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|Nottingham Forest v Ipswich Town Your Report added by Mullet at 20:11:39|
Sent to Nottingham, doesn’t have quite the same ring to it, does it? But whatever compelled 1500 or so blue souls to a ground where Suffolk seems to translate as second best for years now, there we were. At home, many watching on TV sets to see a solid second tier team, once known for European heroics and generations of success outside the bigger, fashionable clubs in the English game take on Ipswich to avoid relegation to the third tier.
It was like looking at next season as the teams came out in too many ways to be comfortable. This was Ipswich with no Lawrence, no McGoldrick. Bart had Kenlock, Berra, Chambers and Spence from left to right. Skuse, Huws and Ward the more fancied midfield of late and Rowe and Sears supporting Samuel as a lone striker. The team told us as much about our future by noting who wasn’t there as much as who was.
Forest started in silence and a deflected speculative ball across the goalmouth, fell just beyond their expensive focal point. After two or three attempts to get something on target saw Ward whip past the post their opening salvo at salvation or just enough safety gave way to a period of Town ascendency.
In the time, it took a few amateur awayday Stellings’ to announce the Blackburn lead and commemorate the fondness Mogga is still held in by us, Danny Rowe began to smoulder rather than light up the match.
Impressive youth product and nominal number 1 Jordan Smith was forced to save the recently fit Rowe’s effort as showed what cutting in and letting go might do for the first time. Town’s version of 4-3-3 seemed to work much better as both lone strikers looked isolated. Samuel more from the impetus of the wide players servicing him, Assombalonga more through the impotence of his.
Carayol who has always impressed me, crashed to the ground and before being subbed early on massaged both his hamstring and his groin. Who else would forest look to but a lad named Clough. Former Trotter and fancied by many Town fans at one point saw the home side put a flatter, higher line behind their striker and cause more issues for Bart on the counter. The Pole off his line quickly, and collecting slowly much to the annoyance of home fans who slowly found their voice.
Build up play from Town saw Skuse switching momentum down the right and Spence finding Rowe more than once. Huws and Ward swapped sides often, and when the wingers did it, it exploited space and little else.
Sears down the left had the speed but not the balance too often to find a shot or cross that could make the difference. Even when Skuse sliced a volley from a defended corner way beyond him, or Huws passed 15 yards into touch with the wide-playing striker having no chance of getting one on the intended ball. When he collapsed in a heap untouched when Town needed the cross more than anything, the jeers of the home fans drowned out the sense of wonder at what the hell was going to come off for us today.
Rowe on the other flank (mostly) had much better going of it. His electric runs slowly burning and forcing the Reds’ defence to twitch and jerk. When he again found that moving across the whole width of their shuffling perimeter he was unlucky to see his drive bounce back off a defender. The follow up from the keen but off key Samuel forced a save and the woodwork to conspire in keeping us level and Forest in striking distance of survival.
Bar this chance you felt Town might well deserve a lead, or even just a break but didn’t look like they had the skill or savvy to force one. At the other end of the pitch and the contest Assombalonga seemed to be the one man carry a team on his shoulders. His battle with Berra saw much manoeuvring but few shots fired. Both he and Kenlock had moments of denying him, it was Eric Lichaj who had the best chance of making himself a hero. A beautiful cross proved too much for a defence even as resolute as ours, and on the all but the goal line he let his toe take the ball high over the bar, when any other part of his anatomy might have got the touch to poke the ball over the line.
Moments later he tried to atone for this sin with one of the worst penalty shouts ever seen. If Chambers’ tapping of an invisible watch at the linesman had spared his blushes after a late flag early on, I’m not sure a whole game of charades would have spared the Americans blushes. Going down untouched like a geriatric sex worker, his demands for payment from the linesman were brazen and shameful in a manner that deserves viral condemnation.
It was a soft throw across again that would crucify Town. Bart seemed to fly in behind a stationary Kenlock, and getting an uncharacteristic flap at the ball, Spence then cleared off the line as somewhere in the melee the ref pointed to the spot. Confusion reigned amongst Blues fans long after who else but Britt held his nerve and slammed high into the net.
Town rallied, but the corner which they won and saw Berra glance way wide summed up the lack of breath or belief that remained after such a body shot. The hosts went in at half time looking safe(r) and Town fans wore looks that became increasingly stranger and furrowed. It wasn’t unfamiliar enough or good enough.
Before the interval our Ward had been hobbling on his ankle, Skuse had collided heavily with their Ward during one of his many intervening runs. To hear Emmanuel had been warming up and was coming on was confusing but not surprising, until Kenlock was the man removed in a straight swap. Perhaps Mick had wanted to see a half each from the young-backs, perhaps he was less than impressed with some of the defensive decisions that clouded another example of Myles consolidating his claim for regular football.
Town’s straight swap didn’t last long as the game again mirrored the season as a whole. Anything good about the start not built upon, the need to chase worse teams than us, and lack of end-product saw Emmanuel shift to the right and Rowe fill in at wingback. It stifled Forest’s more direct build up, but where the gaps had been ours to exploit previously, now the openings and distance to run shortened.
If Rowe had looked the only man likely to score, let alone have a go from any angle Forest found a superior effort and it was a Captain’s moment. A simple shimmy inward and Cohen unleashed an absolute worldie. Clearly deflected, but no one cared. It looped past a stranded Bart in a way that you just knew would hit the bar at the other end. Forest went wild, and seemed surer of themselves and their status next season. They have a habit of saving these types of things just for us it seems.
Town might have appeared winded by the first goal, the second one smothered us. Adrift and left to wonder at what distance divine intervention might be as Mick switched us back in shape again with the sense that all was lost for a third time in a row. The moment that sealed it again a spot of bother far more blatant.
Emmanuel chasing down his man from the wrong side, is something we’ve seen before. Him handling him less so as the youthful exuberance upended Ward yet again. A clear card and black mark against Josh as again Assombalonga lined up. Switching his kick, it wasn’t just Jesus who saves. Bialkowski hammering the spot kick out for a corner and a restoration for Town seemed just a matter of faith and a little patience.
Sears who had again worked hard but not made headway was booed off or Moore was booed on. Whatever it meant, was soon replaced by a clearer chant of disgust towards McCarthy from a growing minority.
Celebration gave way to rhapsody as finally the second coming of Assombalonga was heralded by their star shooting high into the net again past Bart, having beaten all in front of him and a tight angle. The former Nottingham man chambers and Huws rushed straight to the referee. It was clear the man in the middle had pointed to a free kick for Town, before changing his mind and direction.
Our white Knights gallantly trotted out of position so the scorer could be released and goal made. The mistake was glaring, so was the ref’s but nothing was changing. Town limped to three goals down.
The sub Moore caused far more fear than necessary in his defensive counterparts. Hauled to the ground several times, Huws criminally wasted one free kick with a tame chip into Smith’s arms. The tallest man on the pitch also took a nasty elbow to the mouth which went missed and unpunished. His revenge was a cold moment, a header from close range kicked off the line when he did well to find the effort.
For all his attempts, he was just that moment too slow, too ponderous, too far behind when one looks at the performances of Rowe in a similar light and context.
The final bow of Berra came ten minutes from time as Webster made his long-awaited return. He was a shout back to better days, sunnier August afternoons full of hope and pregnant with potential. As we throw the dirt on this season and the mudslinging will continue as it must surely do now, one wonders if we saw our future in the crystallising defeat today.
An unpopular owner, a squad loaded with injury prone, expensive and incoherent players. An expensive manager, well regarded and with a point to prove. The last time I saw a team like that perform like Forest did today, all whilst facing the drop; Mick McCarthy was in the dugout. We were playing fellow relegation avoiders Birmingham that day.
Bart waded through the pitch invading home fans, between the red smoke and relief evaporating into the air. He was clapping purposefully.
Every team finishes where they deserve, on and off the pitch.
|Nottingham Forest v Ipswich Town Your Report added by Scuzzer at 19:41:30|
I'm not sure it was a pen for the first one. Ward had a high foot and went straight into Bart. He managed to get his shot away even. We actually looked good for the majority of the first half. The deflection off Spence for the second was unfortunate....but why did MM change formation in the second half. If he left well enough alone we may have got back into it. Substitutions were hopeless....apart for Webster...bye bye Berra.
I am glad I didn't renew on the day of the Newcastle match...it was just too little too late. Still don't put all the blame on MM but Evans really has to do something to impress me before I even contemplate buying another season ticket. We need to consign this season to Room 101.
|Ipswich Town v Sheffield Wednesday Your Report added by Sam at 18:37:26|
First half OK. Mcgoldrick had one good chance and then the second half pathetic. Hoofing forwards, playing defensive football and leads to a goal. I'm embarrased, I really am. Massive changes needed to turn this around. Mick out.
|Rotherham United v Ipswich Town Your Report added by Mullet at 19:52:11|
The season over in April and a short taste of summer on a cool, sunny day. Nine changes for Mick as he looked over those we’d seen less of this term. Gerken came back between the sticks. The familiar pairing of Smith and Chambers the only one. Kenlock and Emmanuel back inside the side-lines at full back. Diagouraga sitting with Dozzell and Bishop, out wide Samuel and Rowe. Pitman the lone striker.
An opening minute of head tennis saw neither side take control of anything. The lack of fluency showed as Ward lead the line for the Millers and showed why Town might be looking at him as much as anyone in Blue. After ten or so minutes Chambers struggled with him and the ball in the box, the ricochet falling between Gerken and the onrushing red. Emmanuel clumsily flew in from behind to give the hosts a chance to draw first blood.
A well struck spot-kick, a dive to his left and Gerken palmed away. The palpable belief from the few home fans that had bothered with the spectacle clearly evaporated as Town scrambled away. The stopper in lime green will never escape comparisons with the Pole but his first half showing between the posts was reasonable enough.
One good punch and little else, he was off his line smartly and his choice of kicking allowed Town to play out of the back. The rigidity of the 433 gave way on around the 20 minute mark to complete amorphousness beyond the defence. Town were never free-flowing, at our finest perhaps gelatinous.
Rowe swapping sides whilst Samuel went up top on his own, Pitman filled a sort of neither/or role between strike partner and wide outlet. Winning cross-field long kicks in the air admirably, but losing the battle with himself all game.
There had been neat triangles of football deep in midfield allowing the full backs to get involved, and Rotherham’s strict structure and punt to Ward policy meant that Dozzell and Bishop both alternated behind the striker and at LCM. Whoever took the latter role drawn out wide to meet the oncoming attacker as needed.
It was in this period that Town carved out the better chances off the half. Rowe was clearly designated set-piece taker, his delivery consistently deep and troublesome. All of his corners found the last man, but not the first touch goalward. It was a freekick from just inside the touchline and just outside the box that saw him swing his left foot through the ball and whip across goal for the first time. When Samuel won one on the opposite side of the box, Pitman worked a baffling chipped effort from Diagouraga’s layoff that did nothing but alarm fans instead of foes.
Bishop and Dozzell had perhaps had the focus of the most hope, if not all the eyes of Town fans on them with every touch. The lack of understanding amongst the lineup saw both miss runners and momentum and restricted us to safer five yard passes around their men. The youngster who would turn one, then nutmeg another was nowhere to be seen; as the older version of the Blue #7 meticulously tried to get Town playing but couldn’t. He had the ball, he had the brain, but not the belief it seems.
It was about 28 minutes before Bishop found Kenlock and not just empty space ahead of him with throughball. The assured left back on the overlap and Ted sent him flying down the line. His cut in, cut out and Town won another corner. Rotherham meanwhile were using the hold up play of their bigger striker Morris to unleash Ward. Emmanuel not long after the penalty was more comfortable shepherding the smaller striker away from goal having stayed the right side every other time. Had the hosts’ #10 had hold up play any better than his attitude we might have been in trouble all afternoon.
Rowe was the really moving into centre-stage as most of Town’s better moves seemed to involve him. A shot towards goal as he ran diagonally in from Dozzell’s visionary pass. The low rifle caused all sorts of problems from the man stepping up from the National League. Just behind him in terms of movement and effort was Samuel, he made that literal as his rebound also failed to find the net. The keeper and then the woodwork conspiring to deny Town who had hoped to ride the limited pressure of a team already sunk.
Half time came just as Ward again tried to run clear. Clutching a clearly pulled hamstring he hobbled towards the throw in he’d won, sat down and the referee seemed to sense his anguish as much as ours and blew up. The image of the striker sitting forlorn and broken encapsulated a half of football with all the feel of a friendly and warmth of an afternoon in Yorkshire.
An unsettled and unnerving half saw only Rotherham make the obvious change. Ward unable to continue was replaced by someone else you’ve probably not heard much from before. If Burton had a side that looked like a Championship calibre swapsies pile of players which few others needed let alone wanted, Town played along with the theme of fielding strangers.
It didn’t take long before the unimpressive Ajeyi went off injured or sick and tired. His distribution had stopped both teams playing often enough and caused Rotherham to shuffle around a bit. Their midfielder dropping back before firing wide at the post in another unlikely effort.
The lumpy afternoon from Diagouraga saw the big man slow down again. His movement dropping in contrast to those ahead of him. Rowe dipped the ball forward perfectly and Pitman seized on the bounce. Further out than his effort a week ago, he again failed to find the target despite the much better build up but none of the breaks.
Mick’s lack of shape saw Town move to a strange 4-2-2-2 with the deflated Bishop removed for Moore. The lofty striker seemed steely and determined, his first chance to score saw even his long legs too short to stud home on the slide. A good move down the right saw Pitman ass the ball across the goal thanks to the legs of Emmanuel and then thrust forward of Rowe.
It was the two recently non-league men than combined to allow Rowe to have beautiful effort clipped wide. Moore stood between two defenders and blocked the view of the keeper long enough to shield the ball down to the diminutive strawberry-blonde winger. No peach, and little sweet about the continued struggle against such low-hanging fruit.
The waspish frustration only increased when it was the second of such attempts to beat a keeper with little natural ability.
If Ipswich were to take a lead they needed to remove the shackles that seemed to slow down so many moves across the pitch. The unorthodox nature of the gigantic striker meant he so often looked like a crane when we needed a wrecking ball. Neither Rowe or Samuel seemed to find their mark. However, the Reading striker showed great technique and comprehension of Blues’ attacking intent. I’d like to see more of him.
Emmanuel beat his man then turned back on himself to cross nicely with his weaker foot. The godfearing Samuel had no divine right to score, but he deserved better than the save off the legs of O’Donnell.
With little left of the contest and Bru coming into central midfield, marked a shift in approach. If Diagouraga has hopes of staying in Mick’s plans he needs to complete 90 minutes and do so to a much higher standard. The same might be said for many of those out there. Dozzell shifted into a deeper role that allowed him to become more of a playmaker. That left foot of his could level an entire city in the right contest.
However, it was Ipswich who would give way in a fashion that summed up so much that is wrong with this season. A reasonably well defended corner saw the ball pushed back to half way. It was the half measures all day that meant it wasn’t too surprising to see a mortar round drop in the area and no one scramble. The solid centre backs afforded one momentary lapse and the hosts fired themselves ahead and into a brief moment of escapism. A rocketing lead taken well enough, but as the whole game had shown.
Questions were far more prevalent than answers.
Sears emerged to play out the last few minutes as Town threw everything forward. Rowe making an impressive debut in uncertain circumstances. If Oar was not the answer, it’s impossible to know if Rowe is. More aggressive and industrious, he is more like Anderson or Roberts which must be why Mick likes him.
Moore on the other hand put in arguably his best shift for Town, again off the bench. Not everything went his way, and his shove on Mattock at the corner flag either non-league experience being shown up, or revenge for the left back’s earlier diving misdemeanours in a game littered with bad tackling, bad passing, bad shooting and a bad taste in the mouth. The Forest Green import was clearly having his shirt tugged but not his attention as he headed back a corner past the keeper, only to see it booted off the line and away.
There was little noise all game. A few strained lines again telling Mick McCarthy what a dozen or so thought of his football and an inflatable dinosaur upturned on the concourse said as much about today and this year as the few hundred who spent most of the game silent. There might have been little on the pitch to shout about, but you hope that today might settle the arguments about who we need next year in and around the squad.
It’s fair to say that Rotherham are possibly the worst side I’ve seen in the decade and a half we’ve been a Championship club. What such an experimental side told Mick exactly we might not see for a few weeks. To say it blew up in his face today would be too much, we simply didn’t get much of a reaction at all let alone a meaningful result.
|Ipswich Town v Newcastle United Your Report added by harlingblue at 04:06:49|
Had a good feeling about this match, two teams whose fans loved Bobby Robson, it was his day, and how the hoards of Ipswich Town fans came out to applaud it. Even Mick decided to pick a team to beat them and not just pick a team to shut up shop. The reward was our best performance of the year.
Time for Mick to earn that same respect from us supporters, yes he saved us from relegation during his first year, then with the help of an on fire Murphy a playoff place.
The last two seasons have been poor value for home supporters, major players sold (for good money) or been out through injuries, with no serious money put into the squad by ME, apart from the manager.
We have good young players coming through from the U23 team, just like Bobby Robson had in his early days, time for MM to embrace them, just like Bobby to create a team that we all want to support.
|Ipswich Town v Newcastle United Your Report added by JimmyP45 at 12:51:14|
Fantastic result and great performance all round. Think Kenlock was the standout performer but other great shifts put in by Spence, Huws and Sears. Surprised by the high ratings for McGoldrick. He did quite well but other than his goal, would have said there were others more deserving of MOTM than him.
|Ipswich Town v Newcastle United Your Report added by Sam at 18:34:37|
Absolutely amazing!!!! Bart did well again, Myles Kenlock brilliant again. Also the strikers led the show, always attacking and getting shots across. I must point out Huws and Grant ward too. They made some terrific runs and passes. Once again Mick and the boys made me happy wearing the ITFC shirt.
|Ipswich Town v Newcastle United Your Report added by broseleyblue at 17:14:27|
What a result!L think it's been coming but I was worried we would have to wait until next season for it. McGoldrick is such a good player when fit. Very strong and vigorous midfield, another pleasing performance from Kenlock.