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In the future when all's well.......
at 19:51 22 Apr 2017

The season over in April and a short taste of summer on a cool, sunny day. Nine changes for Mick as he looked over those we’d seen less of this term. Gerken came back between the sticks. The familiar pairing of Smith and Chambers the only one. Kenlock and Emmanuel back inside the side-lines at full back. Diagouraga sitting with Dozzell and Bishop, out wide Samuel and Rowe. Pitman the lone striker.

An opening minute of head tennis saw neither side take control of anything. The lack of fluency showed as Ward lead the line for the Millers and showed why Town might be looking at him as much as anyone in Blue. After ten or so minutes Chambers struggled with him and the ball in the box, the ricochet falling between Gerken and the onrushing red. Emmanuel clumsily flew in from behind to give the hosts a chance to draw first blood.

A well struck spot-kick, a dive to his left and Gerken palmed away. The palpable belief from the few home fans that had bothered with the spectacle clearly evaporated as Town scrambled away. The stopper in lime green will never escape comparisons with the Pole but his first half showing between the posts was reasonable enough.

One good punch and little else, he was off his line smartly and his choice of kicking allowed Town to play out of the back. The rigidity of the 433 gave way on around the 20 minute mark to complete amorphousness beyond the defence. Town were never free-flowing, at our finest perhaps gelatinous.

Rowe swapping sides whilst Samuel went up top on his own, Pitman filled a sort of neither/or role between strike partner and wide outlet. Winning cross-field long kicks in the air admirably, but losing the battle with himself all game.

There had been neat triangles of football deep in midfield allowing the full backs to get involved, and Rotherham’s strict structure and punt to Ward policy meant that Dozzell and Bishop both alternated behind the striker and at LCM. Whoever took the latter role drawn out wide to meet the oncoming attacker as needed.

It was in this period that Town carved out the better chances off the half. Rowe was clearly designated set-piece taker, his delivery consistently deep and troublesome. All of his corners found the last man, but not the first touch goalward. It was a freekick from just inside the touchline and just outside the box that saw him swing his left foot through the ball and whip across goal for the first time. When Samuel won one on the opposite side of the box, Pitman worked a baffling chipped effort from Diagouraga’s layoff that did nothing but alarm fans instead of foes.

Bishop and Dozzell had perhaps had the focus of the most hope, if not all the eyes of Town fans on them with every touch. The lack of understanding amongst the lineup saw both miss runners and momentum and restricted us to safer five yard passes around their men. The youngster who would turn one, then nutmeg another was nowhere to be seen; as the older version of the Blue #7 meticulously tried to get Town playing but couldn’t. He had the ball, he had the brain, but not the belief it seems.

It was about 28 minutes before Bishop found Kenlock and not just empty space ahead of him with throughball. The assured left back on the overlap and Ted sent him flying down the line. His cut in, cut out and Town won another corner. Rotherham meanwhile were using the hold up play of their bigger striker Morris to unleash Ward. Emmanuel not long after the penalty was more comfortable shepherding the smaller striker away from goal having stayed the right side every other time. Had the hosts’ #10 had hold up play any better than his attitude we might have been in trouble all afternoon.

Rowe was the really moving into centre-stage as most of Town’s better moves seemed to involve him. A shot towards goal as he ran diagonally in from Dozzell’s visionary pass. The low rifle caused all sorts of problems from the man stepping up from the National League. Just behind him in terms of movement and effort was Samuel, he made that literal as his rebound also failed to find the net. The keeper and then the woodwork conspiring to deny Town who had hoped to ride the limited pressure of a team already sunk.

Half time came just as Ward again tried to run clear. Clutching a clearly pulled hamstring he hobbled towards the throw in he’d won, sat down and the referee seemed to sense his anguish as much as ours and blew up. The image of the striker sitting forlorn and broken encapsulated a half of football with all the feel of a friendly and warmth of an afternoon in Yorkshire.

An unsettled and unnerving half saw only Rotherham make the obvious change. Ward unable to continue was replaced by someone else you’ve probably not heard much from before. If Burton had a side that looked like a Championship calibre swapsies pile of players which few others needed let alone wanted, Town played along with the theme of fielding strangers.

It didn’t take long before the unimpressive Ajeyi went off injured or sick and tired. His distribution had stopped both teams playing often enough and caused Rotherham to shuffle around a bit. Their midfielder dropping back before firing wide at the post in another unlikely effort.

The lumpy afternoon from Diagouraga saw the big man slow down again. His movement dropping in contrast to those ahead of him. Rowe dipped the ball forward perfectly and Pitman seized on the bounce. Further out than his effort a week ago, he again failed to find the target despite the much better build up but none of the breaks.

Mick’s lack of shape saw Town move to a strange 4-2-2-2 with the deflated Bishop removed for Moore. The lofty striker seemed steely and determined, his first chance to score saw even his long legs too short to stud home on the slide. A good move down the right saw Pitman ass the ball across the goal thanks to the legs of Emmanuel and then thrust forward of Rowe.

It was the two recently non-league men than combined to allow Rowe to have beautiful effort clipped wide. Moore stood between two defenders and blocked the view of the keeper long enough to shield the ball down to the diminutive strawberry-blonde winger. No peach, and little sweet about the continued struggle against such low-hanging fruit.
The waspish frustration only increased when it was the second of such attempts to beat a keeper with little natural ability.

If Ipswich were to take a lead they needed to remove the shackles that seemed to slow down so many moves across the pitch. The unorthodox nature of the gigantic striker meant he so often looked like a crane when we needed a wrecking ball. Neither Rowe or Samuel seemed to find their mark. However, the Reading striker showed great technique and comprehension of Blues’ attacking intent. I’d like to see more of him.

Emmanuel beat his man then turned back on himself to cross nicely with his weaker foot. The godfearing Samuel had no divine right to score, but he deserved better than the save off the legs of O’Donnell.

With little left of the contest and Bru coming into central midfield, marked a shift in approach. If Diagouraga has hopes of staying in Mick’s plans he needs to complete 90 minutes and do so to a much higher standard. The same might be said for many of those out there. Dozzell shifted into a deeper role that allowed him to become more of a playmaker. That left foot of his could level an entire city in the right contest.

However, it was Ipswich who would give way in a fashion that summed up so much that is wrong with this season. A reasonably well defended corner saw the ball pushed back to half way. It was the half measures all day that meant it wasn’t too surprising to see a mortar round drop in the area and no one scramble. The solid centre backs afforded one momentary lapse and the hosts fired themselves ahead and into a brief moment of escapism. A rocketing lead taken well enough, but as the whole game had shown.
Questions were far more prevalent than answers.

Sears emerged to play out the last few minutes as Town threw everything forward. Rowe making an impressive debut in uncertain circumstances. If Oar was not the answer, it’s impossible to know if Rowe is. More aggressive and industrious, he is more like Anderson or Roberts which must be why Mick likes him.

Moore on the other hand put in arguably his best shift for Town, again off the bench. Not everything went his way, and his shove on Mattock at the corner flag either non-league experience being shown up, or revenge for the left back’s earlier diving misdemeanours in a game littered with bad tackling, bad passing, bad shooting and a bad taste in the mouth. The Forest Green import was clearly having his shirt tugged but not his attention as he headed back a corner past the keeper, only to see it booted off the line and away.

There was little noise all game. A few strained lines again telling Mick McCarthy what a dozen or so thought of his football and an inflatable dinosaur upturned on the concourse said as much about today and this year as the few hundred who spent most of the game silent. There might have been little on the pitch to shout about, but you hope that today might settle the arguments about who we need next year in and around the squad.

It’s fair to say that Rotherham are possibly the worst side I’ve seen in the decade and a half we’ve been a Championship club. What such an experimental side told Mick exactly we might not see for a few weeks. To say it blew up in his face today would be too much, we simply didn’t get much of a reaction at all let alone a meaningful result.
No subject
at 15:59 22 Apr 2017

Weird game and hard to draw many conclusions. Rowe is the he standout Brooke at home and eager Samuel has had little service, looks the part but needs to prove it

Kenlock looks every bit a champ player josh way behind but the raw talent is there. You sense a few are showing why they will or won't be here next season

Ward pulled up with a hamstring right on half time. He's all they had. Easily the worst side at this level I've seen
Is McDonnell done?
at 17:59 20 Apr 2017

I'm assuming no mention, therefore no sign of him at Rotherham? He was one to get the nod last season at this point, has he just been overtaken?

Personally these games come as a small treasure at the end of a season's disappointment. This year especially. It's nice to get us looking forward and seeing who might be making waves in the following campaign.

Was hoping to see Nydam, and whether or not Dozzell has improved sufficiently to cut it in the side now. I'd favour Mick making as many changes as possible to see who are likely partners and candidates for game time. If Rowe and Kenlock looking promising for example or Bishop and Diagouraga it gives us more to think about.

After Monday's reminder of what we're capable of it couldn't come at a better time.
Watson at the centre of it now on twitter
at 19:14 17 Apr 2017

Not sure if the follow ups will post or you'll need to click on it to read them. Seems to have done the trick of dividing fans instead of uniting them tonight unfortunately.
What a great half of football eh?
at 15:59 17 Apr 2017

Really built upon Friday night for me. Completely different teams from the St James Park fixture. Today we have a midfield and it shows. Shelvey has only had that volley go his way compared to a few months ago.

Murphy looks like he badly needs a partner. Chambers is marking him like he owes him a tenner. The captain looks well up for this, and bar some dodgy passes in the first 30 from Spence the back four works so much better for me.

Really enjoying watching Kenlock go for two MOTM performances on the bounce. Atsu seemed to mug him and Huws in the first few minutes, and is a hell of a test. He's been reduced to cutting in and crossing from deep which says so much.

Officials are pretty weak aren't they? Missing fouls, players, injured and Newcastle paid for just thinking they could throw themselves down when beaten for pace. McGoldrick bossing the CB's with those runs just too far ahead of them into the channels is letting the widemen work.

That goal was exactly what Sears should be doing. On the angle from out wide, no time to think, just hit it. To think who else but Ritchie tried to alter the game with a dive in the box, but not the header. Then we go up the other end and do that.

The pass from Huws which sent Sears away and the one from Kenlock in the build up to the goal was exactly the type of play which looked good Friday. Win the ball back, find a gap and put the defenders in the back foot.

Still doesn't feel like we're comfortable, but Newcastle look like a side faltering to me. Think it says a lot that Bart hasn't really looked in trouble yet either. That punch an acceptable moment of danger.

The big win for me though is Ward. Maybe having that space today on the FPR pitch is what he needs, but he's grafting and getting the rewards often enough to make it count.
Team news
at 14:01 17 Apr 2017

No changes! Murphy starts

[Post edited 17 Apr 14:02]
Who on TWTd had dinner at Aqua8 tonight?
at 22:21 16 Apr 2017

I am very jealous

A few impressions of what we'd be getting from Maurice Steijn
at 18:33 15 Apr 2017

If Maurice Steijn is to replace Mick it seems we’re in for something of an interesting ride I’d suggest. Something about Mick’s body language at the end of the game really didn’t sit well with me, maybe I'm just making 5 from 2+2 here. As I said last night we were all celebrating and the players were joining in while he stood as far away as humanly possibly not acknowledging it, just shaking hands of everyone walking past. I do feel like he’s had enough and will go.

Part of me hopes he stays, gets a massive budget to build a team and wins the league, then the Europa and a cup or two. But from practical standpoint, the likelihood of Steijn seems so un Evans-like on the surface I had a bit of a nose about of some footage.

It seems he was a midfielder who scored only 7 goals in his career, spending most of it in the second tier and ending it in the top flight. I didn’t spot any footage of him as a player but I’m not always sure that’s the best marker of a manager’s approach anyway. (

As a man/manager there are some early incidents that seem to define him. He’s clearly a tracksuit manager and a talker based on the footage I could find. Here’s him getting sent to the stands during a game

You can make your own mind up about the incident, but it does happen at least once a season at most levels. Some would call it passion, others stupidity I guess. But it’s very reminiscent of Mick’s animated manner at times without the restraint of experience.

Then there’s this incident, where he clearly kicks an opposing player into the air. I could only find terrible footage of it, and a small article condemning it. Together it sheds an arguably negative light on him. But also makes him stand out as someone with character.
tackles player during game Article condemning it linked here

I know the initial rumours came through the Swansea fella on twitter etc. It seems early in his career a pre-season friendly with Swansea when Monk was captain and Laudrup manager saw his side lose 1-0.

The main difference between his side then and where we are now seems to be the very high defensive line and flat banks of players. A lone striker looked to be the main attacking focus.

More recently are these highlights of a game for his current side who has won promotion with in the second tier. You can see some shocking defending, but both periods of his management seem to emphasise hard work, and although the long balls are there too his side plays with a confidence we are sorely missing right now.

You can see it here in a goals compilation. Obviously, the standard between us and the second Dutch tier is hard to speculate on. I guess most of the teams he played against are more like Burton than Newcastle. But even the gloss of a highlights package shows some football we’d all love to see surely?
VVV Venlo highlights celebrating their promotion yesterday.

One last note is recruitment. I have no idea if he’d bring many of his current side with him if any. But right now he had Zelalem from Arsenal on loan, someone I was hoping we might look at this year if he was available. If that was the calibre of signing he could bring we’d be onto a good thing.

Venlo also had links to an agent that saw begin importing Japanese players from 2008 and it seems they have one still on the books. It makes you wonder if his experience and worldview will be so alien in terms of markets and ideas that it really would herald a massive step change for Town, making the link more or less likely depending on your opinion.
It just wasn't like the old Mick anymore
at 00:55 15 Apr 2017

The ghosts of Ipswich past perhaps haunt the moans of Ipswich present, but tonight was a visit to the potential Ipswich future. It’s easy to forget that not all Championship teams are equal and the sheer miniature scale of Burton is genuinely impressive. A tiny ground clearly well-suited to the return to the lower leagues they had left behind and were hoping to avoid. A set of results from this afternoon meant Town’s comfort zone from the drop had the potential to shrink.

Bart had a back four of Spence and Kenlock in full back berths and Berra and Chambers inside. The rest of the side fluctuated between 442 and 4231 all half and all game. Lawrence began on the left and McGoldrick was always central but fleeting between frontman and support act. Sears had much of his best work on the touchline but came to the middle constantly when called upon. Ward operated more like a number 10 as Huws and Skuse were the pistons in the engine room.

Burton seemed to change formation like the wind. Brayford acting as a sweeper then a right back as the first half progressed. Like our own ex-Colchester man Sordell too flitted from striker to winger with Lloyd Dyer up and down the left flank. Loanee and Town target Woodrow was aimed with firing the bullets centrally and had the experienced Kightly just behind him pulling the strings in contrasting method to our own McGoldrick.
Only a footballing hipster might call the tactical machinations of this one fascinating. Disarming might be a better word.

Both sides had their moments in a first half where Town’s first breakthrough saw a McGoldrick shot palmed away as the keeper went low towards the post. It was a smart save and smarter shot as the torrential drizzle that blasted the country all day showed no sign of relenting.

When the ball did touch the skiddy surface for brief moments both teams struggled to keep it down. Bart’s first save was a fairly timid collection. Both sides struggled to fire on target. Sears had a trio of crosses from long direct runs down the white line. The first one long and just about dealt with, the next one short and cleared away, the latest one a shallow cut to McGoldrick who danced inside but on his weaker foot swirled a drive past everyone and whipping over the bar.
There was space in behind the Burton backline and it was Sears’ ceaseless running that often found it. Lawrence too had his moments. Cutting in from the left to dink another goal-like drive just past the post. His next attempt saw a smart backheel go to Myles Kenlock instead and opening the defence.

Whereas a neat interception, Skuse to Huws sent Sears free to wondrous effect, also down our right flank Lloyd Dyer was finding joy against an out of sorts Jordan Spence. The right back seemed to think he was always back at wingback and left Chambers exposed and frustrated more than once.

One moment saw Kenlock charge along the six-yard line to header clear behind both men on the corner of the smaller box. Another meant Bart too, got an earful from the captain after Chambers sliced out under pressure needlessly.

While Kenlock was repeatedly frustrated going forward he made it count when he did, it was a rarer sight to see a man get behind him and not have Berra to contend with. A fussy official sometimes found against Town in dangerous areas, but even an early challenge through the back of the Scot from Woodrow didn’t yield a yellow card. It was an odd atmosphere in the tiny ground, the distant prospect of a relegation fight pacifying the nerves of the terrace to some extent until a close call came careering into view.

Australian Irvine Jackson seemed another player charged with just getting in the way in the middle and onto anything he could. He looked like a carboot Andy Carroll, at half time one fellow, fairer TWTDer suggested he played more like a knock-off Fellaini. The ponytail certainly flicked everywhere when one corner saw him clearly volley the ball with a perfect spike technique then snatch at it with a high boot to negligible effect.

Town meanwhile looked more comfortable when one of the few more industrious sides in the league, gave us time to work a little bit. There were celebrations when the underwhelming Ward was charged down outside the box by three or so defenders.

Kenlock diverted the deflection goalward past everyone. If there were scenes they were more soap opera calibre. The late flag of the lino scrubbed clean what seemed a perfectly good goal. Half time twitter stills did little to shake the belief of the travelling fans, but it was clear the Blues’ on the pitch were more than put out.

With a chunk of the half still left to play Sears had the next most clear-cut opportunity to take a Town lead. His finish from just on the angle at close range, second right. McGoldrick getting free again with the kind of touches that turn a sketchy half into a moment of art. Freddie could only blaze high and wide when at least a save was required.

The second half saw a little change from Town whose approach had been largely good enough to deserve more than their hosts, but still (as was ever a pattern this season) had nothing to show for it.

Spence moved inside as both teams flirted with wingbacks. Lawrence seemed to drift into the gaps Ward had failed to occupy and the strikers looked more forced into a partnership. Still it was Sears chasing down Turner and winning hard yards on the break as Sordell gave way to Varney as soon as both teams emerged. The popular former Blue got his disco-tinged welcome and warm applause. He soon deserved it.

Town’s first memorable second spell assault on goal forced a corner. Lawrence whose delivery had been somewhat erratic whipped a beautiful ball in. It was attacked by all in a 5 yard radius and crashed into the net for Town’s second goal of the game and first that really counted. Chambers celebrated wildly, more than the hundreds throbbing in front of him. It seemed an almost magical header from him to take the leader based on his reaction, and it turns out it was. Reg again scoring when Town needed it most.

“He’ll want to make up for that” an Irish voice said behind me minutes later. Those words were foreboding despite the friendly accent. Bart was soon tested properly for the first time by a Kightly drive as the former McCarthy man looked to give Mick another highlight to consider. He and Varney would prove dangerously clever in attack and combined to beat Berra but not Skuse who again put in a timely defensive stop to restart a Town attack.

The home side sensing the need to level came at Town and pushed and pressed. This not only unsettled us, but upset our shape. The upshot being it did the same to Burton and allowed numerous attacks and counter attacks from either side on either flank.

A good move down the right saw Town flash the ball across goal as they realised the gaps behind the Brewers’ defence were prime real estate for runners to attack driven crosses. When one fell to McGoldrick just outside the six-yard box, so did he under clear physical involvement from two defenders, to add insult to injury Varney handled the clean up by palming the ball out for a corner. Two penalties, not one given. The resultant corner was another of Lawrence’s less notable efforts and despatched.

It fell to Myles Kenlock to catch the eye and evade the gaze of yellow shorts. A computer game like run, with Sears on his shoulder. Finally, he let it go to the striker, who after clattering his first go off the keeper used the space created to produce a mega drive into the net. He looked almost embarrassed to celebrate it in front of the jubilant Suffolk crowd in front of him.

Huws was less shy having won the ball back in our half to start the move. Catching the attention of a few fans and mouthing and fisting his pleasure our way. As gentlemanly handshakes ensued. The captain appeared from stage left to nearly remove Sears’ head in celebration then hug Kenlock in congratulatory style for an uncomfortable length of time. His joy doubled, his joy real for all to see.

Clough Jnr. seemed to rejig his side constantly, it was hard to tell if it was tactical nous or his bum squeaking that called the changes. A double sub saw Kightly and Woodrow withdrawn. The winger Akin and another Fulham player came on. Their target was clearly Kenlock. His youth seemed to be the reason for exploiting the full back who had put in an excellent shift so far.

Town went back to a flat back four at some point probably, but by the time Pitman replaced Didzy it was all about defending the lead. That was soon shortened as Varney came together with Kenlock and skidded to the turf. The referee was unusually quick to point straight to the spot. Akin despatched it viciously and the home fans finally made some noise. We all did our best to suck it up with sharp intakes of breath.

If the young left back stole the MOTM award from Sears, it was the goalscorers’ endless pursuit of balls over the top and down the flank that won him much of the plaudits tonight. However, when Pitman did the same and was sent clean through you could almost feel the away end ready to celebrate. The deadly reputation came with a dry heave as a tame shot clattered of an admittedly quick to cover keeper.

Smith emerged from the bench to shore up during injury time. The less than fully functioning Lawrence finally withdrawn, so seemed the result. Before the game could come to an end Bart tipped over what looked like an exquisite chip. It possibly hit Berra or another body to gain so much upspin as the Pole adjusted to push it onto the bar and out.

It would have been a cruel finish and result as Town thoroughly deserved their win tonight. If at times ironic chants and mockery of the East Midlanders’ inability to draw level or keep Town out was interspersed with renditions of “Ipswich til I die”.

As the players gleefully celebrated at the full-time whistle and the fistpump returned like a long-lost friend. Mick stood at the dugout shaking every hand that passed him by of either colour. No glance to the Blues in the away end, no sign of his name being sung all night.

We rise to our familiar 15th as we put the season and the final meaningful game to bed tonight. What remains now will surely see us lay the ground work for next season. Whatever that might bring.

at 20:35 14 Apr 2017

Anyone know why the goal was ruled out? Would have topped a motm type start for kenlock. Decent passages for both sides but spence is having a poor half and putting chambers under pressure.

Feels like a goal wins it its very wet and the ref is very fussy making for a frustrating game.
Think ward is struggling to impose himself off n the middle one decent pass all half is not good enough
Who else is excited for the game tomorrow?
at 16:04 13 Apr 2017

A Friday night on the terraces, the lights, the cold, the inappropriate physical contact risk. A few beers in a new town. Skuse back in the heart of midfield. A chance to finally put this bastard season to bed and get on with sorting out squad. Clearing out the deadwood and used tissues for another run at the league.

Anyone else notice the EDL getting humiliated again at the weekend?
at 08:27 10 Apr 2017

This time in Brum. Seems all the coverage is fairly universal in mocking them, and pointing out that hate groups aren't welcome in Britain.

Jess Phillips' tweet is an act of genius too.

Their call to arms before it is enlightening

You'd think the law allows the authors of that to be prosecuted for hate speech surely?
[Post edited 10 Apr 8:40]
Massive game at Burton in many respects
at 17:07 8 Apr 2017

Defeat again puts them a point off us, a win means we head to slightly more respectable and familiar territory.

The gap is 9 pts between us and the bottom 3 who look likely to remain in that order. But Brum 46
Forest and Burton 45
Brizzle 44

Means it's all about saving as much face as possible really. Would it be better to finish 4th from bottom and play just the kids and those signed on for next season? Not sure it'd be that much more enjoyable would it?

The changes need to be positive once this season finishes though.
Team News for Craven Cottage
at 14:01 8 Apr 2017

[Post edited 8 Apr 14:03]
Happy Birthday to our best manager in years
at 13:56 8 Apr 2017

Mills just slagged off every midfielder and called them ordinary at best
at 21:45 4 Apr 2017

How does that work then? Was it all McGoldrick tonight?
at 21:32 4 Apr 2017


3-0 9 pts off the drop now.
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