Match report: Ipswich 3, Forest 1
IN the past, visits to Portman Road have held happy memories for Lee Camp. But last night, he endured an evening of bad luck and misfortune that will linger on in the memory for different reasons.
On January 3, 2011, the Nottingham Forest keeper followed up a clean sheet and a 1-0 win by racing away from the ground after the final whistle to witness the birth of his son.
Last season, Camp played his part in securing a 3-1 win in the blue corner of Suffolk.
Last night Ipswich claimed just their second home win of the season in the Championship – and condemned Forest to just their second away defeat – as Camp and blundering referee Andy D'Urso took centre stage in most of the important moments within a 3-1 home victory.
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Camp was lucky not to be sent off by D'Urso after appearing to handle and bring down DJ Campbell after racing out of his box in the 16th minute, but then saw his fortunes change when his missed clearance allowed Guirane N'Daw to put Ipswich ahead after half an hour.
In the second half, D'Urso evened out one mistake with another, by awarding a soft penalty in the 62nd minute – which Camp brilliantly saved from Campbell, only for Luke Hyam to smash home the loose ball afterwards.
After seeing Wolves enjoy plenty of attacking menace down the flanks on Saturday, Forest tinkered with their formation slightly at Portman Road. Henri Lansbury moved into a wider position on the left, with Chris Cohen on the opposite flank as O'Driscoll opted for a more orthodox 4-4-2.
Forest suffered an early scare when Dexter Blackstock landed awkwardly following a challenge with former team mate Luke Chambers.
Chambers had not been in the Ipswich side that was held to a 1-1 draw by fellow strugglers Peterborough on Saturday, but he was restored to face the side he left on a free transfer in the summer – and almost made his mark as Blackstock needed lengthy treatment to what looked like a shoulder injury, following a robust clash between the pair.
It was not a foul by the former Forest skipper, but Blackstock was left to feel the force – and Forest to feel a few nerves, without any strikers on the bench, following the ankle injury sustained by Simon Cox at Molineux.
Ipswich, despite their recent poor form, began in confident fashion, building a steady spell of pressure in the opening 12 minutes, culminating in a chance that they will feel they might have converted.
When former Forest man Lee Martin swung in a cross from the Ipswich left Tommy Smith was left with almost a free header at the near post, but sent the ball arrowing straight into the midriff of a grateful Camp, who held the ball well.
The keeper was even more fortunate moments later, when he somehow escaped being sent off, much to the frustration of the home fans.
Camp was quick to race out of his box as Campbell chased an enticing N'Daw ball through the centre and not only did he appear to bring down the striker who would otherwise have had a good chance of skipping clear, but there was also a suspicion of handball.
Campbell did seem slightly eager to go to ground, which might have influenced referee D'Urso, but it still seemed to be something of a let off for the Forest man when, after much deliberation, D'Urso flashed a yellow card, rather than a red.
Forest's first moment of genuine menace did not come until the 25th minute, in the form of a surging run from Blackstock, who forced a reasonable save from Stephen Henderson – and earned a few complaints from Billy Sharp for failing to square the ball to him at the far post.
Suddenly the visitors seemed to have a little momentum however, with Elliott Ward then showing some nifty footwork to engineer a shooting chance from the edge of the box and test the reactions of Henderson, who had to get down well to block.
But another rush of blood to the head from Camp was to cost Forest in the 30th minute.
The keeper again charged out of his penalty area in an attempt to clear a through ball and failed to make proper contact. Despite the efforts of Danny Collins to clear the danger, N'Daw snaffled up the loose ball and hammered it gleefully into the back of an empty net from close range.
Forest responded with another short spell of pressure, as they launched an immediate search for an equaliser.
A vicious Adlene Guedioura free kick, after Simon Gillett had been fouled, was only parried by Henderson, with Ward seeing an equally powerful volley charged down at the far post after Dan Harding had fed the ball back into the danger zone. Guedioura then saw a spectacular volley blocked after more progressive passing from Forest, which had culminated in Lansbury delivering dangerously from the left.
A probing burst down the right from Alan Hutton saw him pick out Sharp in the centre, where the striker was denied as Henderson somehow managed to push his driven shot onto the bar. From the resulting corner, a Lansbury strike from the edge of the box was cleared amid a melee of players a few yards from goal.
Forest made a double change at the interval, with Andy Reid and James Coppinger introduced for Lansbury and Gillett as Forest went in search of some genuine width – and immediately looked stronger, with Reid forcing a save from Henderson with a low shot.
Camp made a brilliant stop to thwart Campbell after he had cleverly redirected a shot from N'Daw towards the opposite side of goal, with the keeper changing direction quickly to push away acrobatically.
Within seconds, Forest were level, following a well-crafted goal that began with Cohen on the left.
He slipped a pass to Sharp who laid on a shooting chance for Blackstock at the near post, where the striker provided a composed finish.
But referee D'Urso was to blunder for a second time, this time earning the adulation of the home fans for awarding the softest of penalties and ensuring Forest's parity lasted barely five minutes.
Campbell seemed to have simply lost his footing when changing direction in the box, in an attempt to elude Collins, who had done nothing more than wave a foot at the striker.
But D'Urso was quick to point to the spot and, while Camp guessed correctly, diving low to his left to push away Campbell's placed penalty, Luke Hyam was first to react to fire home the loose ball and make it 2-1.
As Forest pushed for an equaliser, substitute Daryl Murphy provided the killer touch on the break in the 90th minute, firing calmly beyond the advancing Camp to complete a painful evening for the keeper and for the Reds.
Ipswich: Henderson, Cresswell, Chambers, Campbell (Chopra 88), Edwards, N'Daw, Martin, Hyam (Drury 85), Smith, Orr, Barnett (Murphy 57). Subs: Loach, Hewitt, Higginbotham, Emmanuel-Thomas, Chopra.
Forest: Camp, Hutton, Ward, Collins, Harding (McGugan 78), Gillett (Reid 45), Cohen, Guedioura, Lansbury Coppinger 45), Sharp, Blackstock. Subs: Darlow, Moussi, Moloney, Ayala.
Referee: Andy D'Urso (Essex).