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Ipswich Town 2 v 1 Fleetwood Town
SkyBet League One
Saturday, 23rd October 2021 Kick-off 15:00
Roberts Pleased to Send Co-Owner Johnson Home With a Smile
Saturday, 23rd Oct 2021 18:28

First-team coach Gary Roberts was pleased that the Blues were able to send co-owner Brett Johnson back home to the US with a smile on his face after Bersant Celina netted in the 93rd minute to see Town to a 2-1 victory over Fleetwood at Portman Road.

Celina slammed home from close range to seal the win from Janoi Donacien’s volleyed layback from the right after Callum Morton had levelled for the Cod Army in the 82nd minute, Conor Chaplin having put Town in front four minutes after half-time.

The Kosovan international’s goal meant Johnson’s first game at Portman Road ended in a dramatic victory.

“I’ve love to say that it was scripted like that but it wasn’t,” Roberts laughed afterwards. “It wasn’t good for all our hearts but I think we deserved to win the game.

“We started really slowly in the first half, it wasn’t us at all, we normally come out of the blocks really quickly.

“Third game in a week, possibly, but it was the same for Fleetwood, so no excuses. We just started the game quite slowly for our liking.

“The manager got into them at half-time a little bit about where we need to be better, where we need to do better and areas we needed to go into and I thought we dominated the second half and I think we deserved just to edge and win the game.”

Town’s quality from the bench showed with Celina scoring and Wes Burns also making an impression.

“That’s why we’ve got a big squad,” Roberts said. “Even now, but come Christmas time, January, February, you need all your squad and all our lads who were sat behind us today, even the ones not in the squad, we’ve got quality throughout, we made sure of that in the summer.

“It’s going to be a tough, long season, 46 games in this league and there are probably 4-0 grinds where it’s going to be tough and we’ve got the players for that.”

He added: “To be fair, the attitude of the players has been spot on, especially the lads out of the side.

“It’s always harder being out of the side, you’ve got to work a little bit harder because when you come in you’ve got to be ready and coming on today and affecting the game today, Wes and Santi [Celina] and Cam [Cameron Burgess] as well when he came on, he was brilliant as well, to be fair. He came on to do a job and he did that. Fair play, spot on.”

Did he fear the worst at 1-1? That Town would drop more points from a winning position? “When you concede that late [you always do], but because we were in so much control of the game, I knew we’d get a chance, the manager said we’d get a chance of two.

“We knew that with the players we’ve got. We had them penned in and once it drops to someone like Santi, there’s a good chance he’s going to score with the quality he has.”

Earlier, Chaplin had netted fifth goal in his last seven games to give the Blues the lead.

“Brilliant, a great player, a great lad, he’s infectious around the club,” Roberts said of his former Portsmouth team-mate. “You can see him getting a bit of a relationship with the fans.

“I’ve been lucky to play with him and he’s so infectious round the training ground and he brings that work-rate and he’s bringing goals to his game, which is fantastic for us because we know how good he is.

“Number 10, in our team, is the toughest position on the pitch. You’ve got to create, you’ve got to score and you’ve got to look after the deep-lying midfielder, so it’s a lot of work. Conor will sleep well tonight.”

Roberts is pleased that players are coming into the team and making themselves undroppable.

“If you play well, you keep your shirt, that’s not just us, that’s any club and I think a few have grabbed the shirts at the minute,” he continued.

“But we’ve got a big squad with lads who are pushing every single day, not just what you see out here, the training has gone up a level.

“It’s gone up again with people like Sone Aluko, who probably didn’t get a chance early in the season. He trained his way into the team and look at him now, he’s flying. If they keep working hard, they’ll get a chance.”

Is he starting to see things translate from Playford Road? “Yes, definitely, the patterns and habits, distances, patterns, habits, we work on them every day. You can see the shape, you can see the way we play. If you look at Paul Cook’s teams in the past, they score similar goals.

“We knew it was going to take a tiny little bit of time, but you feel we’re taking small steps.”

Town are starting to build up some momentum having won six of their last nine in all competitions.

“We just keep going,” Roberts continued. “Everyone expected us to win the league in the first month. We knew it was going to be a little bit longer, we thought it was going to be a little bit tricky with the number of players, the turnover.

“People see you signing Scott Fraser, Macauley Bonne, Conor Chaplin and Santi - ‘They’ve won the league’. But it doesn’t work like that, it’s football.

“We keep our heads down, we keep working as hard as we can and we’ll try and get there.”

The Blues are at leaders Plymouth next week with a trip to second-placed Wycombe following with games against Sunderland and Rotherham also drawing near.

“Big games,” Roberts reflected. “At the minute, they’re all playing a similar formation, so it’s similar messages. Everyone seems to be playing three at the back against us at the minute. The next two will as well.

“We’ll keep working, we’ll try and break them down and we’ll go to Plymouth to try and win the game.

“We’re Ipswich Town, we go there to win the game, we don’t sit behind the ball, you know that, you can see how many goals we’ve scored this season. We’ll go there and we’ll try our best to win the game.”

The former winger expects teams to try to frustrate Town this season: “Yes, especially at Portman Road. Even though Fleetwood today, they came and had a go.

“I thought they had a go, they had a threat, the two lads up front, the two strikers who were willing workers but Christian [Walton] never came under a real threat in the game, if you think back. The goal on our part we could probably do a bit better. But Plymouth will want to beat us, which is good.”

Explaining why manager Cook wasn’t taking the press conference, he added: “I was coming out of the dressing room and I was the lads and I just got assigned to it and he’s the boss, so I can’t say no!”

Roberts said he met Johnson, who is on a fleeting visit before returning to the States on Sunday, at Playford Road yesterday: “Yes, we spoke to him, he was at the training ground for a long time yesterday. Seemed really happy with the place.

“I watched his interview last night and he looks so happy and pleased to be here. I don’t know what day he’s going home but I think we can send him home with a smile and hopefully see him again very soon.”

He added: “I don’t think it’s going to be like that every week, hopefully it will be a bit more controlled in the result next time.

“Listen, our fans are desperate to jump on with the lads, you feel it. I’ve played here and I know the feeling. When the team’s going well, they’re dying to jump with the team and help them.

“Twenty thousand today against Fleetwood at home, that’s some going. The lads feel it, they know they want to get involved. You saw them at the end, the scenes were brilliant.

“We want to take this club forward, so do the players and the fans are desperate, and we’ll try and bring that success to them.

“You saw when we scored the goal, at any other ground you’d see seats emptying, but they stuck with them, they’re desperate for the lads to do well and you feel that. We feel that on the side and to get a winner for them at the end was pleasing.”

Fleetwood boss Simon Grayson admitted it as heartbreaking to lose having got on terms so late in the game.

“It was because I don’t think we deserved to lose that,” he told his club’s official website.

“I thought we played really well, the shape and organisation was really good, the players carried out the instructions we asked them to do, against a strong Ipswich team, who have got some fantastic players and they’re one of the favourites for the division.

“First half, I thought we were comfortable, we passed the ball well and asked questions of them.

“Obviously, we suffered the disappointment of conceding straight after half-time, but we responded in a positive manner by not buckling under the pressure of 20,000 people here and we kept believing we could get something.

"Ultimately, we got the equaliser but then we just switched off in the last minute or so, which is devastating for the players and the supporters that traveled all the way down here.”

He added: “We certainly didn’t buckle under the pressure of a big crowd, we moved the ball well and when Paddy [Lane] cut in, great ball in, he saw Callum Morton pulling off the shoulder and he finished it really well, and it’s probably what we deserved out of that game, the draw.

“We’ve talked a lot about fine margins already this season and fine margins have cost us points again today.

“It’s something we’ve got to eradicate because if you’re on the wrong side of fine margins you’re going to drop points and we have been a lot this season by someone not busting a gut to be with the runner or being alert to win the second ball so late in the game.

“You’ve got to make sure you can manage the game better because I feel a draw is exactly what we deserved.”

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midastouch added 18:32 - Oct 23
We're all smiling tonight! First time Cook has managed to get back to back wins in the league, that's a big monkey off his back. We left it late but as the saying goes, better late than never! :-)

Karlosfandangal added 18:44 - Oct 23
Bet all the Cook haters are not smiling tonight as they had to delete their comments as Celina smashed the ball in the back of the net.

schenkermental added 19:33 - Oct 23
Cameron Burgess was brilliant? Only came on in 85th minute.

grinch added 20:04 - Oct 23
Dinacian immense again not sure on Evans ...Harper could do a better job imo morsey good too and edmunson looks solid toto needs games looks rusty and penney was lacking today burns looked so much better than him but we stuck with it and deserved the win Walton also made couple of good saves we can win without bonne scoring too happy days

blues1 added 20:18 - Oct 23
Grinch really dint know where ur coming from re Evans. He was good again today. Harper has proved he cannot play that position particularly well. Not sure neither how u can try to compare Penney and Burns, who play completely different positions. Penney wasn't great 1st half tho, no. 2nd half played well tho.

MVBlue added 21:00 - Oct 23
Respect to the 20'000 turning up each week, good fans good support. Must say signing Celina again is a very good move.

BobbyBell added 21:56 - Oct 23
Not many comments on here today, is it because we won? I just looked at the Pinkun forums and they're talking about us yet again. I think they're starting to worry now. Let's go for three in a row now!! IF, and it's a massive IF, we can beat one of the top two sides then the gap will be closing to something catchable.

Europablue added 22:17 - Oct 23
I don't understand the number of comments on this site. Sometimes they go crazy and sometimes it's like a ghost town.
It was great to see us actually doing something about getting pegged back. It has been a very welcome run of form, but there are also signs that we could be punished against one of the top sides. For now I will just take the 3 points that we can't really afford to be dropping and have my fingers crossed for the next few games, because from what I've seen we could just as easily win all of them as we could lose all of them.

Gforce added 22:57 - Oct 23
Well done boys ,another good win.First half we were quite lethargic and stale,but certainly stepped it up a couple of gears in the second half for a thoroughly deserved win.
I'm sure Brett Johnson would have been over the moon with the late goal and the terrific crowd and atmosphere,especially after the winner.
On another note,I'm not sure what game Grayson was watching how on earth he thought they deserved a draw is beyond me.

FrankMarshall added 23:02 - Oct 23
Brilliant game for him to watch. Drama right until the end and a great 3 points. Also showed him that our defence can be a little lapse at times. Fleetwood scored from a rare opportunity. Everyone except Fleetwood went home happy.

Eddie1985 added 08:18 - Oct 24
Karlosfandagal, I don't really like pail Cook and I'm extatic at that lastmin winner, I'd love Cook to prove me wrong and get us promoted, I think you and Dissboy for example have this warped view that fans who have an opinion on Cook put that opinion being right over thier support of the club... I think that's in your heads more than a reality. Great to find a way to win today after being pegged back late COYB

Karlosfandangal added 09:03 - Oct 24

My point being is there are no comments on here about Cook, yet the Cambridge result the Cook haters were out in force.

I had the privilege of watching Sir Bobby Robson teams and he never got the perfect result every time.

Yet every manager Town get the fans slag them off from the start and it’s not conductive it’s just nasty.

Bazza8564 added 09:29 - Oct 24
Karlos, yes absolutely. The Moaners just love it when things go wrong and the comments are so thin on here today it’s indicative of where the volume of comments usually come from.
Their spelling is sh*t too. I wonder how many have FA coaching qualifications to give them the credentials to talk such boll*cks? Our job is to support our club not batter it.
Yesterday there were boos in the west stand when Walton paused to find the right option for his ball out, after 30 minutes !!
I love my club, It is in great hands and we need the togetherness in the stands and on here to be one force.
Yesterday’s result was very good against an extremely well organised side, we gave Brett Johnson a taster of our passion that will have left an indelible mark on him for sure.
Let’s keep drowning the negativity out.
Blue Army


barrystedmunds added 09:33 - Oct 24
Spot on Eddie1985. Granted some of the anti Cook views on here are way OTT but the vast majority of us want him and the club to succeed. Why wouldn't we?

Gforce added 10:21 - Oct 24
@Bazza.......Well said.

Europablue added 10:25 - Oct 24
Cook has been making it difficult to love him at times with antagonistic comments and out of touch statements like saying that Cambridge is a local derby (yeah, just like Liverpool vs Leeds is a derby).
The recent results that he's been getting have really helped.
Personally I know his heart's in the right place, but I wish he'd run a few thoughts by a proper Ipswich bloke like Dyer before he makes tone death comments.

Eddie1985 added 11:14 - Oct 24
Bazza I'm a level 2 coach have worked with youngsters at afc Sudbury as well as the Essex youth league, I've played in the Eastern league at a paid level as well as coaching and playing at a much lower level as I got older but feel I'm at least qualified in a sense to judge. Cook has showed a poor attitude at times and baffling decisions. I hope he gets it right but my match day ticket is expensive and my suffering long. Now we have a golden chance to use American investment to kick on and I'm keen to see we don't waste that chance. In the end opinions are subjective but we all want the same thing whive us townv Fulham, town v west brom, rather than Accrington and Fleetwood with due respect

DaGremloid added 12:11 - Oct 24
To those who can't wait to slag off the fans not yet convinced by Cook when we win, I posted straight away on the match report to say how pleased I was we had won. Cook has to earn my respect after a pretty torrid end to last season and a shocking start to this but - and I'll put this in capitals so you can read it a little easier - I WANT MY CLUB TO SUCCEED NO MATTER WHO IS IN CHARGE. Your assumption that I want ITFC to lose because I'm not a Cook fan is offensive and pathetic. I reserve the right to criticise the manager when I think he's got it horribly wrong, which PC has on many occasions, as have some of the players. I sense the tide may be turning but the next couple of games will be crucial, as they will be our first real tests of the season.

Northstandveteran added 12:48 - Oct 24
I didn't post because straight after the match I drove to my ladies to do some scoring of my own.

I was starting to believe for the first time in years until Fleetwood scored and when Celina banged in the winner I got a feeling that we might just achieve our goal of promotion this season.

If we can navigate the next two league games without a disaster it's game on!

Get in there town!!!

BossMan added 12:52 - Oct 24
The comments from the Cook fanboys are always offensive and divisive. This is a forum to debate opinions not just somewhere for the happy clappy brigade to cheer every list point and every lost season. You don't need s coaching badge or know how to spell to question Paul Cook. Some of us actually have real ambition and that means getting promoted this season. Anything else is failure. Let's see how Cook does in Nov and Dec before we start organising the open bus top tour. If he gets us promoted I'll drive the bus. We all want him to succeed.

Tractorboy58 added 08:39 - Oct 25
A really exciting game and a fantastic atmosphere. The quality of players we have and the fast flowing skillful football is a pleasure to watch. I do however feel that we are still a little 'fragile' and I am not yet totally sold on PC...IF we can continue this run against the top teams in the division then I will really start to believe. I would crow about Norwich, but will wait until we are in the same division with them ! COYB !

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