Walton: Win at Pompey Sends Out Statement to Other Teams
Wednesday, 20th Oct 2021 10:07
Keeper Christian Walton felt Town’s comprehensive 4-0 win at Portsmouth last night sent a statement to other teams in League One.
Having gained a 1-0 lead via Macauley Bonne in a keenly-fought first half, the Blues romped to victory in the second with Conor Chaplin netting against his old club, Sone Aluko scoring his third goal in two games and Wes Burns adding his second of the season.
“Absolutely delighted, I think been was clear for everyone to see that there’s quality in the team, and we showed it tonight on the big stage at Fratton Park,” Walton said. “It’s not an easy place to come.
“I was obviously delighted to get back in the team and be a spectator for long periods of that game, watching the quality that we’ve got in the forward areas of the pitch.”
It was the on-loan Brighton man’s second game for the Blues, his first having been the 5-2 home defeat to Bolton, before he suffered an injury in training later that week which kept him out of the side.
“My debut was tough, coming into a new team, playing with players I’ve never been with before,” the 25-year-old admitted.
“I wasn’t getting too down about that and then I picked up an injury, so it was a tough couple of weeks, but I’ve just kept my head down, worked hard and just been ready for my chance.
“Obviously it came tonight, it was a good team performance and the lads in front of me did really well.
“Like I said, and I’ll say it numerous times throughout the season, there is massive quality within the squad, and that’s evident for everyone to see.”
Regarding the injury the Wadebridge-born glovesman said: “After my debut at Portman Road, I pulled my hip flexor so I was out for just over a month, which was disappointing, but it’s part and parcel of the game.
“I hadn’t played, maybe it was the fatigue, I don’t know, it was just one of those injuries that hit me and gave me a bit of a setback. But I was working hard with my rehab and watching from afar and I was buzzing to get back in there tonight.”
Walton was pleased to get the nod at Fratton Park but didn’t expect to walk straight back into the side.
“The competition for places at the club is massive,” he said. “The other goalies at the club are top goalies, so I knew it wasn’t going to be easy to walk straight back in the team, Vaz [Vaclav Hladky] has done well.
“There’s competition for places, but I was just delighted to be playing tonight and being back out there in a good ground, a good atmosphere and obviously to top it off with three points.”
He says he was aware that a starting place wasn’t guaranteed when he joined the club for the season from the Seagulls, despite being a Premier League player.
“I don’t think that’s been the case anywhere I’ve been, especially with this manager,” he said.
“I think he tries to put that throughout the team that there’s competition for places and it’s not going to be just your shirt, you’ve got to work hard for it day in, day out, your habits have got to be right and he’s on that all the time.
“It was clear from day one that there are two other goalies at the club [Hladky and Tomas Holy], who are top goalies for this level, so it was competition and something I wanted to take on. Hopefully now I can get myself going and follow on from that tonight and win on Saturday.”
Reflecting on the boost the 4-0 win has given the club, with the Blues up to 13th, five points off the play-offs, he added: “Massive. It sends out a bit of a statement to other teams that we are doing well. Is it one in eight we’ve lost? I think that’s a good stat and something to build on.
“It’s never easy coming here, I’ve played here numerous time and never actually won here until tonight, so that was nice.
“You’ve got to weather that storm in the first 15 or 20 minutes, it’s always tough, and I thought we did that and then got a foothold in the game and dominated for large parts of the game. A great result.”
Walton was delighted to keep his first clean sheet of the season and only Town’s third in the league this season.
“That’s what I’m there to do,” he reflected. “I pride myself on keeping clean sheets and the lads in front of me want to do the same and we’ve worked hard for it tonight against a good team and we just want to keep building on that.”
He added: “Obviously it’s nice when you can be a bit of a spectator for large parts. At 4-0 I was called into action and that’s when you’ve got to be at it, you’ve got to be focused, your concentration’s got to be at the top of your game.
“It’s nice to be a spectator but obviously I want to do my part for the team, which I feel I’ve done tonight.”
Walton was pleased for manager Paul Cook, the Blues boss seeing his side to such an emphatic victory against his old club.
“I think he’s worked so hard since he’s been at Ipswich,” the former England U21 international said.
“I don’t think it’s been easy. A new team, people’s opinions. It’s not easy as a manager, people don’t give managers enough credit really.
“It was good that he came back here tonight and got a win and we sent the fans home really happy. It was a great support tonight, filling that end and it wasn’t a close one for Ipswich fans tonight, it was absolutely brilliant to send them home with a result. Ultimately, just buzzing for the staff, the players and myself to get the win.”
Walton knows Cook well from having spent the 2017/18 - in which he was part of the team that carried off the League One title - and 2018/19 seasons on loan during the Town manager’s spell at Wigan.
“Same bloke, not changed a bit,” he said. “Just so enthusiastic about the game and just wants his players to do well and that game tonight replicates what we’re about and what the manager wants from us.
“I think it’s been coming, we were 2-0 up on Saturday. I wasn’t there but it was disappointing to concede two but I think tonight we scored one, scored two and just went on and just kept building on that and took full control of the game. He’s a good manager to play for and I’m just buzzing that we got the result.”
He added: “Playing for him for two seasons before I came here, when I got a phone call about joining Ipswich, I was just buzzing.
“I didn’t have to think about it to come and play for a manager who wants to play quick, attractive football and at the other end be disciplined with the back four and be nice and solid to let our flair players and attacking players do their thing.
“Obviously we’ve got so many quality players, we’re bringing Bersant Celina off the bench. It’s phenomenal really for this level. I think now about it’s not getting too high tonight and just going again on Thursday at training and building on Saturday.
“Keeping going. I know it’s a massive cliché, but taking each game as it comes and just build on tonight because there’s always something around the corner in football, so it’s just making sure you’re nice and consistent and just build on that.”
Although he says it’s important to keep a level head, Walton said it was a boisterous dressing room after the match.
“We are buzzing but I think it’s not taking that through the week and being over confident on Saturday,” he explained.
“I think we need to play with an aura of confidence about ourselves and I think just be ready for Fleetwood, which is going to be another tough test and we’ve seen teams come to Portman Road and put up a fight, so we know it’s not going to be easy. If we can build on that tonight, I think we’ll be raring to go.”
While Walton was picking up his first Blues clean sheet, his opposite number Gavin Bazunu was having a tougher time at the other end of the field, the on-loan Manchester City man having been at fault on two of Town’s goals.
But Walton believes the 19-year-old Republic of Ireland international will learn from the experience.
“I’ve not played against him before, but you see and hear about other goalies and I follow the league and football,” he said. “Yes, it was a tough night, I think as a goalie we’ve all been there.
“He’s young, I was young out on loan at that age. It’s just a learning curve and I think it’s massive for him tonight just to take the confidence that he’s played for Ireland and whatever he’s done. It’s not easy as a goalie, but it’s good experience for him.”
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|itsonlyme added 10:26 - Oct 20|
You’re definitely the best of our goalkeepers. A clean sheet says everything. Well done lads.
|brendenward35 added 11:03 - Oct 20|
His kicking was a bit of a worry a few times he hit their players when kicking the ball out. But it was a team performance and we won that's what counts well done Town
|BossMan added 11:36 - Oct 20|
It was great fun to be singing can we play you every week but things didn't go well the last time we had quotes from Portman Road about sending a message to the rest of the league. As a Cook critic I have so say it was brave and clever of Cook to start Celina on the bench. The games in Nov and Dec are so much tougher than the games faced so far so let's hope the recent improvement continues but the much quoted stats of our 6 games before last night didn't show that even in thise 6 games we lost ground to Sunderland, Wycombe, Rotherham and others so the challenge from such a poor start is a tough one.
|chorltonskylineblue added 12:07 - Oct 20|
Great win but I do wish our players would stop saying things about sending a message to the rest of the league. We're still in the bottom half of the table. Yes we've hammered Doncaster and Portsmouth but both were in a terrible run of form when we played them. The football is definitely more exciting than it has been in a long time but until we get consistency and see out games we should easily win the only message we're sending is that we haven't got to grips with this league.
|Cadiar added 12:27 - Oct 20|
God I hate pessimists Bossman, I don't give a flying F what other teams are doing, this was a great result at a ground that is very hard for any one to get a result. I know plenty of Pompey fans from my time living on the IOW & they are phanatical so this will come very hard for them. Just been listening to Talk Sport & it was pointed out it took Man City 4 years after being taken over to get where they wanted to be, we'@ve been under new ownership a few months. Whatever else, this is the most exciting football for years & years.
|Eddie1985 added 12:29 - Oct 20|
Let's not get ahead of ourselves Walton, it's a good tesukltin isolation, 4 straight wins is a statement of intent
|runningout added 13:43 - Oct 20|
We are not sending any statements YET. Pompey had another poor day
|Karlosfandangal added 15:20 - Oct 20|
Love how the stats get mentioned in a negative way to suit so that Cook can get criticism
Here’s a Stat
Sir Bobby Robson took over half way through a season and the Ipswich finished 12th the following season 18th and the following season 19th
32 wins 34 Draws 47 defeats 115 for and 141 against and of the 32 wins only 6 were away. Win rate of 28.32%
Turned alright for him in the end.
Yet Cook has not been here a year and the fans still want to hang him from a tree.
Give the man a chance it’s now 1 defeat in 8
|KernewekBlue added 15:22 - Oct 20|
0-4 is a great result, especially away from home, no matter what the opposition's current form suggests.
I'm sure if we had played tentatively, pussy-footing around and passing backwards or sideways at every given opportunity, as we used to do, Portsmouth would have capitalised on it and made us pay.
But it seems we have learnt that attack is often the best form of defence. We now have an abundance of attacking talent who are comfortable on the ball and like to get forward into dangerous positions and try to be as creative as we can be.
Now, with a few games under our belt where our new team has learnt to play to each other's strengths, we are starting to look more confident, accomplished on the ball and we'll carry a threat to any team in the division.
As has been mentioned here already, it is a tough ask to catch and overtake the clubs who made a fast start to the season but if anyone can do that, I believe we can.
Time will tell if we've given ourselves too big a mountain to climb this season but one thing's for sure... I'd much rather be watching us play attractive, creative, attacking football than the old, tired, uninspiring hoofball we got used to watching for years under Evans' tenure.
Onwards & upwards,
|BobbyBell added 15:46 - Oct 20|
6 to 8 wins in a row or 15 to 20 games undefeated is what a top side can do. I think we are a long way off that at the moment but making progress.
|ButchersBrokenNose added 17:09 - Oct 20|
Karlosfandangel - you make a good point, and one I've heard many times as we've experimented with mediocre managers over the last 20 years. The big difference is: football is a very different game today than it was when Sir Bobby came to PR. The Cobbolds could afford to give him a few years to figure things out because there was no danger of the club losing TV rights or big name players transferring to wealthier teams if we weren't at the top of the table. Gamechanger doesn't have that luxury. They had to invest millions to take over Town, and they're going to want (and are entitled to) a return on their investment. If they get their appointments wrong and we aren't promoted and end up stuck in the third division, they could off-load a bad investment. If that happens, it's a very real chance we could slide down out of the league and into administration. The Cobbolds never had to worry about that. So, please, compare apples to apples when discussing how much time Mr. Cook should get to show he can deliver on his promises.
|timkatieadamitfc added 17:44 - Oct 20|
Even when we win 4 - 0 away some people can’t resist having a dig-my favourite is “ Portsmouth were terrible tonight”🙄🙄 not Ipswich played really well.
I’m sure if we had lost 4-0 everyone would be saying Portsmouth played really well though 😂🤣
|Karlosfandangal added 18:45 - Oct 20|
Totally agree with you, it’s all about money, however I feel it’s about improving,which I feel Town have not just over the last few game but massively from last season, if Town make the playoffs I would expect Cook to be in charge next season.
People talk about Christmas for a change of manager if Town are not up there as the new manager would have a transfer window to get players in.
I think the window should be for Cook to strengthen the weak areas.
However if Town finish mid table then question have to be asked.
It would be nice for fans to get behind Cook instead of criticising just because we did not win.
Saying all that the next 3 games will tell us all how we compare with the rest of the league.
|Saxonblue74 added 18:52 - Oct 20|
Great result, let's hope we can back it up and carry some confidence into a tough November. Can't really guage Walton yet, Bolton was awful and not much to do last night.
|shakytown added 19:10 - Oct 20|
When you lot have won 10 in a row that will be sending a message to the other teams. 13th in the league is not sending a message junior. cut the talk and keep up the action.
|DifferentGravy added 19:11 - Oct 20|
Apart from a few lively long kicks in the first half.....had very little to do.....until the late chance for Pompey...and Walton made certain of his clean sheet.
If we have the same work ethic and close as a team then we certainly have the tools to undo any opposition
|bobble added 21:22 - Oct 20|
the message it sends is town run hot and cold like a faulty water heater ,and can be a soft touch 50% of the time...
they will take the lead, but can collapse in the second half like geriatric with a heart condition at an orgy.
|herfie added 21:58 - Oct 20|
Fact: we’re still work in progress. This performance represents a massive step along the upwards curve. Better still, will give the collective confidence a much needed boost. Now need to use last night as a benchmark for the rest of the season. Next major challenge is to achieve consistency. But, come on, let’s celebrate what was a memorable night, and a result even the most optimistic supporter would have predicted!
|strikalite added 22:23 - Oct 20|
Who are we sending a statement too exactly, listen, you're only as good as your next game, so just get focussed on Fleetwood now, a statement is going on a winning run of four or five games....oh and Fleetwood went to Rotherham and beat them 4-2, there's a statement!
It was a great result but we need to follow it up now...
|KiwiBlue2 added 08:01 - Oct 21|
Fleetwood's result over Rotherham and Portsmouth's one over Sunderland just show that you have to be on song for every game otherwise you could get thumped. While we have a great selection of attacking players who are all liable to score we do need to stiffen the defense to the point that clean sheets are achieved in the substantial majority of games. If we can do that we really will gallop up the table as with the firepower we now have we should be able to score at least twice in most games..... If we can keep improving the current run will keep going
and hopefully see us well established in the play-off positions by Xmas poised to pressure the top two places by season's end .... coyb
|BossMan added 10:16 - Oct 21|
Karlisfandango please put up just one link from a single person employed by ITfC or who owns even just one share in the club where that person says the goal for this season is the play offs. I'll wait
|Bazza8564 added 11:31 - Oct 21|
We have certainly turned the corner, but that only means something if you do it week in and week out. Fleetwood saturday wont be easy but no game is proving easy in this league.
We have still only played just over a quarter of the season and if we are to seriously contend, the fact we've yet to play the top sides could potentially work in a favor for two reasons, the opportunity to dent their form and the fact they will most likely want to play open football, which is probably more suited than either having the ball 15' in the air or 11 men parked behind the ball like some sides.
Cook has said all along, one game a a time. We have nothing to fear and if we play to our capabilities we can beat anyone in this division on our day.
All the talk of playoffs and titles means nothing in October, lets simply do what we can as fans, support the boys in our numbers, enjoy the free scoring football that we have already proved we are capable of, and stop even thinking we have a manager who is'nt the very best we are capable of attracting.
We won 4-0 away Tuesday, have only lost one in 8 and still people think they have the credentials to challenge the management, it baffles me.
ONE GAME AT A TIME BOYS, COYB!!!
|dirtydingusmagee added 13:11 - Oct 21|
Agree with others, that one result wont be sending a message out, if things are still like that in 3 or 4 games time, it will make other teams think, but we have slipped up too often so far to worry anyone. Plymouth match will be a test , and if we come out of that smiling it will be a real indication of progress.BUT first we need 3 points from Fleetwood.
|Celina21 added 14:09 - Oct 21|
Too bad we got off to such a bad start but it is the kind of league where you can make up for it if you improve a lot. The results are still not consistent though...
|BossMan added 15:03 - Oct 21|
The facts are that in last 6 games after great win at Pompey we lost ground to Wigan, Sunderland, Wycombe, Plymouth, Rotherham and MK Dons who all gained more points than us over those 6 games. I'm not glad about that or celebrating it I'm just challenging the Cook super fans who have been quoting the last 6 games like nothing existed before then. Doncaster, Shrewsbury and Portsmouth all sit in the bottom 6 for points gained in last 6 games. Let's all agree that the recent improvement needs to continue.
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