Stevenage left bemused by ‘penalty’ decision as Ipswich progress in Capital One Cup
- Credit: Archant
Match report: Ipswich Town 2 Stevenage 1
It was a case of so near, so far for Stevenage as they fell just short of a cup upset at Portman Road.
Having taken the lead in the first period before conceding twice in the second, Teddy Sheringham’s men were then awarded a penalty late in the game only for the referee to change his mind.
With Dean Parrett dancing forward with feet of trickery, he bamboozled the home defence until he got into the Town box.
There, he collided with a player and both fell to the floor. The assistant flagged and the referee blew for a penalty, only to then chat with his fellow official and change his mind. Instead, a drop ball was awarded and with it Stevenage’s hopes of victory disappeared into the Ipswich night.
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Before the game Ipswich screened highlights of the last time these two sides met, in the same round of the same competition two years ago.
That day Boro won 2-0 but it is noticeable how much the club’s personnel has changed in the subsequent 24 months, for of the 18 players in the Stevenage squad in 2013 only one – Chris Day – remains at the club.
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Indeed, making his first start for the club tonight was Jamie McCombe, while Tom Pett returned to the fold following a hamstring injury to give better balance to the side. Up top Dipo Akinyemi was given the opportunity to lead the line, and he did not disappoint.
The Stevenage defence was tested early when former Bournemouth striker Brett Pitman headed just wide while for Boro both Charlie Lee, with a low drive, and Fraser Franks, with a diving header, saw chances deflected off target.
Akinyemi – comfortable on the ball and aware of his team-mates’ runs – began to dominate the Ipswich back line.
He teed up Dave McAllister for an effort at goal, but the midfielder sliced his shot wide, and then minutes later he set up Parrett for the game’s opening goal.
Collecting a pass on the edge of the box the midfielder still had work to do; he got a slice of luck getting the ball past the defender, and then had an even bigger slice when his shot was saved by Dean Gerken and it bounced off the retreating Christophe Berra and hit the back of the net.
The visiting fans were delighted, but they were soon back on the edge of their seats as Ipswich laid siege to their goal.
A wonderful piece of control saw David McGoldrick bring the ball down before spraying a 50 yard pass out wide for Pitman. The striker was already on his way when the pass was sent, and collecting it he got inside the defender only to fire wide of the far post.
Jay Tabb then got in on the action, but his shot followed the same path as Pitman’s and Boro’s lead remained intact at the break.
Boro made two changes at half-time with McAllister and Akinyemi making way for Dale Gorman and Brett Williams, and less than 10 minutes later the hosts were back on level terms when debutant Josh Yorwerth nodded in from a corner.
Day was then called upon to make two superb stops; firstly, he scooped away Pitman’s header from close range, and then he kept out McGoldrick’s point blank effort as Ipswich went for the jugular.
Gorman then fired well wide from distance before, back at the Boro end, Day watched on as Luke Chambers headed wide.
At last, Ipswich scored. They had been beating at the door over the course of the half, and when, with 15 minutes to go, McGoldrick was played in by Pitman down the right the striker picked out the unmarked Tabb at the far post for the tap-in.
Day was called upon to make another couple of saves as Ipswich then started to pick apart a Boro side keen to break, and the hosts were able to hold on to their lead to avenge their defeat from two years ago.
Ipswich Town: Gerken, Chambers, Berra, McGoldrick, Pitman, Coke, Tabb, Douglas, Yorwerth, Kenlock (Smith 76), Toure (Fraser 46). Subs: Bialkowski, Murphy, Sears, McDonnell, Benyu.
Stevenage: Day, Franks, Okimo, Wells, McCombe, Pett, McAllister (Gorman 46), Parrett, Lee, Schumacher (Conlon 78), Akinyemi (Williams 46). Subs: Jackson, Hughes, Casey, Johnson.
Ref: F Graham