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Lambert: I Knew It Would Open Up in the Second Half
Saturday, 17th Oct 2020 18:30

Town boss Paul Lambert says he always knew the second half would open up in the Blues’ 2-0 home victory over Accrington Stanley, admitting the first period had been tougher for his top-of-the-table, still-unbeaten side.

The Blues were forced into starting with no recognised central striker - Alan Judge played as a false nine in the first half - with Oli Hawkins having suffered a minor niggle in training and Kayden Jackson having been sent home ill to take a Covid-19 test.

“Considering we’ve no strikers, it's incredible,” Lambert said. “That was just thrown on us yesterday in the morning so we had to readjust one or two things.

“First half, it was really tough, a tough game. They pressed and pressed and pressed. There were some good moments but not as sustained as the second half was.

“I knew the second half would open up because it’s impossible for a team to press that way for 90 minutes.

“Then I thought we started to get a foothold in the game and the football we played was excellent, some of the football was great and the goals were excellent.

“I had to change yesterday in training. I just had a feeling it would work if we passed the ball well, and in the second half we passed the ball really well. The first half it was a tough game. But the second half it opened up.”

Lambert says there were no big instructions given to his players at the break.

“There wasn’t too much other than not to worry about the way you’re playing,” he recalled.

“They’re entitled to press, but just move the ball, move the ball, move the ball, pass the ball, move. Pass it and take the ball, then everything will start to open up.

“For a team to try and sustain that [pressing] for 90 minutes is tough. Accrington were strong, which we knew they would be in the first half, it was just a matter of being patient.”

Regarding Judge starting down the middle, Lambert added: “He did some really good things there, then I changed it and put Freddie in there [in the second half] and Judgey made an overload in the middle of the pitch.

“There were a lot of good things there. I think that’s the first time I think I’ve played without a striker.”

Lambert felt the game opening up and his side’s passing were a more significant factor than switching Sears to the centre in the second half.

“Yes, without a doubt and credit to John Coleman’s team, they really pressed hard whether Judgey was through the middle or Freddie was through the middle the speed of the ball, just keep doing the same things,” he said.

“It would be very easy just to panic when the pressure’s on but we took the pressure out of the game with a lot of good aspects and a lot of good football.”

Gwion Edwards took his total for the season to five goals - more than anyone else in League One - and Lambert is delighted with the Welshman’s form.

“He’s doing really well, really good,” he said. “With his goals and everything, he’s doing great.

“I just think the team is playing really well, I really think the football we’re playing is good. If the guys make a mistake that’s not a problem, that’s my problem.”

“The front guys were excellent. Gwion gets the goals and gets the headlines but I’m really happy with the way we’re playing, it’s really good, I’m really, really pleased.”

Reflecting on Sears’s first league goal of the season, he added: “I left him out last week because I thought the tiredness after 15 months out [due to an ACL injury] would catch him at some point, which it still might do later on because he’s not played for a long time. But the goal was excellent, a lovely little chip over the goalkeeper.”

Town have now scored 13 goals in their first six league games with the six scored in the last two matches all of exceptional quality.

“I think it’s the speed of the ball, I think the speed of the ball, the speed of people’s brains," he said when asked about the goals.

“I think the movement and the speed of the ball and the speed of their brains are moving a lot quicker than they were last season.”

Lambert says Hawkins suffered his injury in training on Tuesday, while Jackson was sent home and has undergone a Covid-19 test.

“Oli had a groin problem and Kayden was sent home yesterday to get tested, so we don’t know,” the Blues boss confirmed.

Asked whether Hawkins might be OK for Tuesday’s trip to Doncaster, he said: “I don’t know. If we have to lose him for another game then hopefully he’s back for Saturday, we don’t know. But it’s something you can’t take a risk on. We’ve got so many injuries at the minute.”

He says the policy is if someone is feeling ill, as Jackson was yesterday, they’re sent home and will undergo a test.

“I think so, I think he wasn’t feeling well and I think if you’re not feeling well you have to send them home,” he said. “I’ve not heard the results of the test yet, so I don’t know. Hopefully it’s not positive.”

Town striker is currently a job almost as dangerous as being the drummer in Spinal Tap with Hawkins and Jackson joining Aaron Drinan (thigh) and James Norwood (hamstring) on the sidelines.

“That’s four of them,” Lambert reflected ruefully. “Four guys vying for one place. But that’s why today’s win was an incredible game.”

He says he didn’t consider a late move to bring someone in before yesterday’s 5pm deadline.

“We can’t,” he said. “We don’t have money, we don’t have any, we can’t do anything.”

Asked whether 18-year-old striker Tyreece Simpson will have to get himself prepared in case he’s needed for a start, Lambert said: “I guess, and he should have scored instead of passing [in the final minute].

“If he pulls the trigger, he gets a goal for himself, which would be nice. But we can’t rely on a kid that’s just breaking in and finding his feet in the professional game.”

Looking ahead to a busy week in which the Blues visit Doncaster on Tuesday and then Lincoln on Saturday, he added: “It’s great. We’re playing really well, we’ve only conceded two goals, we’re scoring goals, we’re winning games. We’re playing really well, I’m really happy with how we’re playing.

“All the things that are getting thrown at us, injuries, the pandemic, everything that’s there, it’s been a brilliant start.”

Regarding his defence conceding just twice in the league this season, he added: “I just think we’ve been incredible, the football has been great, the performances have been really high. Massive games, massive plus points there to look at and we'll go and try and get a result on Tuesday.”

Accrington manager John Coleman felt the opening goal was destined to be a key factor in the way the match progressed.

“They took their chances and we didn’t," he told the Lancashire Telegraph.

“The first goal was always going to be the turning point, it’s a great finish.

“It’s an individual error for the second goal but from a neutral point of view you wouldn’t have known who was top and who was sixth, no disrespect to Ipswich who are a very good side.

“We gave them enough to warrant a few scares. We have to stick together. This team is only going to get better, they are young, keen and work hard.

“The more they find their feet in this league the better they will get.

“We’re not little Accrington any more. People know they have been in the game when they play against us.”

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martin587 added 18:36 - Oct 17
Good substitutions Paul that changed the game.Well done.👌

BlueandTruesince82 added 18:37 - Oct 17
Good Spinal Tap line Phil

chopra777 added 18:38 - Oct 17
Good job but squeaky bum time in the first half . Town found goals again. Defence solid especially Kenlock this week. Keep going Town. We are behind you.

muhrensleftfoot added 18:42 - Oct 17
The only person in Suffolk who didn't know Edwards should be on the left and Sears in the middle was Lambert. Finally he realised at half time and changed it

Mark added 18:48 - Oct 17
We ride our luck first half, but played some really nice football second half and deserved to win. Fantastic start to the season. We are still scoring despite losing four strikers to injury/illness and the defence is looking strong. We can't ask for any more. Well done lads.

Monkey_Blue added 19:09 - Oct 17
Even with the injuries the quality we have at this level is beyond most. We do need a striker to be scoring at some point this season but I think our best 15 would all make the sides of all teams in this league. Who has a player as good as Woolfenden on the bench and has only conceded 2 goals?

Monkey_Blue added 19:10 - Oct 17
Everyone on our bench today would be starting for most teams with perhaps Simpson the exception

Monkey_Blue added 19:11 - Oct 17
And this was t our strongest bench by a long way if everyone was fit

renoble added 19:28 - Oct 17
That's the problem with you Phil... Too much f***ing perspective

Linkboy13 added 20:35 - Oct 17
Next week will tell us where we are.

Daniel72 added 21:06 - Oct 17
Well done everyone. The most recently available highlights showed great passing from Chambers, Bishop and Dozzell, to name but three... as well as Bishop's brilliant goal, Chambers' glorious thwack and Edwards doing great all over the park. Great to see The Town on top.

Edmundo added 21:39 - Oct 17
Keep it going, Lambo. COYB.

matty81 added 21:55 - Oct 17
"REALLY REALLY" pleased with the team this season I have somehow deduced from PL comments.
Great result in difficult circumstances, keep up the good work!

Town4me added 08:30 - Oct 18

spanishblue added 08:30 - Oct 18
Happy weekends at last been waiting years for this,Kenlock definitely had his best game for Town.As for Chambers his new lease of life is really really great excellent really really good, he’s obviously been to spec savers ,his passing is almost Beckham like at times really really great 👍 loving it

spanishblue added 08:30 - Oct 18
Happy weekends at last been waiting years for this,Kenlock definitely had his best game for Town.As for Chambers his new lease of life is really really great excellent really really good, he’s obviously been to spec savers ,his passing is almost Beckham like at times really really great 👍 loving it

Jonaldo added 09:18 - Oct 18
I gave Kenlock some stick last couple of weeks, so fair play to the lad for a solid performance.

Although he made a bit of a howler this week, I am loving Holy's distribution from the back. He plays some amazingly accurate long passes out from his box. That and his confidence coming for crosses is worth a goal every week.

MonkeyAlan added 09:20 - Oct 18
Lambert said he had no strikers. Well, Freddie is a striker Paul, as you found out once you put him through the middle he proved that. Edwards should start on the left, only PL would play him out of position. I still dont trust out manager. Clueless like the owner.

Linkboy13 added 10:11 - Oct 18
I can't understand the negative comments on here it was a good performance . Think it's a case of people not liking the feeling they are being proved wrong and just can't give credit when it's due. The way Edwards is playing we need to rap him in cotton wool so important to the team attacking and defensively.

Northstandveteran added 10:31 - Oct 18
I don't think the comments should be viewed as negativity Linkboy.

Perhaps the should be viewed as constructive criticism?

In my opinion, Sears is the club's most naturally gifted goalscorer and should be first choice up front in his proffered role regardless of the injury list.

We have just beaten the mighty Accrington Stanley and already posters on here are settling for a downturn in results against the football giants of Lincoln, Hull and Gillingham.

And finally, who remembers when our team were linking hands and running to the north stand just 12 months ago when we had already claimed the league title?

To be fair, our players are firing on all cylinders and we do look to be playing as a unit but we are playing third division teams that have had to strip their squads to the bare bones just to survive.

Still, too of the league so no complaints, I just feel that everyone should keep their feet on the ground a little.


Northstandveteran added 10:32 - Oct 18
Top of the league even!


heathen66 added 10:46 - Oct 18
I think a lot of the negative comments on here are not that people do not like to be proved wrong, it is the fact that many of us are being proved right !!!
I have always said that Edwards was a star man and that he needs to be played in more of an advanced role and not so deep that he is playing as a second full back.
Jon Nolan always needed a chance to play in his proper position and he is playing really really well !!!
Nsiala just needed the confidence of the manager and a prolonged run in the side and not dropped at the first opportunity in order to play other senior pros.
What I will say however is that Chambers form is a real plus point. I for one did not see any future for him in the side especially at CB where he was caught out too many times. Playing at RB relieves him of that defensive pressure and he is thriving on it.
You could say that that has proved me wrong, and I am happy to admit that !!!

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