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Stuart Taylor pleased with Ipswich Town's performance in Arsenal Under-21s defeat in EFL Trophy

Stuart Taylor said he was pleased with Ipswich Town’s performance despite falling to a 2-1 defeat against Arsenal Under-21s in their EFL Trophy Group B opener at Portman Road last night, writes Dan Palfrey.

The Blues took the lead through Jon Nolan before a George Lewis strike on the stroke of half-time brought the Gunners level. The visitors took all three points thanks to a Flo Balogun winner in the second half.

“The scoreline was disappointing but the way we went about our job was good. It was pleasing,” Town’s assistant manager told iFollow Ipswich.

Ipswich Town's managerial team of (from left) assistant Stuart Taylor, first team coach Matt Gill and manager Paul LambertPicture: ITFC (42177376)
Ipswich Town's managerial team of (from left) assistant Stuart Taylor, first team coach Matt Gill and manager Paul LambertPicture: ITFC (42177376)

“We ended up with 17 shots or something like that, which was very good and it was pleasing in that sense.

“The league is our priority. It was last season and it’s no different this season. We will try and stay in the cups as long as we can.”

Corrie Ndaba was involved in a nasty collision with the Arsenal goalkeeper in injury time and Stuart gave an update on Corrie and also Toto Nsiala, who was due to start the game but was pulled out in the warm-up as a precaution.

“The worrying thing with Corrie is that we thought it was a clash of heads but actually he took a dead leg out of it. He’s feeling a lot better now and he’s fine.

“Toto was feeling it a little bit in his hamstring and we didn’t want to take a chance. From a precautious point of view, we took him off to rest him up.”

Nolan strike not enough as Blues lose Group B opener

Town made three changes to the team that beat Bristol Rovers 3-0 on Saturday, reports Mikey Hale.

Myles Kenlock replaced Stephen Ward while David Cornell was awarded his Blues debut in goal.

Corrie Ndaba, fresh from making his Blues bow in the first round of the Carabao Cup, was promoted from the bench to the starting line up after Toto Nsiala was withdrawn as a precaution.

The young centre back had Town’s first effort on goal just before the 10-minute mark, heading straight at Tom Smith in the Arsenal goal after Kenlock had won a corner down the left-hand side.

Aaron Drinan, another of Saturday’s debutants, was inches away from giving Paul Lambert’s side the lead five minutes later, hitting the post from a tight angle after being played through by Freddie Sears.

Nolan went one better with just under half an hour played, his close range volley being too strong for Smith after Alan Judge had headed back across goal.

Drinan looked like he might double the lead after racing onto a ball over the top from Teddy Bishop but a perfectly timed tackle from Gunners captain Mark McGuinness saw the chance go amiss.

Arsenal carved out their first real opportunity of the game just before half-time, Balogun having a shot blocked behind from just inside the box.

The young Gunners equalised from the resulting corner as Town couldn’t fully clear the danger and Lewis stroked the ball into the bottom corner of Cornell’s goal.

Steve Bould’s visitors moved in front after the restart, Balogun beating Cornell from inside the box after being played in behind.

Following on from the half-time introduction of Gwion Edwards, Huws and Norwood were also brought on early in the second period, the latter heading wide from inside the box.

Miguel Azeez wasn’t too far away from putting the game to bed midway through the half for the visitors, firing just over the bar from 25 yards.

Balogun once again proved to be a thorn in Town’s side a few moments later, having a shot blocked before his second effort was scuppered by Cornell.

Town came agonisingly close to equalising twice in the following two minutes.

First Judge’s header from six yards was turned around the post by Smith before Huws’ curled effort cannoned back off the underside of the bar.

Nolan could - and perhaps should - have netted his and Town’s second with five minutes remaining but he was denied by Smith when he was left in space inside the box.

Luke Chambers was frustrated by the in-form Arsenal ‘keeper from the resulting corner before Norwood had a shot blocked.

A Norwood flick was cleared off the line in stoppage time as Town couldn’t find the all-important equaliser, Ndaba being forced off in the closing stages to add to Blues' woes.

Town: Cornell, Chambers (C), Ndaba, Woolfenden, Kenlock, Nolan, Dozzell, Bishop (Huws 53), Judge, Drinan (Norwood 55), Sears (Edwards, 46).

Subs: Holy, Lankester, Wilson, Hawkins.

Arsenal U21: Smith, Alebiosy, Balogun (Cirjan 73), Bola, Cottrell, Lewis, McEneef (Azeez 46), McGuinness (C), Olayinka, M'Hand (Akinola 65), Oyegoke.

Subs: Hillson, Cirjan, Kirk, Ogungbo.