PUBLISHED: 16:41 04 March 2019 | UPDATED: 16:53 04 March 2019
Kayden Jackson during Town U23’s 2-0 win over Burnley Picture: ROSS HALLS
Ipswich Town’s Under 23s beat Burnley 2-0 to move seven points clear at the top of the league. Andy Warren was there.
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Town players celebrate going 2-0 up against Burnley Picture: ROSS HALLSBurnley blown awayA day after Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp used heavy wind as an excuse for his side not beating Everton in the Premier League, denting their title challenge, the young Blues were able to negotiate tricky conditions to further their own hunt for silverware.The wind was swirling around Playford Road throughout this encounter, making things extremely difficult for both sides to play, but it was the Blues who handled things better.Idris El Mizouni gave Gerard Nash’s men the lead on 29 minutes as he converted well following a surging run down the right and a good cross from Kayden Jackson, before Barry Cotter cleverly back-heeled the second prior to the break following a high free-kick from Andre Dozzell.Kayden Jackson battles for the ball. Picture: ROSS HALLSThe Blues did survive Burnley rattling their crossbar twice and needed a superb double save from Harry Wright to keep the score at 2-0, but in the end they ran out comfortable victors.Their victory and a 1-0 defeat for nearest challengers Crystal Palace means Ipswich are now seven points clear at the top of the Professional Development League Two South table.In a season in which the first-team look destined for relegation to League One, the Under 23s could yet finish their campaign with silverware.MORE: Fuller Flavour: My heart feels broken, with no doubt more horrible defeats on the horizonKayden Jackson played 75 minutes Picture: ROSS HALLSJackson thrive?It’s been a frustrating 2019 so far for Ipswich Town’s No.9, who has played just 25 minutes of league football since the turn of the year and had to watch on from the bench throughout Saturday’s loss to Reading, despite being one of only two fit strikers at the club.Those frustrations were evident in this game too as he looked to get some much-needed minutes in his legs and looked to stay sharp in front of goal.He was harshly punished by a string of soft free-kicks before his frustrations got the better of him in the first half, as he was booked for kicking the ball away, while he was also the target for a string of niggly fouls from Burnley players.Barry Cotter back heels to score Town U23s second Picture: ROSS HALLSHe reacted to one such challenge in the second half before quickly being substituted. Jackson was deployed as a lone forward ahead of three attacking midfielders and, while his sights of goal were limited, he was a real threat from wide areas when he drifted into the channels.He ran with purpose and drove towards goal, while also delivering a string of dangerous balls into the box. His cross supplied the first goal and his pace was a threat throughout.With 11 games remaining and Ipswich destined for League One, it remains to be seen whether Jackson will be given the chance to impress between now and the end of the season.Barry Cotter beats his man and goes forward Picture: ROSS HALLSMORE: Stuart Watson’s Sunday Verdict: They think it’s all over… it is now – This season can do oneLooking to impressAnother player hoping for first-team action in the coming weeks is right-back Josh Emmanuel. He’s featured on the bench just once since returning from his loan at Shrewsbury in January and has had to make do with Under 23 football as he looks to impress Paul Lambert.Armando Dobra drives forward. Picture: ROSS HALLSHis ability as an attacking full-back is in no doubt and he displayed that side of his game throughout his time at Rotherham last season, where he won promotion at Wembley and picked up the club’s young player of the year award.His ability in the final third was in evidence here as he got forward well and set himself on the attack time and again with a good first touch.It’s the defensive side of his game where the questions lie but he answered many of those on this occasion. He was largely untroubled down the Ipswich right and produced a perfectly-timed sliding tackle in the box to thwart an attack in the first-half before, moments later, producing an expert block.Simon Dawkins beats his man during an impressive second half. Picture: ROSS HALLSThe 21-year-old’s contract’s up at the end of the season, although the club have to option to extend that deal by a further 12 months. He’ll hope to get the chance to show he’s deserving of a new one between now and the end of the season.MORE: North Stander: My lowest point in 52 years as a Blues fan…Let’s hope this is as bad as it’s going to getBiding his timeSimon Dawkins in action during Town U23’s 2-0 win over Burnley Picture: ROSS HALLSWe’ve seen very little of Simon Dawkins since his arrival as a free agent in January.He played 16 minutes as a substitute in the January win over Rotherham and has been an unused substitute three further times, with his Ipswich Town career yet to get off the ground.Dawkins is understood to be a popular figure in the dressing room and around the club and has been neat and tidy whenever he’s taken to the field for the Under 23 team.He is careful in possession, keeps the ball well and looks to bring others into play without being able to stamp his mark consistently.Andre Dozzell kept things ticking at Playford Road Picture: ROSS HALLSHe grew into this game following a quiet first half and produced some good moments in the second, most notably as he connected with a long Wright kick, beat his man and set up Tommy Hughes for a shot which was well-blocked.He had an effort of his own turned over by the Burnley goalkeeper minutes later.Dawkins’ short-term deal is up this summer.MORE: ‘Until it’s mathematically certain you never, ever give in’ – Lambert reacts to Reading defeat as gap grows to 12 pointsCorrie Ndaba captained the young Blues. Picture: ROSS HALLSHonourable mentionsWright’s double save really was top drawer as he first got down to his right to deny Will Harris before quickly getting to his feet and blocking the rebound from Tinashe Chakwana. He was superb with his feet, too, negotiating the wind superbly.The creative trio of Dozzell, El Mizouni and Armando Dobra linked up well throughout in little triangles and, behind them, Brett McGavin did the dirty work well and kept the ball moving.After coming on as a substitute Bailey Clements put in a good display, getting forward to support Dawkins down the left which helped the former Derby man come more and more into the game.Harry Wright made a superb double save to keep it at 2-0. Picture: ROSS HALLSThe Under 23s are a well-oiled machine and are good to watch, even in conditions such as these.