ALBION suffered another disappointing away day as a trio of first half goals blitzed the Brewers, Ipswich Town running out 4-0 winners at Portman Road.
Despite a promising opening to the game goals from Conor Chaplin, former Albion loanee Nathan Broadhead and Freddie Ladapo after the half hour mark saw Town heading towards a third successive win with Chaplin adding his second midway through the second half to continue The Brewers woeful run away to the Tractor Boys, a return of just one point from six visits making it one of Albion’s least favourite away days.
For the tough looking trip to in-form, promotion-chasing Town Dino Maamria freshened his side with three changes after the attritional goalless draw with Accrington Stanley last time out. Conor Shuahgnessy returned to the starting line-up for the first time since August, when he picked up an ankle injury against the Tractor Boys early in the reverse fixture. Further forward Maamria had more options despite on-loan striker Hassan Ahadme being ineligible to play against his parent club. Having made brief substitute appearances last week on their returns from injury, both Mark Helm and Jonny Smith returned to the side in place of Ahadme and Bobby Kamwa who dropped to the bench.
In a lively opening Massimo Luongo saw an early effort blocked by Shaughnessy who threw himself in front of the midfielder’s shot before Albion showed attacking intent with Dale Taylor getting on the end of an angled ball from Smith. In trying to get past Luke Woolfenden the ball appeared to hit the Town defender’s hand but referee Carl Boyeson waved away Albion’s appeals for a penalty. Woolfenden was then well position when Helm wriggled free in the box to swivel and put the ball into the six-yard box only for Woolfenden to head clear.
Albion’s high press was unsettling the Ipswich defence at times and a free kick presented a decent opportunity when Oshilaja’s first time shot, after Joe Powell’s effort had been half-headed clear came quickly to Taylor at the far post but the Irishman could not quite steer the ball on target.
Both Jasper Moon and John Brayford picked up yellow cards inside the first twenty minutes as referee Boyeson seemed to take a hard line approach having also booked Ipswich’s Harry Clarke for an early foul.
Ipswich managed to find their way through the Burton press at times and midway through the half they seized on the ball in midfield when a pass was blocked and got Freddie Ladapo in on the left but his shot was dragged across goal and wide of the far post. The striker was then denied by a challenge from Shaughnessy when Wes Burns tried to pick out the striker’s run into the box.
Conor Chaplin forced Craig MacGillivray into the first real save of the afternoon on 27 minutes when he was allowed space at the back post to exploit but Albion’s keeper was a good match for his effort.
CHAPLIN was the man on the mark just after the half hour mark with a sharp turn inside the box to find the bottom corner after Clarke and Burns had linked up down the right again.
Burns was the provider of Ipswich’s second goal on 38 minutes when. He did well to retrieve a ball down the right channel and find a low cross from right on the bye line that was right into the path of BROADHEAD who only had to side-foot home.
Albion found themselves three down on 42 minutes. A long searching ball was only half cleared and Chaplin was onto it in a flash to feed the ball through to LADAPO who fired past the advancing MacGillivray.
After a bright start the promotion contenders had flexed their muscles with a devastating eleven minutes spell.
Half time: Ipswich Town 3-0 Burton Albion
In search of a response in the second period Albion turned to the attacking options on the bench with both Josh Walker and Charlie Kirk introduced in place of Helm and Smith. Before they could get an early touch Ipswich threatened a fourth with Luongo sending a stinging drive inches wide of the post.
Kirk almost made an immediate impact with a teasing cross that Christian Walton in the Town goal could only punch clear with the ball landing at the feet of Brayford, the skipper’s drive flashing wide of the upright too.
Walker took up a central role and was instrumental in probably Albion’s best moment so far on 55 minutes turning his defender well to drive towards goal and feed Taylor to his right, Cameron Burgess tracking the striker’s run and getting a decent block in to concede a corner that ultimately came to nothing for the Brewers.
Albion made another change just after the hour with Kamwa replacing Brayford moments before Powell forced a decent save from Walton trying to catch the keeper off guard from a free kick and earning a corner as Walton made ground across his goal and shovelled the ball around the post.
Broadhead flashed an angled drive narrowly off target with MacGillivray at full stretch after some good work in midfield by Town skipper Sam Morsy to get Ipswich on the front foot again. Whilst Albion had a let off with that chance there was nothing MacGillivray could do a minute later when Ipswich worked the ball down the right and pulled the ball back for CHAPLIN on the edge of the box who found the back of the net via a deflection off Sam Hughes.
Albion turned to Mustapha Carayol with just under twenty minutes to go, the former Ipswich player sent on to give Taylor a breather after another hard working shift from the Nottingham Forest loanee.
Former Albion man Marcus Harness was on as a substitute by this point and his deflected shot forced MacGillivray into an awkward save away to his right to keep Harness off the scoresheet.
Harness was also denied at close quarters in stoppage time with MacGillivray making another smart stop and Shaughnessy clearing the danger to prevent Ipswich adding to Albion’s disappointing afternoon.
Albion’s search for a win in Suffolk continued with two home games to come in an effort to get back to winning ways.
ALBION: MacGillivray; Shaughnessy, Hughes, Moon Ashworth, 76); Brayford (Kamwa, 61), Oshilaja, Powell, Hamer; Helm (Kirk, 46), Taylor (Carayol, 73), Smith (Walker, 46).
Substitutes: Garratt, Lavelle.
GOALS: IPSWICH - Chaplin (31, 69), Broadhead (38), Ladapo (42)
Referee: Carl Boyeson
Attendance: 25,003 (147 away)