Sears: The Great Escape is On
Monday, 17th Dec 2018 06:00
The great escape is on declared Freddie Sears after his goal had seen the Blues to their vital 1-0 home win over Wigan Athletic on Saturday.
The victory was Town’s second of the season, their first under new manager Paul Lambert and their first at Portman Road since April where they had previously won only twice during 2018.
The win and results elsewhere meant the gap to safety has reduced to five points plus goal difference.
“It felt brilliant,” Sears said. “It was a tough afternoon – cold, wet and windy – but the scenes at the end were really special.
“We’ve won our first game under the manager and it feels like a big turning point. Now it’s down to us to back it up and go again.
“It was important to get the monkey off our back. You start to sound like a broken record, playing really well and not getting the results, but we knew it had to turn.
“It probably wasn’t the prettiest of games but we got the goal and won the game. Everyone’s delighted.”
Reflecting on his goal which he scuffed into the ground before Latics midfielder Lee Evans inadvertently diverted it past keeper Christian Walton, he reflected: “In those situations you try and get the ball on target and hope for the best.
“Thankfully it went in the back of the net and what a feeling. The fans erupted and everyone was buzzing.
“It was still tense until the end but we needed to win that game. It was massive and the relief at the final whistle was clear for everyone to see. It could hopefully be the part of something special.”
The goal was Sears’s fifth in Lambert’s seven games in charge - his previous five league goals came in 51 matches under Mick McCarthy and Paul Hurst - and the £250,000 January 2015 signing from Colchester has been rewarded for that form by Town taking up a one-year option on his contract.
“Confidence. He’s put a lot of belief in me and been good with me since day one.
“When a new manager comes in and you get the impression he likes you, he probably gets a bit more out of you.
“He’s been great with me and all the boys. We’re playing with confidence at the minute and you don’t look at us and think we’re a bottom of the league team.
“It’s down to us to push on and try and get some more results. [Bridging the gap] is definitely achievable.
“Someone said before that if you were eight points off the play-offs you’d still fancy your luck to get in there.
“It’s going to be tough but stranger things have happened. We’re not getting carried away and thinking we’re home and dry but if we can go on a run and win more games we’ll be fine.”
The one-time West Ham youngster says his fifth goal under Lambert was by far the most significant: “My previous goals felt brilliant at the time but meant nothing afterwards because we didn’t win.
“This was the opposite and there’s no better feeling than to score the winner in a 1-0 victory. I was delighted and will continue to do all I can for the team.
“We were determined not to have a repeat of the Bristol City game when we should have won. We said as soon as the ball went in, ‘Right, this is it, nothing’s getting past us’.”
At the other end of the field the Blues kept only their second clean sheet of the season.
“We needed it,” admitted Sears. “The back five were brilliant and stayed strong right to the end. We’re bottom of the league and the fans have been brilliant.
“We’ve just got to keep giving them things to sing about and hope they stick with us.
“Hopefully the results will come and this could be the start of something special. The great escape is on.”
Meanwhile, Town’s table-topping U23s are in action against Charlton at Playford Road this afternoon (KO 1pm).
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