Home   Ipswich   Sport   Article

Subscribe Now

Ipswich Town boss Paul Lambert proud of his players after narrow Fulham EFL Cup defeat and says now time for Flynn Downes to fight for starting spot





Manager Paul Lambert was impressed with Ipswich Town's display, despite falling to a 1-0 defeat against Premier League side Fulham in the second round of the Carabao Cup at Portman Road last night, writes Jacob Henderson.

It took a fine goal to split the teams. Kenny Tete produced a sumptuous cross that was headed in by powerful Serbian forward Aleksandar Mitrovic as The Cottagers set up a third round tie with Sheffield Wednesday.

The visitors named an experienced line-up with the likes of Anthony Knockaert, Dennis Odoi, Neeskens Kebano and Mitrovic all involved - before Tom Cairney and Joe Bryan featured as second-half substitutes for Scott Parker's side.

Aleksandar Mitrovic scores what proved to be the winner past David Cornell for Fulham in the first half against Ipswich Town in the Carabao Cup at Portman Road Picture: ITFC (42293690)
Aleksandar Mitrovic scores what proved to be the winner past David Cornell for Fulham in the first half against Ipswich Town in the Carabao Cup at Portman Road Picture: ITFC (42293690)

"The size of the two clubs at the moment is completely different and they named a strong line-up," Paul told iFollow Ipswich.

"But it was a good game and we did well. It took a world class goal to beat us.

"I’m pleased with how we played. Some guys came into the team and I have nothing but praise for them.

"We were forced to make changes with some players having picked up knocks, and with three games in six days we needed to switch it up a bit.

"Overall I’m pleased with the performance. We didn’t take the game lightly because we wanted to progress, and there were plenty of positives."

He said he understands the rigmarole Flynn Downes is going through, and wants the midfielder to have the opportunity to focus on his football.

The Town man has been absent from the team since it was confirmed Blues had rejected a bid from Crystal Palace for him, but returned to action last night.

Flynn Downes made his return to the Ipswich team from the bench against Fulham Picture: ITFC (42293688)
Flynn Downes made his return to the Ipswich team from the bench against Fulham Picture: ITFC (42293688)

The 21-year-old came on as a second-half substitute against Fulham for his first competitive appearance of the season.

“We had a chat yesterday and I understand the rigmarole he has been going through,” Lambert said.

“You have to remember he’s only a young man. Now is the time to let him play his football.

“He has a fight on his hands to get back in the team. Teddy (Bishop), Doz (Andre Dozzell), Nolo (Jon Nolan) and Emyr (Huws) are all doing well.

“There’s good competition in that area. Let’s let Flynn get back out there and focus on playing.”

MATCH REPORT:

Town exited the Carabao Cup at the second round stage after falling to a 1-0 defeat against Premier League Fulham at Portman Road, writes Dan Palfrey.

Summer recruit Oli Hawkins was handed his full debut by Paul Lambert.

Aleksandar Mitrovic netted the winner in the first half with a powerful header and the Serbian could have put his side 2-0 up just before the half-time whistle - but he was denied at close range by Town shot-stopper David Cornell.

Fulham didn’t take long to get into the groove, in the first minute of the game, Anthony Knockaert blazed over from 12 yards out after Neeskens Kebano had teed him up. The visitors continued to search for an opener, this time Frank Anguissa saw a well-struck volley from the edge of the area skim just wide of the mark.

Town were trying to get a foothold in the game as Gwion Edwards spun his marker and got in behind the Cottagers backline, the Welshman’s cross found Hawkins who got a toe to the ball, but he saw his effort trickle wide.

Blues’ resolve was broken on 38 minutes as Mitrovic opened the scoring, heading in from a fine Kenny Tete cross. The Serbian almost doubled his tally on the stroke of half-time but Cornell produced a low save for Town.

Flynn Downes replaced Andre Dozzell on 58 minutes. A minute later, Cornell kept the deficit to one with a magnificent double save from close range. First the Welshman turned away a Mitrovic header before standing strong to deny Bobby De Cordova-Reid from two yards out.

Paul Lambert introduced James Norwood and Alan Judge to the game before Cornell was called into action again, this time beating away a fierce strike from Tom Cairney, who came on for the visitors just after the hour mark. Chances continued to come for Fulham with Frenchman Kebano inches away from curling home a free-kick from 25 yards out.

Town pressed for an equaliser to force a penalty shootout. Gwion Edwards' left-footed strike in the 90th minute was saved comfortably by PSG loanee Alphonse Areola and Fulham held strong to book their place in round three against Sheffield Wednesday.

Town: Cornell, Donacien, Nsiala (C), Wilson, Kenlock, Nolan (Judge 69), Dozzell (Downes 58), Huws, Dobra, Hawkins (Norwood 69), Edwards.

Subs: Holy, Chambers, Bishop, Sears.

Fulham: Areola, Tete, Odoi, Kebano, Mitrovic (C), Knockaert, De Cordova-Reid, Lemina (Cairney 63), Le Merchand, Anguissa (Reed 69), Robinson.

Subs: Fabri, Hector, Bryan, Cairney, Francois, Cavaleiro.

Read more: All the latest Ipswich Town news