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|Blackburn Rovers v Ipswich Town Your Report added by Mullet at 20:07:26|
In the wilds of the frozen North, a few hundred Ipswich fans were stuck in the loft of Ewood Park awaiting their team. A long way from safety, and even further from the pitch as the stand sat empty below us.
Debutant Judge made a bow and settled a few questions about where he would fit into Lambert’s system. On the right wing mostly, Sears on the left with Keane in the Irishman’s preferred position and Quaner in his up top. Skuse and Chalobah made a defensive pair of midfielders ahead of the same back five. Gerken marshalling Pennington, Chambers, Collins and Elder.
Blackburn had an odd line up and shape that flittered between Bennet as a full back and wing back, and Dack as a deep lying play maker for the odd minute before running beyond Evans to join Graham’s slipstream. Sometimes they had 3 at the back sometimes 4, the same up front and you could not always tell if it was because of Ipswich’s weaknesses.
The game kicked off in fairly unremarkable fashion. It wasn’t until Cole Skuse marked an opening 24 minutes of uncharacteristic casualness on the ball in the 6th minute or so, that it got going. “Man on” would have helped, especially as there were two, but he looked like a man rushed back from injury and unable to rush anyway, as a stray orange calf blocked the ball behind for an early corner.
Moving from fairly solid defence of Reed’s set pieces, Town put every man back and the height of the front two helped to make a shield wall across the six-yard box rarely seen in mini-season under the mini-manager when we last played Blackburn.
Town looked far from confident as Gerken switched from centreback to centreback, and the ball moved across the fissures this system calls for. With Judge and Keane constantly looking for it in far off channels just beyond our own 18-yard box, there was hope, but little evidence either would alleviate Rovers’ dominance between the semi-circles.
Ipswich were facing a keeper and two full backs that didn’t look like they had revised for any test today, but time and again retention was not better than before kick off and we failed to do more than overlap and overhit all too often.
Judge found Sears with an exquisite long ball that was completely passing by both teams until the wideman could bring it inside. But again, support and belief let us down long before our delivery could.
Blackburn looked to have the opposite in terms of presence up front, but on the overlap a man was always spare. Both Pennington and Elder were asked to deal with high balls, through balls and a decision on where to place their studs. When Bennett screamed through at the back post, his shot matched his run and nearly hit us away fans. It was a let off that saw Town shook.
Not long after Dack was lifting the ball after lifting himself off the turf from a soft free kick. The game had played on until the long-haired midfielder had decided he didn’t want to. Sitting down centrally the resulting effort was turned away and just went the right side of the post for a corner. As it came back in, we all watched the ball as it bounced off the foot of the post with Gerken beaten.
In the maelstrom of poor decisions from Lambert’s defence and poor possession from both midfielders, Town saw Dack race down the flank in a rare wide appearance and try and lift the ball over Gerken. Collins cleared away what should have been a stronger effort and sure goal. Soon after Lambert switched the wingers before Armstrong repeated the move and tested Deano’s gloves with a straight stinger, easily palmed out.
The lack of protection for either full back may have seemed unnecessary given Rovers’ dearth out wide, but when they moved en masse from side to side it loosened Town’s resolve.
Ipswich deserved to be behind at half time but could have lead minutes before the break. Quaner who had carved gaps in the defence, often enough for Chalobah to pick the wrong one, then drew Lenihan in from an off-side position.
Leaving the ball, the German got the defender to follow suit and Keane raced through. Raya flapped and blew the oncomer too wide and too far. With not enough time or men to get in the box again the ball cannoned out for a corner.
This was a month of games where Lambert revisits his exes’ and trying to get balls in or even near their box is going to be a huge problem it seems. Our survival might hinge on it, thanks to narrowness and depth of running from Judge and the crowding from either central midfielder it was hard to know if this was 4-2-3-1 or lopsided 4-3-3 at times.
It was crucial with Ipswich still in the game, they took the break to reassess and change. Mogga substituted Reed and swapped Armstrong over to Elder’s side. Town gave a cheap free kick away on the edge of the box when they had 3 to 1 in their favour. This seemed to be telling.
Blackburn’s dominance was a silent acknowledgement over the game, hanging more like bad breath than bad intentions in the queue to full time. Nonetheless, Sears sought the ball cleverly down the left and with Elder overlapping, Quaner was just three yards out but with his back to goal. As it came across the German looped it over with the outside of his boot. Keane waggled the outside of his hand demanding the next one comes to him as he seemed to do on his debut the other week.
The home fans barely made sound all day, there was ripple of frustrated encouragement across the attic seats, thudding dully across the rafters. That would change as Blackburn grew into the game. Judge won cheap fouls in reasonably good positions, but most of Town’s set pieces floated into Raya’s hands or beyond his grasp with little threat.
When the end of the deadlock came it was like all fatal moments, unclear and out of nowhere. I’m sure we’re all overjoyed Armstrong survived what appeared to be a landmine he stepped on, almost gallantly given Elder was chasing in behind him and sure to have triggered it next. As the referee took his time and the linesman wanted nothing to do with it, Chambers earned a booking thanks to the crowd not liking him stepping over the spotted ball. The referee with his back to it all gave him the card, somebody else deserved.
Gerken’s dive was just as good as the spotkick. Alas, he went the wrong way as Graham almost pointed to where he was going to put it, well inside the post and slowly. Town were behind. Always behind.
Lankester made a birthday bow on his 19th. Quaner withdrawn and Keane moving up top.
The sub went on the right and Judge went centrally. Presiding over where the ball should be, as the evidence stacked up against the away side.
It was not to be Lankester who would make an instant impact from the bench, but Blackburn’s Nuttall. This time Armstrong did Elder on the other side, strafing across him and firing a machine gun pass into the middle. All of Town’s defenders were cut asunder as the youth team product blasted home a doubler and killed Town off.
A lack of tactical discipline from us and actual discipline from them was all that perhaps we can cling to in terms of unjust actions being done upon us. Bennett could not catch Sears at one point, so pushed him into the hoarding playground style. No card but a free kick. This was topping what in the first half seemed to be the clearest booking you’ll see all season as Lenihan did the same to Quaner as the German cross the halfway line and the defender cut him off at the knees. When he was finally booked for a nasty tackle in the second half the decision was not lost on many travelling fans.
The pinnacle of what should have been given to us, when we did little to deserve anything was a clear handball to deny a goal bound shot. Bennett who had also lunged in on a countering Sears, stuck his arm out to deflect it out for a corner. The ref beat his chest like an emasculated gorilla. His understanding of biology, up there with that of physics and the laws of the game.
Lambert put Bishop in late on to become the third player in the hole, and the number in over their heads into double figures. Rejigging the lines to make what might not have been a 4-4-1-1 as Dack and his mates cannoned balls over the bar and the game well and truly beyond us.
Once again Town find themselves riding their luck, then setting fire to it in a bin like the division’s paupers we seem so keen to be. Hurst’s player’s all but banished frim sight, it’s easy to see why some are now looking cynically at Lambert and seeing a relationship between points for the PR, but little points at or away from PR. But the picture is bigger and darker than that alone.
We lined up again with changes, new faces and little looking like we could do more than steal a 0-0 until we leant our soft bellies onto the cutting edge of reality at this level. If we go down, we deserve to thanks to displays like today being seen too often.
Elder showed that like most of Lambert’s signings, if it wasn’t for injury or circumstance they’d not be here. Cementing his place as the second best left back at the club for now, he was merely the temple on which today’s knock out blows fell. Had we played out 1st choice, we may have left with stolen parity and a point. Keane is the man with gold in boots, and if we fail to put every attack through him, we are foolish because not only does he want the ball, but the ball wants to be with him if it has any chance of finding the goal.
|Ipswich Town v Rotherham United Your Report added by Sam at 07:08:17|
We really had to win this and the defence really showed how much they care for the club, never at any point in the second half did I think we'd hang on but credit to the boys. ONWARDS AND UPWARDS
|Ipswich Town v Rotherham United Your Report added by harlingblue at 02:08:22|
Thankful for the 3 points, but that was a real dour performance.
Collins was outstanding, while Chambers and Pennington in defence also earned their corn. Lankester was also a standout performer, while Skues and Chalobah worked hard in a midfield desperately missing a playmaker. Grateful for the goal by Keane, but I personally feel that we could have done with Harrison up top, neither Keane or Quaner seem capable of winning anything in the air.
Early days for our new recruits, all missing match sharpness, a weeks training together should see an improved understanding.
|Ipswich Town v Rotherham United Your Report added by grinch at 19:41:49|
chambers was good too much negativity about him Freddie was poor I think and skuse controlled game first half his fitness went second half and we lost control chabolah was poor today I think Collins immense want Bart back Gerks does not control area Collins dug him out few times and his kicking is poor good to see no goals let in bo us
|Ipswich Town v Rotherham United Your Report added by StowTractorBoy at 17:48:53|
A dreadful dreadful performance from ITFC and one of the worst I have seen from them over the years I have been watching ITFC but now its over I don't care in the slightest. We had to win today and we did. Still think it will be a massive task to stay up but at least today all hope is not lost.
|Accrington Stanley v Ipswich Town Your Report added by Robert_Garrett at 21:37:42|
will see them again next season? All is not doom and gloom. It's still my club even if the team is currently not worthy of any praise. For years we have been a selling or loan club. The fat years were trimmed with excellent players from the youth system. We have always developed our own so why think we can spend 15 million for new players when that is not going to resolve the problem. Let Paul do his job whatever the consequences and Marcus has put his hand in his pocket just as we have by paying to get in so lets stop the "blue on blue" and start hating anybody outside our little blue circle. We are not at fault - its just the horrible "reds" are scoring the goals and we aren't. Anybody out there with 15 million loose cash that isn't Marcus?
|Accrington Stanley v Ipswich Town Your Report added by Mullet at 20:23:27|
Merely six feet away from the pitch and today the abyss was smiling back. 1200 Town fans made an L shape around the Wham arena, the open terrace and half the closed stand a section of blue and white. Snaking through side streets, open ground and balsa wood toilet blocks, this was a glimpse of what is yet to come.
A spearmint Pole in goal prayed before us then gave us a little jiggle of acknowledgement, the first of a refresh to the side. Ahead of him Spence, Nsiala, Pennington and new boy Elder. The only man new enough not to have a cloud, or the wrong kind of question marks hanging over his head in the back five.
Dozzell sat deep like an Orwell Pirlo, at times everything flowed through him, but there was also a tactical bridge that spanned and denied him traffic. The business of Downes and Nolan as a different triangulation of midfield middling today. Edwards on the right, Sears on the left and homecoming Jackson crowned the Ipswich line.
The game started with mild bemusement behind the goal. Single tier stands, less than 5k in the ground and a familiar feeling in unfamiliar environs. Accrington started well and earned territory and confidence with simple, unrefined play.
Scrambling from either side, but mostly in our half saw Pennington and Nsiala doing simple things, our full backs winning plenty when under little pressure but Town failing to fund much of an outlet. The flat 4-4-2 of Stanley meant our stretching shape and cross field Hollywood balls had a dead-cat bounce off home side shins and bodies able to intercept obvious diagonal cuts inside or arching moves into the channel.
Elder looked the better of the wide options going forward. He has both the physicality and the control to at least solidify a side who have all the inner strength of jelly in a washing machine. Every spin past a Lancastrian tackle, or promise to shift play out of the back and only a little bit forward manner we are so accustomed to was met by another midfielder happy to clatter and scythe down anyone standing still enough to be caught.
Bart made two saves of note in the first half. One he spilled at his near post and then smothered. The other was routine only 12 months ago but met with support that was overcompensating if not well meaning.
The real talking points were that Town took 37 minutes to have a shot off target. Nolan whipping the ball high and over the chunky custodian Ripley. It was a demonstrative ending to what happens when you are good enough to keep moving the ball just outside of the oppositions’ circle of interference, but not good enough to beat all but two sides this season.
The other was that Flynn Downes needs to be given the moniker “calm” as a reminder. Removing the threat of a cross field delivery, he was one of several to receive a touch of dubious heft. Hitting the floor indicating where studs had caressed his thigh, the referee failed to remove the offender and offended. A touch on his cheek and young Flynn flung palms into breast, knowing he had not done enough the referee spoke to Finley not for the first time, then booked Downes where a red is what the rule book calls for.
It was 45 minutes where Nsiala looked the better of our two centre backs and Jackson had all the support and touch to show he was never getting the better of theirs. Edwards at one point was free on the touchline, but Spence understandably mistook for a ballboy, such was his intent to shy away rather than signal for the ball.
If this is what the future holds, then I’d we could at least pass to someone not marked by three players and forced to knock it straight back until the ball is shepherded out for yet another pointless set piece or throw in.
When the second half came, so did Bishop. An obvious change for Downes who was being targeted and biting like a shark at anyone in distance. The referee was happy to not have to make a decision, so when Downes racked up an innumerable amount of innocuous fouls before the break, it was a clear and obvious change.
And what a difference it made. Young (is he still young?) Bishop danced and plied his trade across and around all comers. He and Dozzell worked off each other and sometimes brought in Nolan to make the midfield less estranged from either flank or forays forward.
Accrington had nodded just past the same post Bishop’s first shot fizzed past just before the break. Their chance probably closer, but ours more eye catching. The defenders stepped up to try and condense the area the ball was contested in, as Town looked more equipped to exploit the up and under running clear tactic thanks to Jackson. It was Accrington who were happier to use it though.
Surprisingly, their best chance to beat us on the break was a low run across the face of Nsiala on the halfway line. Bringing his man down with precision cynicism the Congolese had not just come in from the cold, but into his own in terms of rugged and habitat-appropriate defending.
Town may have looked better, but we had become sick of seeing the same routine moves break down thanks to a lack of catch and release in short passes down the line, or a lack of static attackers getting into the box to meet the crosses or challenge the defenders dealing with them. Elder, Sears and Nolan all had moments of getting past their man, but all had moments of indecision.
When Town had a shot on target Ripley parried easily. When they did it again, he denied us with his gut and it wriggled away from goal and out from a corner. The result of which was a near post header and Nolan using his standing leg to trick himself and the defender, before hammering the squirming ball into a low and credible shot across goal.
These are the scraps upon which a goal and results starved side now fed.
When new-boy Keane replaced Stanley old-boy Jackson there was a slight keening of interest amongst the travelling throng. He is all a few swishes of ponytail and some neat ideas, packaging the neat and tidy footwork of a player who actually looked to stay in the centre circle when Town were defending and be in the centre of everything when Town were attacking.
When Sears burst through Accrington’s middle like something from older, kinder, better days he took not one, but two bites at scoring. A low shot from central sent him wide. Blaring a low one at an impossible angle he had both Keane and the latterly introduced Ellis Harrison waiting on the six yard line.
Town had gone 4-4-2 to try and get a goal back, because along with missing the target we had repeated the trick of conceding from a set piece with little need or reason. Spence gave away a fairly routine free kick. But it swung past the goal and Bart to the left hand side. Neither centre back dealt with it, and Kee unlocked the tie with a close finish. Those 200 or so that had been bouncing to the drum opposite us set the tone. Rapturous celebrations, red streaked to the far corner. Town shuffled back into positions all too readily and familiar when you don’t do the same defending dead balls. Ironically, a more fitting description or feeling around Ipswich you could not find this season.
There was no anger in the away end either side of Town trying to snatch damage limitation from defeat, from adding another agonising 90 minutes to a season overstocked and over-faced with them already.
When the final whistle came so did the first signs of protest and dismay. Players trudged off after dallying ass far from their fans as possible. But inevitably the dressing room was at the corner where they had to parade across the faces glowering or turning away from them behind the goal.
“Passion” was questioned not quality. As we walked behind the stands, protests from a dozen or so evaporated into the open sky towards Marcus Evans. He remains as ephemeral and formless as the few voices ringing with pointed questions and demands he “get out of our club”. With the human shields and structures long gone this and previous summers before, there is little place left to hide for Evans other than the boardroom, beach-side resorts or any of the other dozen boltholes down which he and his money might sink as long as he is owner here.
Lambert may well rage and howl as we did tonight. He may well question the attitude and application of some, all, or individuals as we might. He might look around and wonder what is to become of ITFC by May, by next season or beyond. He may well do as some no doubt will and make a fist of it, until walking away or feeling unwanted is inevitable.
A tree can be teeming with life for years before you know it is definitely dead. A chainsaw, a match or the slow force of time may all final see it disappear from the landscape entirely. That can only happen when there is no longer enough to sustain it.
|Accrington Stanley v Ipswich Town Your Report added by martin587 at 17:17:10|
Absolutely gutted.To travel all this way and watch an inapt performance from a game on paper we should have won is terrible.I’m just lost for words.I just hope this doesn’t do any harm for next Saturday.Over to you Paul.
|Ipswich Town v Millwall Your Report added by harlingblue at 02:18:01|
An excellent first half by Town, ahead with a fine early goal from the impressive Lankester, Harrison leading the line well (despite not getting anything from a very poor Ref), should have made the game safe had Sears had his shooting boots on.
The second half was a different matter. Millwall adding a more rugged approach to their game, bypassing midfield and hitting longer balls into the heart of our defence, which was found wanting. Keystone Cop defending saw our lead wiped out, and soon 3-1 down with costly mistakes being made by Chambers, Spence and Pennington for each of their goals. Jackson scored a blistering goal, but too close to the end for a chance of a fight back.
One thing that I noted, and it really gets my goat, why do we play these quick, short ball freekicks when we need to slow the game down, push players forward and deliver a longer ball? Have a look at how Millwall closed us down from such a freekick on our left, culminating with Chambers giving away a penalty, when being attacked from the right.