Swansea 4-1 Ipswich - The Ugly Ducklings
Monday 25 April 2011
Ipswich Town will hope for a transformation next season after promotion contenders Swansea City soared to a comfortable 4-1 win over the Blues at the Liberty Stadium on Easter Monday.
Hoping to bounce back from their trouncing by local rivals Norwich City on Thursday, Ipswich had already been dealt a blow after Connor Wickham picked up a rib injury in that game, whilst Jimmy Bullard was ruled out with a shoulder problem despite making the trip to South Wales. Colin Healy and Andy Drury therefore came into the starting lineup, with former Swans striker Jason Scotland up front and Arran Lee-Barrett staying in goal despite conceding five against Norwich. Meanwhile Swansea started without top scorer Scott Sinclair in midfield, whilst on-loan Ipswich striker Tamas Priskin was not only ineligible to play but injured for the visit of his parent club.
Scotland narrowly missed out on the chance to strike an early blow against his former employers within the first 5 minutes after a poor first touch from Healy's through ball. The 32-year-old then laid the ball off for Grant Leadbitter, whose 20-yard drive forced Swans keeper Dorus De Vries to parry as the Blues started brightly. At the other end, Lee-Barrett had to react quickly to prevent Luke Moore getting onto a loose ball following a challenge by David Norris.
Unfortunately however, Town were to fall behind within the first ten minutes. After a good run by Nathan Dyer down the Swansea right, Angel Rangel and Stephen Dobbie exchanged passes to send Fabio Borini running into the Ipswich box, the Chelsea loanee slipping a low finish past Lee-Barrett to put the Swans 1-0 up, arguably against the run of play.
Before the Blues could recover, they found themselves two down just five minutes later. Dobbie laid a pass off for Luke Moore to try his luck from 20 yards, the shot taking a deflection to send Lee-Barrett the wrong way and gift the hosts a rather fortuitous 2-0 lead.
Eager to get back into the match as quickly as possible after Thursday's embarrassment, Town grabbed a goal back after 20 minutes. Darren O'Dea's throw in from the left was nodded on by Moore only as far as Scotland, who laid the ball back for Colin Healy to shoot high into the net for his second Ipswich goal.
Damien Delaney was forced to clear from Dyer before Dobbie struck wide as the hosts threatened again, and they were to find a third goal before the half hour mark. Despite pressure from Delaney sliding in, Moore was able to strike from a tight angle inside the left of the Town box. Lee-Barrett managed to block the shot at the near post but could only divert the ball into the feet of the oncoming Fabio Borini, who bundled it home for his second of the match.
After a lively opening half hour, the Swans now began to take control of the game. Dyer fired an effort into the side netting before Delaney received the first yellow card of the match from referee James Linington for a foul on Moore. Dyer then joined Delaney in the referee's book for a poor challenge on O'Dea which left the Irishman a little worse for wear as the half-time whistle sounded with the score at 3-1.
Town manager Paul Jewell replaced O'Dea at half time with former Cardiff City defender Mark Kennedy coming on, whilst the hosts also made a change, Borini going off after his brace to be replaced by the influential Scott Sinclair. The second half started slowly before Gareth McAuley was forced off with a suspected groin injury on 50 minutes, Troy Brown taking his place in defence.
Compared to the first half, chances were becoming somewhat rare, though the hosts were certainly having the better of the game. Moore hit a left-footed shot off target from the edge of the Town box before curling another effort wide of the left-hand post. Just shy of the hour mark, Jewell made his third and final change, Drury being replaced by Luciano Civelli.
Despite the lack of opportunities, Swansea were to make their win even more comfortable on 71 minutes. A badly sliced clearance by Delaney from Dobbie's cross sent the ball into the path of Leon Britton inside the right of the Blues' box. Kennedy nudged Britton over once, but with the Swans midfielder still in possession, Kennedy then brought him down a second time causing Linington to award a penalty. Substitute Scott Sinclair stepped up and struck the ball low into the left of Lee-Barrett's net for his 23rd goal of the season in all competitions to give the hosts a 4-1 lead.
Swansea boss Brendan Rodgers swapped Dobbie for Andrea Orlandi with his side now cruising to a victory that would secure their place in the Championship playoffs, whilst the Blues were heading for their second successive thrashing over the Easter period. The hosts continued to look the more threatening, Lee-Barrett denying Dyer and Ashley Williams nodding over from a corner shortly before Dyer was replaced by Craig Beattie, who netted twice in his side's 3-1 win at Portman Road back in December.
Within the final ten minutes, Norris was booked for a challenge on Sinclair before substitute Beattie had a 25-yard shot deflected over the bar. Joe Allen then struck wide in the final minutes of stoppage time before Linington blew his final whistle to hand the points to Rodgers' team.
The result - and moreover the scoreline - will come as a major disappointment for Jewell and his Blues having hoped to recover from their derby thrashing, but despite a bright start, they had ultimately deserved little from the game. The absence of Wickham and Bullard was telling in a Town team again lacking cutting edge at the front, organisation at the back and quality throughout. Ipswich consequently stay in 13th in the Championship 2pts adrift of the top half, though Jewell will be hopeful of a return to their previous positive form back at Portman Road next Saturday when the Blues host Preston North End, who were relegated to League One on Monday.
Swansea: De Vries, Williams, Taylor, Monk, Rangel, Dyer (Beattie 79), Allen, Britton, Dobbie (Orlandi 72), Borini (Sinclair 46), Moore - Not used: Ma-Kalambay, Tate, Serran, Pratley
Ipswich: Lee-Barrett, McAuley (Brown 51), Delaney, Carson, O'Dea (Kennedy 46), Leadbitter, Edwards, Norris, Drury (Civelli 59), Healy, Scotland - Not used: Fulop, Peters, Hyam, Murray
Did you travel to the Liberty Stadium on Monday? Do you think this is proof that there is a gulf in class between Ipswich and the teams in the playoff places, or were we simply deflated by Thursday's derby defeat on this occasion? Have your say on this game as well as all things Town by joining Vital Ipswich: