nerves crept in both in the stands and on the pitch.
But Cook’s side ultimately navigated a difficult 20-minute period well, scoring early to cap second-half dominance and ultimately seeing the game out comfortably.
Victory, on a weekend where international call-offs limited the League One slate to just four matches, sends Town five places up the table to 14th.
Cook had one big selection decision heading into this match and gave Conor Chaplin the nod to replace Bersant Celina, who was on Kosovo duty. The Town boss kept faith with the remaining 10 players who lost at Accrington a week ago, but also started the 6-0 win at home to Doncaster the previous Tuesday.
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That success came courtesy of a four-goal blitz during a thrilling 10-minute spell in the second half and, in a break with tradition, the Blues attacked that same North Stand in the first half of a game, rather than in the second.
Lee Evans had the first opening of the game as he claimed the ball after Sam Morsy’s run into Shrewsbury territory ended with Ryan Bowman chopping him down, but the Welshman curled his free-kick wide of the post.
Town had the ball in the net on eight minutes but the flag was rightly raised, with Bonne in an offside position as Burns fired in a ball to the back stick, before Vaclav Hladky’s first action of the afternoon saw the Ipswich keeper easily pluck Bowman’s tame header out of the air.
Then, the breakthrough. A whipped cross from Matt Penney allowed Bonne to head powerfully towards goal and, though Shrews keeper Marko Marosi saved with a strong hand, he could only push it as far as Chaplin, who got ahead of his man to stab his side into a 23rd-minute lead.
But, as has so often been the case for this Ipswich side this season, they saw their lead evaporate in quick fashion. This one lasted five minutes before Shaun Whalley found the top corner from the edge of the box, after the Shrews midfielder had robbed Morsy too easily. Portman Road was silenced.
Things could have got worse a minute or so later, had Bowman been able to find the target from six yards out, when meeting Udoh’s low cross. What had been as comfortable an opening 20 minutes as you like suddenly became a little nervy.
That pattern continued until the break, when the players left a small smattering of half-hearted applause, no doubt knowing they had work to do.
Town had enjoyed 70% of the possession during the first-half and that pattern resumed at the start of the second, with the Blues pinning their visitors back and dominating the ball.
The pressure, while not producing too many chances, did eventually yield from a tried-and-trusted source as Bonne rose highest to meet an excellent Evans corner and angle a sublime header back across goal and into the back of Marosi’s net.
Cook’s men were having everything their own way, with Shrewsbury offering little before Matt Penney’s driven low cross flashed through the box and was inches away from the out-stretched toe of Bonne, who was so close to doubling his own personal tally.
Kyle Edwards replaced Burns with 17 minutes remaining, with the Welshman appearing to be carrying a knock, with Luke Leahy hitting the deck under the slightest touch from Edmundson a few moments later. Town survived impassioned penalty appeals, which appeared to have little basis.
The Blues lost Penney with 10 minutes remaining, with Toto Nsiala replacing him and Janoi Donacien moving to left-back, but were able to see the game out comfortably to secure three points.
Ipswich Town: Hladky; Donacien, Edmundson, Burgess, Penney (Nsiala, 81); Morsy, Evans; Burns (Edwards, 73), Chaplin, Fraser; Bonne (Pigott, 89)
Subs: Holy, Harper, El Mizouni, Aluko
Shrewsbury Town: Marosi; Pennington, Ebanks-Landell, Pierre (Ogbeta 74); Bennett, Davis, Leahy, Whalley, Nurse; Udoh (Bloxham, 74), Bowman (Cosgrove, 35)
Subs: Burgoyne, Ogbeta, Pyke, Caton, Leshabela
Attendance: 19,256 (202 Shrewsbury fans)