Town come unstuck
Ipswich Town 1 Bradford City 2.The race for the championship may well be a marathon rather than a sprint, but Ipswich need to up their pace if they are to achieve their aim of automatic promotion from the Nationwide Division One.
Ipswich Town 1 Bradford City 2.
The race for the championship may well be a marathon rather than a sprint, but Ipswich need to up their pace if they are to achieve their aim of automatic promotion from the Nationwide Division One.
Sloppy defending and a lack of communication on the pitch gave Bradford all three points at Portman Road in a match that frustrated the fans, and must leave George Burley with more questions than answers.
Town started the game brightly, but within minutes they were showing signs of the defensive uncertainty that cost them in Saturday's game against Millwall. But it was Ipswich who made the first breakthrough in the 14th minute when youngsters Darren Bent and Darren Ambrose showed their almost telepathic understanding in front of goal. Bent headed the ball into Ambrose's path on the edge of the area and ran on to nod in a perfectly delivered cross from just two yards out.
But despite taking the lead, Town continued to allow Bradford too much space coming forward, and it was only Bradford's woeful finishing that kept the ball out of the Ipswich net.
The visitors managed to take their chance in the 24th minute after a Hermann Hreidarsson foul on ex-Norwich player Ashley Ward gave Bradford a free kick just outside the area. Paul Evans stepped up to curl the ball over the wall and into the net.
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Ipswich offered an immediate response when Ambrose struck the ball from 25 yards, only for keeper Aidan Davison to palm it clear.
Ipswich seemed to lose their way for the rest of the half as passes went astray, and Bradford could easily have gone into the break ahead, but failed to convert two more great chances.
The second half began more positively with Town challenging well for the ball, and looking as though they would take control of the game. However, they couldn't make the chances count, and after two excellent saves from the Bradford keeper, the Ipswich players' heads began to drop.
Bradford continued to look dangerous coming forward, and the Ipswich defence seemed out of step and worryingly uncoordinated. On 75 minutes Evans launched a shot from more than 40 yards, which Marshall managed to touch on to the crossbar to keep Town on level terms.
But it wasn't to last much longer. On 82 minutes Evans took a quick free kick from which Proctor, having lost Gaardsoe, managed to curl the ball past Marshall from 20 yards.
In the last few minutes, Town flung everybody forward in a desperate attempt to get something out of the game, but it wasn't enough, and Bradford ran out deserving winners.
In all it was a poor showing from Ipswich. Too many passes went astray, they didn't win enough loose balls, and defensively looked out of touch. On the positive side, Darren Ambrose looks better and better, showing some intelligent play and exciting movement on and off the ball. However, with only one point from the holiday weekend, Town need to get back to their winning ways quickly in order to keep the dream of automatic promotion alive.