GILLINGHAM 2-1 iPSWICH tOWN
Danny Rowe’s late header was not enough to prevent the first loss of preseason as Town were beaten by Gillingham at the Priestfield Stadium.
by ollie allen
Town Starting XI - Bialkowski (GK), Spence, Chambers, T.Smith, Knudsen, Ward, Bru, Downes, Celina, Sears, Garner
The goalless first half was of little chances with Joe Garner arguably having the best opportunity to put the away side in front. The recent acquisition was able to get an initial shot away at the Gill’s keeper Tomas Holy, the ball came back out of the goalkeeper and the follow up shot was cleared well off the line by a Gillingham defender.
McCarthy’s potential ‘want away’ midfielder Kevin Bru also went close to breaking the deadlock, the Mauritian international linked up well with Grant Ward but his eventual effort was comfortably saved by the opposition’s goalkeeper. Bart’s return from illness was good sign for Town as he was able to claw away a lobbed effort from the impressive Tom Eaves which was almost certainly going in.
The unchanged Town side went behind early in the second half as Luke Chambers supposedly brought down former Ipswich boy Lee Martin in the box, must to the dislike of the traveling away fans and the Ipswich players, the penalty was given. Tom Eaves (who was brilliantly denied by Bart in the first half) stepped up, wrong footed Bialkowski and put the hosts ahead.
Bersant Celina replied with a great effort after beating two Gill’s defenders before hitting his shot against the post, unlucky for a player who will be looking to impress the Ipswich fans next season.
Town XI from 70th Minute - Bialkowski (GK), Iorfa, C.Smith, Webster, Kenlock, Rowe (64th), McDonnell, Nydam, McKendry, McGoldrick, Morris
McCarthy’s changes were not able to prevent the Kent side from getting another goal as Scott Wagstaff produced a bit of magic to double the lead of the hosts. Wagstaff was able to elegantly cut in and the midfielder hit a crisp curled shot into the far corner of Town’s goal. All looked for doomed for Town as the game went into its final minutes but Danny Rowe was able to head in a McKendry cross to bring one back, but the Ex-Macclesfield man’s goal was not enough to keep Town’s hopes of winning the game alive.
Even though it is always nice to win these kinds of games, a loss on a gloomy away day in Kent will not prevent me from sleeping tonight. Celina once again showed promise with his great effort being denied by the post and Danny Rowe’s first goal for Town shows that the new boys are settling in well, which is of course a good sign. However, I think McCarthy needs to figure out his starting XI for Birmingham and fast.
Of course I am all for some of our great youth players getting a chance to impress in front of the fans and gaffer, but before we know it we will be playing the first game of the season. Obviously we do not need to field our first team for the entirety of the next two friendlies but it would be good for them to feel what it is like to play with each other and to see what play style suits the new signings.
I shall be attending the game at Colchester United on Tuesday and I hope that a more solid first XI will be chosen and instead of McCarthy playing around with the squad, he will put a team out which will be similar to the XI we will be seeing on August 5th.