|Ipswich Town 2 v 2 Blackburn Rovers|
Saturday, 4th August 2018 Kick-off 15:00
|Robert_Garrett added 17:52 - Aug 4|
robmonkey007 added 19:05 - Aug 4
Bluesky added 21:06 - Aug 4
Esseeja added 21:41 - Aug 4
Mullet added 23:01 - Aug 4
What looked on paper and turf, like our biggest goal threat not in the squad, seven defensive players and Sears out wide, with a lone striker and a single central midfielder was received as you’d expect in #ANewEra. That opening four minutes before the goal was one long crescendo. Jonas second guessed the overlap as Sears cut inside on the left and unleashed a cross we’ve rarely seen from him to punish Rovers. Mogga will be furious with the fact that it was Edwards of all people, popping up at the back post to nod home a looping header as easily and unexpected and avoidable as that.
Blackburn are every bit Mowbray in form and function. I mean no offence when I say they are gritty, hardworking, and brimming with quiet determination that we know all too well will bring them success. Happy to take a yellow when necessary, I thought there was a telling difference between them as a settled team of league 1 players who had already proved their right to be in the Championship compared to many of our team. We can point to the Blades and Millwall as teams “used to winning” and having fabled momentum, but with things so often unsettled this early on, they continued that trend.
It was Chalobah who drew two of those yellows and he was the Ipswich player that was in the middle of everything. You don’t dye half your hair gold if you don’t want to get noticed and he spent 90 minutes wanting the ball, or wanting to do something with it. He’s a Rolls Royce of a player, but he’s still got the L plates on and sometimes had the hazards flashing too as he stalled and cruised through play.
Frustrated with his colleagues movement and vision, too often his passes missed their mark and his priority of keeping the ball meant he was turning back to Bart as the game went on. It was hard to know what Hurst will make of/from this.
Having Skuse next to him and Chambers behind him should talk Trev through games enough to harness that potential, but around them were a lot of raw players. Hardly surprising that as we sizzled in BBQ weather our team looked undercooked throughout when Blackburn made any great attempts to consume us.
The informal 4-2-3-1 was fragile when they countered our pressing. Teams will note how Town were too easily reduced to playing as 2’s, 3’s and sometimes individuals all game. Harrison started really brightly but there was no way he could bear down on their back five all afternoon like he was. And with Edwards marked out as a goal threat it was disappointing how easily we folded in the middle and let our biggest threats stay isolated. Blackburn were wily enough to recognise these soft spots and exploit them for both goals.
I don’t think it was a foul when the livewire Harrison went down in the box, it looked like the defender got the ball first. But the counter that led to a soft free kick sparked off another round of questions. Chalobah seemed to let his man drift at the back post. Two glances headers saw a double claw away from goal by Bart, but the highly rated and now highly paid keeper had no chance as Donacien looked out of place to deflect the ball down for Graham to smack home gratefully.
Spence took several lumps, and while it might be easy to pick up on the continuation of his suspect positioning I did wonder how he felt playing RB, with the man Hurst had openly called a RB in the press just a couple of days ago. If Jordan was looking over his shoulder all game, he might have been seeing double by the time Blackburn doubled the lead.
Honesty and openness off the pitch, might have been evident in filtering down on it. Overloading us and then a brilliant overlap down our right by the visitors meant Donacien was stranded, Chambers looked slow to close the massive gap and Chalobah too far away as Dack slipped an easy tap in and Rovers in front.
It was a galling and gutting moment. Downes seemed too often to be a single central midfielder, too far away from Harrison, too close to Skuse to really make the most of the space he was clearly told to press. He did so quickly and aggressively, but there was a large swathe of the game where Town were second best on and off the ball.
The forced change of Woolfenden meant perhaps we were closer to the team many expected and again reduced the already thin level of experience we had on and around the pitch at this level. But one of the biggest positives was how keen we seemed to learn.
Graham gave young Luke an education from the first tussle and although he ended the game limping and crumpled in the centre circle as others covered for him, he and the team as a whole grew into the occasion. He and we will learn from that.
Hurst might have got it wrong with his selection, he might simply have been outdone by an older, wiser adversary too, but his use of subs were clear and you got the feeling his instructions were too. Fulham fans were raving about Tayo Edun and immediately he came on and once Freddie got in the middle and he took up the left wing slot the drive forward and intent was revitalising. It might be negative to see the most potential in other higher-placed teams’ youth based on today, but it’s also logical.
Edwards who opened the scoring, spent the last 15 minutes or so getting free and opening up Blackburn. Mogga could have thought they had done enough as he swapped out former loanee Samuel, Dack and Graham. The best of their attacking threat and looked to shore up a lead and team fairly in control all game. It wasn’t an undeserved lead celebrated by a loud away end whose extra consonants and elongated vowels seemed to be distorted in their chanting of what sounded like “yellas” and they were correct to bring a bit of Northern soul with their renditions of being “onto something good” until our Welsh winger got going again.
Morris did really well to skip down the line and cut in with a fine effort, thanks to Gwion taking a halving from a strong tackle and watching from the turf as the youngster carried on to goal. Edwards also put in a great run, flick and a Ronaldo-lite chop to turn his man, where all game there had been two or three before firing a shot at the keeper. The best game with the injury time equaliser.
I don’t think Edwards expected Jonas to slam the ball the at him rather than to him. It’d been a feature of Town’s passing deficiencies all game, but with most of both sides expecting a floater, the Dane drilled one the other way. It came back to Edun from the good work of Edwards and what was surely a cross, nailed on the point as Mogga met disappointment for a second time surely. Bouncing and skipping into the goal as Town fans did the same out of all four stands moments later.
There were moments where Town could have got more, and probably didn’t deserve too. A cross overhit, or stifled as Skuse looked to head home. Shots fired at either keeper forced fairly comfortable saves, whilst Harrison got free rarely, he was played by the defence but advantage wasn’t on a couple of occasions. Blackburn were also denied by a comedic scramble on the line and they too went clean through when Chambers made an even cleaner challenge. It was the linesman who made a bad call, and the captain overheated in his reaction. Another day and Town might have been reduced to ten, not just from that moment, nor Chalobah‘s naive tackling or Woolfenden’s injury.
The Lancastrians that supplemented 18 thousand Blues with maybe a thousand of their own might well feel gutted to be denied at the end by such a freak goal. However, Town for once epitomised making their own luck in a good way. It was a bullet to the gut from little, but as any victory bled out the afternoon the vast majority inside Portman Rd who started the afternoon happy must end it that way too.
With a potential new defence and recognised central threat behind Harrison likely to join before Rotherham, it’s going to be a fun game next weekend at least of spot the difference(s). It might have been a dream start that was quickly cut short for Hurst and Doig, but there was enough to be happy about in amongst the concerns and quandaries that August will be long enough to get us moving and able to plot the course of this new team, so we can see just how much has changed within and not just cosmetically.
It was fun.
algarvefan added 00:51 - Aug 5
harlingblue added 01:55 - Aug 5
Paul Hurst comes across as a Manager that knows what and who he wants to change the dynamics of the club, and will have learnt a great deal from his first competitive game in charge.
It is a transition period, new players acquired, more that we have transfer requests in for, players returning from long term injuries, plus promising youngsters pushing for a place in the 1st team, but all having to gel, while transfer negotiations go on for previous star players.
In that scenario, a 2-2 draw in our opener against a settled Blackburn side that had blitzed promotion from the !st Division was a bonus.
TonyHumesIpswich added 02:05 - Aug 5
Bart (6) made one poor mistake
Spence (2) poor, particularly in second half
Chambers (8) good performance
Knudsen (7) kept it together
Edwards (10) outstanding debut.
Nice to see the ball being played on the deck. Some positive play but we need to improve in key areas.
guentchev added 02:57 - Aug 5
Still chuckling now...hard to make an impression on a match when you are sitting watching it on the bench.
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