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Town 1-3 Wigan Athletic
Saturday, 15th Mar 2014 17:08

Wigan stretched their winning run to eight games in all competitions after coming from behind to beat the Blues 3-1 at Portman Road. Tommy Smith put Town in front in the 19th minute, but goals from James McClean and Leon Barnett saw the Latics go in ahead at the break with McClean adding his second and Wigan's third in 77th minute.

Loanee Jonny Williams was handed his full Town debut with Sylvan Ebanks-Blake dropping to the bench in an otherwise unchanged side.

Williams started behind Daryl Murphy in a 4-4-1-1 formation, while former Blues loanee Ryan Tunnicliffe was in the Latics XI.

Smith blocked an early Martyn Waghorn shot after the on-loan Leicester man had cut in from the right but otherwise there was little action of note in either penalty area in the opening five minutes.

The Blues threatened for the first time in the sixth minute after Emmerson Boyce had fouled Stephen Hunt on the Town left. The Irishman whipped over the freekick and Paul Anderson sent a looping header onto the roof of Ali Al-Habsi’s net.

Jordi Gomez shot wide from distance for the Latics in the 15th minute, however, it had been the Blues doing most of the pressing, although without having created an opportunity. One or two debatable freekick decisions hadn’t endeared referee David Coote to the home crowd.

On 17 Paul Anderson, now on the left with Hunt on the right, crossed low and Murphy hit a shot on the turn which had Al-Habsi scrambling across to his left to paw the ball wide.

Two minutes later, the Blues went in front. Anderson was fouled just outside the area to the right and Hunt laid the ball to Cresswell, whose shot was blocked.

It ran to Cole Skuse, whose effort was also blocked but Wigan were unable to clear and the former Bristol City man eventually nodded the ball back into the danger area and Smith hooked home his fourth goal of the season from eight yards.

But the lead would last only three minutes. Boyce fed Marc-Antoine Fortune down the Wigan right and the former West Brom man cut the ball back to James McClean, who had pulled off his marker and slammed the ball past Dean Gerken from 10 yards.

Leon Barnett did well to head Williams’s cross out ahead of Murphy on 26 Town having broken quickly after a spell of Wigan possession in the Blues’ half.

Soon after McClean had been booked for a 37th minute foul on Williams, the Blues had a great chance to go back in front. Cresswell cut the ball across from the left, Anderson laid it back to Luke Hyam 10 yards out but the midfielder smashed the ball deep into the Sir Alf Ramsey Stand when he ought to at least have hit the target.

Three minutes before half-time, the visitors went ahead. Skuse fouled McClean on the Wigan left and Gomez curled the ball to the edge of the Town six-yard box from where Leon Barnett powered home a free header which Gerken couldn’t stop.

Neither side threatened to add to the goals in the remaining minutes with Town probably feeling they really oughtn’t to have been behind at the break.

Having gone in front, McClean was given far too much space in the penalty area for the first goal, while the Blues’ defending from the freekick which led to the second was even more questionable with Barnett and a number of his team-mates having escaped their markers and the ball in an area where Gerken could have claimed.

Hyam will feel he should have put his team back in front via his chance just prior to Wigan’s second goal.

Town threatened to equalise soon after the restart when Williams hassled Boyce into giving the ball away inside the Latics’ area. His shot from a tight angle deflected to Hunt, whose low cross found Murphy, but the striker was unable to divert the ball goalwards.

The Blues continued to push to get back on terms and on 53 Murphy tried to burst between Ivan Ramis and Barnett but the former Norwich centre-half stabbed the ball out of play.

From the corner, the Latics broke in numbers with Cresswell left three on one. Fortunately, James McArthur underhit his pass to Fortune and the Blues’ left-back intercepted.

On 57 Hunt and Ramis were both booked, the Blues winger for inadvertently catching the defender with an arm and the grounded Wigan man for swinging his arm at the Irishman as he remonstrated with him for his exaggerated reaction to the aerial challenge. The Sir Bobby Robson Stand were calling for a red for Ramis, which some referees might well have issued.

Paul Green replaced Skuse two minutes into the final half hour, then the visitors switched one-time Town target Nick Powell for Waghorn.

Green was booked within five minutes for a foul on Gomez. From the freekick, Barnett was just unable to get a touch at the far post having again escaped the Town backline. Paul Taylor replaced Anderson for the final 19 minutes, then soon afterwards Rob Kiernan replaced Barnett, the Wigan defender having suffered a knock.

The Latics increased their lead in the 77th minute after Green was hassled into surrendering possession to Gomez just inside the Town half. The Spaniard found Fortune on the right and the striker sent over a low cross and McClean tapped home his second of the afternoon at the far post.

Having gone 3-1 behind, Town switched Williams for Ebanks-Blake. Moments later, Green’s 25-yard effort was deflected wide, then after the resultant corner had been half-cleared and sent back into the box, Ebanks-Blake took the ball down on his chest but his shot ricocheted wide off a defender. Soon after, Taylor hit a low shot from the left which Al-Habsi saved.

Christophe Berra failed to get a touch on a dangerous Cresswell freekick from the left as the Blues continued to push, albeit not overly convincingly. Wigan remained a greater threat on the break.

Town once again gifted the visitors an opportunity in the 89th minute, Hyam surrendering possession to Powell, who rather fortunately for the Blues screwed his shot well wide.

In injury time Taylor and Murphy both saw efforts blocked but a Town comeback never seriously looked in prospect once they had conceded the third Wigan goal.

Overall, the Blues could have no complaints about the result. As at Leicester recently, they were beaten by a better side but one they had given a significant helping hand by gifting them their goals.

Manager Mick McCarthy is likely to have been less than impressed by his side’s defending for all three Latics goals.

Town pushed for an equaliser in the early stages of the half but probably ought to have conceded prior to McClean’s second with Wigan spurning decent opportunities, particularly their three on one break after a Town corner.

The scoreline and results elsewhere see the Blues stay in ninth in the table, but now six points from sixth with a trip to Brighton up next week.

Ipswich: Gerken, Chambers (c), Berra, Smith, Cresswell, Skuse (Green 62), Hyam, Anderson (Taylor 71), Hunt, Williams (Ebanks-Blake 78), Murphy. Unused: Loach, Mings, Tabb, Richardson.

Wigan: Al Habsi, Boyce, Perch, Ramis, Barnett (Kiernan 74), McArthur, Tunnicliffe, Gomez, Waghorn (Powell 64), McClean (Crainey 82), Fortune. Unused: Carson, McEachran, McManaman, Maynard. Referee David Coote (Nottinghamshire). Att: 16,047 (Wigan: 381)

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TractorCam added 17:11 - Mar 15
Just your typical "Ipswich go 1-0 up and then do nothing for the rest of the game" performance. We looked like a sunday league team 2nd half.

AndrewPC added 17:14 - Mar 15
No ambition. no commitment to take th game to the opposition.

No clue how t ocome back once the opposition score.

Why ?

Ask the manager.

The players play to his instructions.

We are not contenders for the play offs.

Season over

Commieration to those who pay for a season ticket.


groovyASH added 17:19 - Mar 15
I have to say, for the first time today, I was really disappointed in Mick's starting line-up and approach. Wigan had been on a long old stretch of games and we should have taken the game to them with quicker and more threatening players out there on the field. Instead, we play 1 recognized striker and allow them at us. Probably the reason we have hardly beaten anybody above us in the league this season.

Sindre94 added 17:20 - Mar 15
Ipswich till I die

smithy91 added 17:23 - Mar 15
So disappointed by the sloppy nature of how we have gifted goals today, considering first half performance was good, and in how our season is petering out...Wigan are a good side but defensive mistakes and silly team selections have cost us, r.e Chambers at RB still- he has done a good job but he gets targeted alot- Mick just seems to bloody stubborn to change it and put Richardson there! For the past few months, Micks stubborness to change tactics and favourites/poor team selections has held us back imo- McGoldricks goals have got us through alot of games this season.

bluefeast added 17:23 - Mar 15
we had good spells but we get out done as the natural quality in our side does not exist MM built this team . Big problem is square pegs round holes , thats what has been our big problem .Also results since christmas have been very poor ,we are bottom 3 on form over 15 games

AndrewPC added 17:24 - Mar 15

Love you !

Amazing your commitment from afar.

Pity your expectations are not being met.

I can only conclude that you have an enduring commitment to town;

I respect you for that !


Elizabeth added 17:26 - Mar 15
This Wigan team beat Manchester City last week and they have players with Premier League experience.... We do not !!! Until we are able to acquire a nucleus of quality players, this is where we will remain . Sad, but true.

warwickblue added 17:32 - Mar 15
We played some good football in patches today but, overall, Wigan looked different class really. Having said that, defending was poor today and we still lack any sort of direct intent going forward.

Michael11 added 17:33 - Mar 15
We are such a frustrating team to support at times. We just have this tendency to score a goal then sit back and not even try to kill teams off. The difference between us and teams like Wigan is that they never came here settling for a draw, they smelt blood after an equaliser and took advantage of it, something that we constantly fail to do. Think that's any slight play-off hopes we had, well and truly gone. Hopefully we can play the rest of the season with no pressure and attack our opposition teams.

WhoisJimmyJuan added 17:34 - Mar 15
Season over. For me i would start playing the youngsters from the next game. Forget green and Williams and Richardson. Only Williams is what we need but he will go back to palace. The other two are probably of the view that Portman road is the place to get an end of career charity contract. Not worthy of contracts. Should be the young uns like bishop from now and going hell for leather to bring in young non league trial lists. But I am not mick McCarthy. He will just keep grinding on as before. In a funny way I now feel more depressed than ever. At least with jewel and Keene you knew they were so bad they would eventually get the sack. Mm has done well to steer us clear of relegation trouble but that is it. We will go nowhere until the youth team starts producing and mm starts playing them. Rant closed. Enter. Ready.

kuyski added 17:37 - Mar 15
We are nothing to lose now,bring back our younger and give them some races to get the expriences,that will be good for next season .



essexboy added 17:43 - Mar 15
Chambers should never play at RBI.every team can see this position is our weakest.I feel sorry for the lad,it's not his fault,blame MM.We have two RB's at the club,just why does he put square pegs in round holes,but having said that I thought we played well,but were never a match for Wigan.Please MM give Taylor a full game,just what do you have against him,we would all like to know.!Put out an attacking side at Brighton,nothing to loose now.COYB.

ShropshireBluenago09 added 17:46 - Mar 15
We just lost to a team that BEAT Man City last week. No the end of the world guys and points to play for still.


Sindre94 added 17:49 - Mar 15
Season over then? Such a shame, but we must understand that on our current budget we're not really in the shape to compete with the top teams.
Would like to see us play with a bit more belief and energy. Take the game to the opposition instead of lining up a team based on who the opponents are.

Out of the 11 Town games that I have attended this season (9 away, 2 at home) Im really yet to see us have a terrific game where we really go for it and put the opposition under pressure. The closest must be the last thirty minutes of Blackpool away or the opening ten minutes up at Derbys place.
I think the fright of losing is stronger than the will to lose in our managers head.

It seems that Mick is very careful with giving our lads any freedom or the chance to express themselves and that is -in my opinion- the reason why players like JET (who disappeared to Bristol) and Taylor struggle to get any game time under our current management.

Im grateful for what MM and TC have done but entertainment and good play is very far between to see inside our beautiful stadium and Im certain that the drop in attendances have some connection with our boring and very predictable style of football.

Im afraid it wont change, but heres hoping....

Ipswich till I die

Bluetone added 17:55 - Mar 15
Dour and dire sums up Mick sums up how he sets up the team.
"Who dares wins" and he just dare not or cannot bring himself to take the risk that might just mean we win.


runaround added 17:55 - Mar 15
Despite the result I think we played quite well today, but we came up against a team in tremendous form with premiership class throughout the squad. They only had 3 chances but were clinical with them. We were denied by a few blocks & would have beaten poorer teams today. Their first goal was just a good move, whilst the second was a superb delivery although it looked to me that Gerken should have done better, not that he will be dropped anyway! The third our error was expertly punished.
The gap between the teams is scary & with parachute payments & FFP it's going to be very difficult to bridge the gap. We are not good enough, yet! MM hopefully can see where we lack, pace, width, attacking midfielders & can address this in the summer, but it won't be easy.
Today I witnessed possibly the worst ever linesman who gave Williams offside when a Wigan player gave him the ball, it would have been a great chance to equalise & eventually the ref waved play on but everybody stopped and the chance had gone.
Also a moaner behind me was apoplectic that Emmerson ####### Boyce was playing well, he couldn't quite fathom that he is better than our players, unfortunately though he is.
Murphy was our best player today

blueboy1981 added 17:56 - Mar 15
....... warktheline, JWM, etc; etc; - what did I predict ? - if we didn't take the game to Wigan, and we certainly didn't with this team selection and formation.

Effectively one up front at home ?? - what was that for ?? - I know, to protct the point we started with - now please don't tell me there is anything at all POSITIVE about that.

We create so little , and other than perhaps a 'nicked' goal now and then - are nothing really, and unfortunately it's true.

The fact that we start games with a NEGATIVE line up and formation from the start, gives the opposition the advantage and encouragement from the onset.

No doubt you will have all your excuses (sorry, reasons ) yet again - perhaps it was the Referee's fault this time ??. After all, it just couldn't be the Manager's fault - now could it ?.

muccletonjoe added 18:01 - Mar 15
Hyam was head and shoulders our best player today. Murphy ! For christ sakes what game were you looking at runaround

Bluetone added 18:02 - Mar 15
It is now time to discard the players we have on loan and bring back those we have loaned out and play and develop our own young players.
However the very thought of playing youngsters seems to bring out the esteemed Mick in a cold sweat and blind panic so that won't happen.

blueboy1981 added 18:04 - Mar 15
Sindre94 - absolutely great that people like you stand by the Club - but the level thinking amongst us just have to accept that the prime reason for our failings cannot be down to Evans not splashing the cash - tactics, and team formation / selection has cost us valuable points this season.

I am not at all confident (and maybe Evans isn't either) that had MM had open purse strings - anything would have been different.

What we see, week in, week out, is essentially :- MM - and his lack of adventure.

Scribble added 18:06 - Mar 15
This game was the start of a make or break run of fixtures and I'm fed up of the lack of ambition, we are at home against a team we really need to beat and MM sends out potentially the most defensive line up he could.

He didn't bring Taylor and ebanks Blake on until we were 3-1 down, how about going for a win from the outset for once.

On another note, I never noticed Tunnicliffe when he was playing for us and I didn't notice him today for Wigan. No loss at all.


AndrewPC added 18:13 - Mar 15

Absolutely with you on that view.

I think though that we do have the nucleus of a good squad to compete next season.

Minus: Green, Tabb, Hunt.

Bring in: Marriott, Richardson (on a 2year deal), Hewitt

Change: Chambers at RB

TractorBoy666 added 18:15 - Mar 15
Firstly you cannot fault Daryl for his effort in games, he had to work for everything himself today because of Micks selection of playing ONE up front at HOME. Two defensive midfielders to include in that too. Also Green, send him back to Leeds! If he isn't good enough for them, he most definitely isn't good enough for us, it's not like he can still improve at the age of 31. However I won't give up hope of the play offs but it all looks very slim now, 10th-13th is where we will finish which was my prediction from the start, and hoping we can push on next season! COYB, got my ticket for Brighton so let's make things interesting again please!

blueboy1981 added 18:17 - Mar 15
JWM ........ that's onr thing you understand anyway - how to hit the minus button.

Truth hurts - as the saying goes.

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