|Accrington Stanley 2 v 0 Ipswich Town|
SkyBet League One
Sunday, 20th October 2019 Kick-off 12:00
|oioihardy added 14:04 - Oct 20|
Dowson added 14:14 - Oct 20
Pilgrimblue added 14:26 - Oct 20
Pessimist added 14:42 - Oct 20
nigelpscook added 14:51 - Oct 20
meekreech added 15:14 - Oct 20
Mullet added 16:11 - Oct 20
People spent the end of each half bemoaning the decisions of yet another contender for the weekly “worst ref we’d ever seen” Keith Stroud commemorative award, but if the hour prior to kick off team-sheet tweet didn’t raise alarm bells, then the final whistle did. Town walked off to a mix of applause and apathy, the referee the kind of unadulterated scorn only matured at ungodly hours in motorway service stations.
Yet few stopped and asked, were Lambert’s decisions worse?
Holy in goal, Woolf, Chambers and Nsiala across the back. Two wingbacks with little defensive intent or idea in Garbutt and Edwards. An amorphous front end that saw Skuse and Dozzell sit in between, Nolan off a front two of Jackson and Judge.
After 10 minutes the near ancient library of bad decisions being written today saw us checking out shanked kicks from Holy, headers back inside from Woolfenden and Toto once again reprising his role of wronged and loveable oaf whilst an opposition forward lay sprawling on the turf with a clear sight of goal.
By the time Stanley took the lead, it had looked like Ipswich had mounted a case to remain encamped around their goal. It lasted from about the 10th minute to the 15th. Down the right the attacking instincts of Edwards, Jackson and Judge saw Garbutt whipping the ball in from a free kick. However, it was followed by a continuation of a series of deep crosses, and a 7ft keeper staying even deeper and choosing not to collect them that cost us.
Edwards was probably fouled by Bishop as he over came all that was Holy for the first time. A lack of appeals from the pitch side of the incident maybe tells us everything. But it seemed odd the manner with which Ipswich just accepted going behind.
There seemed to be a competition of who could play the more asymmetrical football, as both full backs seemed to be outnumbered by home players, and both nominal strikers for Town seemed scared of the box. Not since Pandora has one looked so empty of threat and danger.
Dozzell took a verbal beating, in another game where he looked not to get involved. But both he and Judge were never getting a fair hearing when either one was expected to pick out players, neither in their correct position or Stanley’s goal. Or challenge in the air against giants and win out. Andre is a deep lying midfielder but not a defensive one.
Everything he wants to do is push Town forward. But when pushed back, he was having to be shooed towards his man time and again as no one around him picked them up either.
Both luxury players could have come off at half time, or any time. Both could have had a player nearby who did more than slow it back down, after they turned possession into something for all but a flash or glimpse of mixing our pattern of play up.
When Toto reprised his old role of “who me?” as the opposition argued over the stonewall penalty he’d just facilitated for the first time this season, and hundredth time in his Ipswich career, it was clear he wasn’t going to emerge for the second half. But given the subs available in Huws and Keane, Town’s lack of physicality or guile, and the fact that our wingbacks were not of the calibre Wolves had when they utilised them so well, it was a wonder as to why we were sinking so quickly and Lambert merely looked out of his technical area at the horizon.
No sooner had Holy got a weak hand to Bishop’s penalty and the deficit doubled, then doubts on the pitch spread to the stands. Town’s favourite pianist got a ten man and his drum encore as the final few minutes of the half ticked by.
Dobra warmed up at half time in full kit. It was clear he was coming on and with him so did Rowe. Toto and Dozzell made way, both to accusations of incompetence and ineffectiveness. Town switched to what was intended to be a 4411. Dobra sat off Jackson and Rowe and Judge went back to early season roles as inverted wingers.
If the long balls, aimless runs and skittling challenges that saw both teams clutching their injured limbs and screaming for more cards to be shown were atypical of our season so far, they were typical features of the one before.
Dobra looked lively and his understudying days in the cup looked to have provided him with the moment to take centre stage in his league bow. Driving at players, deceptively quick with and without the ball you can see why he was the perfect super sub for 20 minutes later then when he came on. In these circumstances, he drew worried glances from red shirts, and more red shirts back to defend a comfortable lead.
Town just didn’t look happy shooting wherever they found any modicum of space or sight at goal. Jackson coming from inside late in the half had perhaps the best opportunity to test the keeper, but instead it was Rowe who had one trickle wide to derision that summed up our day on front of goal.
It was hard to keep track of who was being booked and bludgeoned on either side, as players fell foul of a referee happy to take names and the lens of the TV cameras in his stride. Even when it was way behind play.
Nothing summarised this ineptitude more than Luke Woolfenden finding himself on the goal line like a latter day Mogga. The ball coming off him, and over the line, but not according to any official in the ground. The defender didn’t appeal and the one who hooked it away must have smiled to himself. Only he had moved in the whole passage of play.
Accrington still kept coming at us though, and it felt like the ill wind and dropping temperatures might be enough to seize up Town’s already immobile and misfiring engine room. When Georgiou finally replaced Judge, it was presumably to stop them pouring in on Garbutt, and getting off crosses easily, but that damage had long been done.
The Spurs loanee with one good run toward goal, managed to get another corner from which Town would merely nod away what Accrington couldn’t. Any shape or rhythm Lambert had looked to instil in his players spilled out from the tactics board and into the drain.
Throughout the game Edwards, Nolan, Dobra had all received reckless challenges and time on the deck. They’d reciprocated and joined several Stanley players in the book. When the gigantic Sykes tangled with Dobra off the ball, it wasn’t the mutual clash that saw Chambers bandaged like Butcher in the first half. The little man had his mouth stuffed with Lancastrian fist. The ref adjudged both to have thrown one each and awarded a red card apiece.
The disbelief behind the goal and from the Albanian was palpable. So was the sense someone else would join them as neither captain nor official could contain the protests and outrage. If both players receive a 3 game ban, it will be interesting to see who and which team it hurts most. It says it all that Chambers was MOTM by virtue of doing his job, but Dobra was the only positive for barely half an hour or so.
For all our talk of depth, and the dream start we’ve made, for a wake-up call like this to hold off until Halloween is nigh, is commendable.
But once again, the nightmares of last season and same old failures crept in. How many of the players looked at ease in the roles they were asked to play? How many looked like they could control the game for any concerted amount of time? How many knew where their teammates were planning on putting the ball or themselves as we broke down and the opposition weren’t?
Today was everything this league promised it could be. Inhospitable surrounds, terrible officiating, terrible spectacles and basic approaches to games that don’t require complicated passes and pirouettes to overcome them. With our lead cut, it’s critical all hope doesn’t bleed out. We are still top of the league, and with games on Tuesday that threaten that further, this might have come at the perfect time.
If Town are looking to remain at the summit, then we can come into Rotherham and give the home fans a performance that blows away today’s mishap. That might be the best proof of our champion status, while it remains at best, theoretical for many months still.
aljames added 13:14 - Oct 21
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