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Sam added 17:17 - Feb 11

Wasn't at the game today but all I can say is massive well done to the Blue Army. Please carry on winning!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! BLUE ARMY!!!! Sam ITFCFAN [Age ten].

LegendofthePhoenix added 18:29 - Feb 11

First half we started very defensive, and looked low on confidence. Knudsen especially playing the ball backwards - why wont he go forwards/ cut in? We had to battle to stay in the game, but tbh the defensive changes made us more positive. We had a bit of luck and a couple of good saves from Bart, to be level at HT.
2nd half was a different story. Villa seemed to lose confidence and Town looked much more positive. McGoldrick was sheer class, Tom Evans worked really hard, josh Emmanual looks like a really strong right wing back, Huws very good. Villa were suddenly on the back foot and although we only had the one shot on target, we were looking like the most likely to score. The goal was a great fast move and excellent finish. Town section went delirious - best feeling I've had at a game for about 3 years. Singing cheerio to the Villans as tehy streamed out, class. That fist pump at the end was beauty.

great game Town, well played, onwards and upwards.

Mullet added 20:43 - Feb 11

Through the ice, mist and chill that pierced the heart of the country Town came to Villa Park with renewed faith. It’s not often you see stained-glass in the sides of a football ground, but 1800 faithful took their seats across two tiers. The Blues made only one change. Ward replacing Skuse in the middle, bringing back a nod to the previous home draw with Reading.

Bart had another 3 or 5 depending on your view point ahead of him. The captain to the right, Berra to left, Taylor right in the middle. Flanking them were Knudsen and Emmanuel respectively. Diagouraga was the sitting minesweeper, beyond him McGoldrick and Lawrence free moving attackers supported by Huws and Ward.

Villa were unrecognisable, yet hauntingly familiar when you stare at the squad list. A who’s who of decent Championship names over the past 3 or 4 seasons, but a reputation this season that matched Town’s on points alone before kick-off.

When Lansbury launched it forward and Taylor et al. easily motioned to contain the aerial ball, Town looked at ease. Pre-match exuberance continued across the stand and onto the pitch. Huws the first fall almost before the ball. It was a nasty moment as Chambers remonstrated with the ref for what seemed minutes. His Welsh colleague catching a clear elbow outside of the box.

There was some nice movement from Town especially down the left-hand side. Knudsen the beneficiary of timing his run to receive the rewards from Lawrence and McG’s magic feet. His touch didn’t allow him to attack the ball, and offloading it again Town’s movement signalled little.

Villa’s first real threat on goal was a soft free kick. Ward tactless in the tackle and grabbing a sleeve instead of fresh air. The ref march the wall back, and back. The shot that came in saw Lansbury scissor kick a volley. Granite hands from Bart signalled a corner. Rock beats scissors. If that £40k a week could buy a decent haircut, maybe he’d know that.
The resultant corner saw another decent chance as Bart and Chambers stopped close range efforts. Hourihane looking to score against his former club and finally get noticed by Ipswich fans. It was a period marked by early excitement and excellent flowing runs by both sides.

Kodjia was arguably the hosts man of the match. With the space afforded to him thanks to the support of free floating Hourihane and Bjarnason it was here he began to push Town back and look more like a multi-million-pound player. However, Town matched that with value of their own.

When Lawrence went into the box and then over his feet, everyone was on theirs in all four sides. It was either a clear penalty or the ban-inducing yellow a long time coming. The ref didn’t know either were options. Choosing to trot away disinterestedly.

Emmanuel saved at the other end felling the begoggled Welshman on Villa’s left, Neil Taylor. What looked like a bizarre haircut initially from a distance, became clear to being eyewear as the harrying youngster saw the danger out for Town.

Ipswich looked the away side, but were enjoying themselves. Taylor hooked away from an onrushing Bart and out to safety as strikers closed in and the longball clearly wasn’t long enough to be handled. It was one of many simple steadying moments the new defender would have in a short time.

Another free kick in a dangerous area as Hogan’s only real contribution to the game seemed to be falling like chocolate soldier. Lansbury marched to the deadball, with Town deep and dense along the goal area the former Gunner bottled firing. A strange short routine slid across the pitch to an unmarked Bjarnason who smashed his shot off the bar.

Myles Kenlock made a welcome return to the side in unwelcoming conditions. Somewhere Taylor slipped from view and took a knee. The fight knocked out of him, he was erect again long enough to shoot down the tunnel. A worrying sight given Town’s injury crisis.

With Villa well on top, Knudsen seemed to step inside not once, but twice for a minute. A makeshift sweeper as Berra didn’t know whether to attack man or ball as both receded away from him and goal on the edge of the box.

Their next best chance saw Kodjia try something that was neither acrobatic or sensible. A scorpion kick of sorts from Hutton’s cross barely a few yards out. Maybe Hogan put him off, but he flopped like a scorpion who had stung itself and Bart collected the venomless remnants.

Town rallied and again it seemed like Lawrence was the best outlet for attacking intent with the slower but beguiling McGoldrick close behind. With Diagouraga in the middle and two fairly attacking central midifelders ahead of him, there was a Claret and Royal mesh in the centre of the pitch that meant runners rather than punters unpicked the best attacks.

Bucking the trend, Lawrence screwed a cross field ball that bounced fortunately for Town and beyond two defenders. McGoldrick collected the speculative effort and cut inside only to have his shot clipped out for a corner. His next effort towards goal would go way off it.

As half time came a second bout of sickness swept over Town fans. Berra making the most of his aerial aggression at the close of the half, and quickening of Blues crosses was hit himself. An arm that looked admittedly accidental crumpled the Scot. Down for a marked length of time it didn’t look good.

Jordan Spence trotted on as many fans and staff vented their disgust and dismay at what might be a costly decision from the referee not to even investigate what he clearly hadn’t seen. The former Don took a controlling position next to Chambers as Town ended the half in yet another tactical teaser.

The second half started with a new look Ipswich. Not just the bizarre defensive fan of centre-back whose better at right back, wingback who can play right back and arguably centre back, left back, and two youngsters who can play either variant as long they can touch the white line enough.

Ahead of them was the large defensive stopper in what looked more like a second midfield ahead of Bart. Villa meanwhile didn’t really shuffle their pack in terms of shape, or approach. Both sides had the room to run, thanks to what looked like soft centres and space to exploit. When defenders were drawn in during either side’s runs forward, gaps appeared on the overlap. Where this benefited Knudsen in the first half, now Ward made a little more of his role.

Bruce clearly spotted it too, replacing Hutton first with another “shouldn’t he be in the Premier League?” name off the bench in Albert Adomah. This was not long before Spence had got forward and from barely three yards repeated Kodjia’s feat with slightly more respectable flailing of his own. Somehow contriving to catch the ball, presumably off balance in the six-yard scrap and miss the gaping portion of the goal.

If the game had died in large parts during the middle of the first half it was regaining some its feeling by the hour mark. Unfortunately for us it was the Clarets that were spilling forward with greater intent but little execution. Had we not already lost two giants to injury the midfield might have benefitted from relieving Toumani from an excess amount of playing time. The loanee seems to age alongside the game still and that played a small part in Town’s best repellents and moves forward starting at the back.

Adomah soon became the first to see the ref’s cards, mainly as he was looking up following a deliberate challenge from Knudsen looking to stem a flowering performance from the sub. More misery all around as the home fans felt they had the advantage.

Once the smoke cleared Lawrence was on the ground holding something, so were we. Our breath. The winger got back up and went back on the attack eventually, but a third sub due to injury and another Leeds away scenario might be all too cruel.

Diagourara’s latency showed as he went late in to stop another attack and take a booking. The free kick was again tame from Villa, swinging just a step to the side of Bart who collected happily. He would be less comfortable when someone cleared off his line, an attempt between those two missing all and should have been buried by an attacking head. This time the header came but not the goal that looked certain.

Town had ridden their luck, good and bad. When they finally broke with something meaningful, it was none other than Lawrence who picked apart the men in front of him. He was then blown up, but the ref didn’t. As his arched body bounced off the turf McGoldrick got lower towards it. Sneaking a run down the white line of the box and squaring. It looked certain to be defended. Huws came from nowhere, unsighted having loitered near the spot. He was our Johnny to smash apart the door and knock the ball home.

1800 throats opened as Brummie blood boiled. Limbs, voices, centres of gravity went every which way as the jubilance made flesh sprayed everywhere like a medieval painting of sin and ecstasy. All wrapped up and nowhere else we wanted to go. The white shirts on the field bristled as they exchanged salutes with those off it.

5 minutes left.

4 more once the board went up.

Kevin Bru would make a late appearance for the winning goal scorer. A little hobble rather than hop in his step as he went off. Meanwhile so did Didzy’s howitzer of a right boot. Slipping himself past one man with the outstep then meeting the ball with his laces and unravelling a shot well off target again. Ill-discipline or careless abandon. Either way it was Villa who looked to fire back with the news of unduly long time added on.

A climb into 13th far from lucky today. There was some excellent work from a host of individuals, and perhaps for the goal alone Huws takes the champagne and adulation. You could see the forced changes, forced innovation and fresh ideas from Town who not only nullified much fancier and well-heeled opposition but reduced them in every conceivable way.

The true cost of victory might well be counted when Matt Byard gets his hands on yet more broken bodies. The lists grow ever longer. But chalk that one, and those three points up at the top of all of them this season. It felt good.


Mariner1974 added 01:13 - Feb 12

For all his knockers, with Taylor and Berra going off injured, Chambers was immense marshalling the troops around him. Knudsen rose to the occasion and Spence and Kenlock held their own when the came on. With Diagouraga and Huws in midfield we look alot more of a physical presence in the midfield, and a threat with lawrence and mcGoldrick up front. Their defence was playing well espcially Baker, but just felt that if there was one opening, Didzy could slice them apart and her did. A great effort by the lads, and just shows that having McGoldrick back makes such a difference. If we can get Bishop up and running in the team again, then we will start to build a team to believe in again. We can judge them properly when our best players are fit. Was sitting with Villa fans, and give them their due, they had some quality banter. These old dudes behind us were hilariously scathing of their team, but with a sense of humour and intelligence that some ITFC fans seem to lack. COYB

Pilgrimblue added 10:15 - Feb 12

Can't compete with Mullet but for me Dave was immense. Tackling heading passing forwards sideways and making himself a real problem for Villa. Hews too grew into game and was unlucky when earlier shot was blocked. Defence was great plus of course Bart.
My concern is that Bart just punts the ball downfield with Tom and McG struggling to cope with high balls. MM needs to get defenders and midfield to look for passes from goal kicks as massing up for the long ones doesn't work. Also need better routines for free kicks would help and maybe use Jonas left boot more often.
Anyway it was amazing to be there, Onwards and upwards!

Robert_Garrett added 14:44 - Feb 12

Rugged defence and massive defiance blew the Villa chargers apart

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