Ipswich strike late at Portman Road to seal maximum points.
Ipswich struck late at Portman Road to seal all three points in a 1-0 win against the Gills on Tuesday evening.
Teddy Bishop beat Joe Walsh, who had come on to replace the injured Jack Bonham, with an impressive effort to prevent Steve Evans’ men from securing at least a point after producing a much improved second half display.
Vadaine Oliver hit the post in stoppage time with Alex MacDonald having seen a golden opportunity pass him by following some excellent work from Dominic Samuel.
Steve Evans made four changes to the side that lost to Fleetwood on Saturday, two of which forced upon the Gills boss with Connor Ogilvie missing out through suspension and Tommy O’Connor injured.
Josh Eccles and Scott Robertson also missed out so Christian Maghoma, Rob McKenzie, Alex MacDonald and Kyle Dempsey all came into the starting XI.
It was a lively start at Portman Road with both teams having half chances in the opening six minutes. An early effort from McKenzie was deflected wide for a corner, while at the other end a ball over the top set Freddie Sears through on goal. The bounce slowed up the striker, allowing Maghoma to get back and put hi man off.
Sears was involved again soon after; cutting in from the left he saw an opportunity to test Bonham. He went for goal from 20 yards but an out stretched leg caught his effort and it ran wide for a corner which Gills did well to defend at the near post.
On 15 minutes Ipswich came within inches of taking the lead. Graham fouled Sears 25 yards from goal, slightly left of centre, and Andre Dozzell decided to try his luck. His effort got up and over the wall, Bonham was at full stretch to his right but the ball brushed the side netting and out for a goal-kick.
Five minutes later and the referee controversially stopped play as Freddie Sears tapped the ball home. A ball over the top sent the striker on his way and Maghoma was back to try and shield the ball into the path of Bonham. Medley was arriving on the scene and Bonham made contact with one of his defenders, and Sears, before losing grip on the ball as he fell. Sears tapped it home, but the whistle had already gone.
Moments later and the woodwork came to Gills rescue. Jack Lankester was unmarked inside the box and, from 12 yards, struck the underside of the crossbar with an excellent toe poke. Gills defended the loose ball well and survived the scare, but Jack Bonham went down inside his own six-yard box for a second time, and after close assessment, it was decided he could not continue. Joe Walsh came on to make his professional league debut.
Within seconds Ipswich won a free-kick inside the Gills box, only for Sears to guide it wide before Maghoma’s vital interception prevented Walsh from being tested from point blank range.
The start of the second half was quieter to what it had been in the first, and it took ten minutes for some meaningful action to take place. Akinde knocked the ball past a man on the halfway line and chased it himself; he kept the ball in play, evaded another challenge and headed towards the penalty area. He looked up, pulled it back for Samuel whose effort was blocked.
Moments later and Gills had a golden opportunity to take the lead. Samuel turned provider this time, he had time and space on the right side and picked out MacDonald at the far post who was in yards of space. With just former Gills keeper Tomas Holy to beat, the midfielder failed to make the desired contact and pulled his shot too far across the Ipswich number one.
Gills were much better following the interval and asked more questions of the Tractor Boys. Tucker had a couple of headers saved before Medley’s powerful left footed shot had to be punched clear.
At the other end Gwion Edwards came close to putting Ipswich ahead; a low ball from the right forced Jackson to make a last ditch challenge, managing to get the ball away from his man, and then the penalty area altogether.
Ryan Jackson was forced off due to injury so Scott Robertson came on in his place as Gills continued to attack in search of a winner. Samuel had an effort dealt with by Holy inside the box following some strong hold up play by John Akinde.
With Gills looking good for a point, their resilience was finally broken with five to play. Teddy Bishop had time just outside the box and curled an effort beyond Walsh who could do nothing about it. 1-0.
Five minutes added time was awarded and Gills nearly got themselves on level terms through sub Vadaine Oliver whose header came back off the post with Holy beaten.
Ipswich Town: Holy, Chambers, McGuinness, Woolfenden, Ward, Dozzell, Bishop (Bennetts 90), Lankester (Huws 76), Edwards, Hawkins, Sears (Dobra 68).
Unused subs: Cornell, Nsiala, Kenlock, Simpson.
Gills: Bonham (Walsh 33), Jackson (Robertson 77), Tucker, Maghoma, Medley, MacDonald, McKenzie, Graham, Dempsey (Oliver 90), Akinde, Samuel.
Unused subs: Coyle, Willock, Eccles, Woods.
Referee: Mr A Coggins