Six things we learned from Ipswich Town’s win over Wigan Athletic
PUBLISHED: 09:19 05 April 2017 | UPDATED: 09:19 05 April 2017
© Copyright Stephen Waller
Following last night’s 3-0 win over Wigan Athletic at Portman Road, sports writer WILL RIDGARD looks at six things we learned as Ipswich made a significant step towards reaching Championship safety.
1. The strikers are back in the goals
Before last night, it’d been a while since an Ipswich striker, excluding versatile loanee Tom Lawrence, scored a goal!
It was in fact seven games ago, when Freddie Sears scored in the 1-1 draw against Leeds on February 18. Before that, the last goal to come from a recognised Town striker was when Brett Pitman scored a sensational overhead kick in the dramatic 2-1 win against Bristol City on December 30.
It was a relief to Town fans then, when Sears and David McGoldrick both scored their fourth goals of the season in the first half.
Two clinical finishes, following Wigan mistakes, saw the strikers make a welcome return to the scoresheet, with Sears adding another goal late on.
McGoldrick’s last goal was, coincidentally, in the 3-2 win at Wigan on December 17.
2. Ipswich scored two first-half goals at Portman Road for the first time in nearly two years
The last time Ipswich scored two goals in the first half, in front of their home fans, was in a 3-1 win over Cardiff City on April 14, 2015. This was the game that Cole Skuse famously netted his only Ipswich goal to date, in nearly 150 league appearances.
3. This was Ipswich’s lowest home league attendance this century
Just 14,661 watched the win, and records show that this is Town’s lowest home league attendance this century.
That said, the atmosphere inside Portman Road was very positive, with the crowd getting behind the team from the off.
4. Mick is not afraid to mix it up
Ipswich boss Mick McCarthy isn’t afraid to change personnel and formation from time to time.
Switching from a 4-3-1-2 to a 3-5-2, McCarthy made four changes from the 1-1 draw with Birmingham City on Saturday.
Jonas Knudsen, Jonathon Douglas, Cole Skuse, and Brett Pitman were all replaced by Myles Kenlock, Toumani Diagouraga, Steven Taylor and Emyr Huws, while Jonny Williams and Kieffer Moore also came into the squad after injury.
5. Bartosz Bialkowki is breathtakingly brilliant!
The Ipswich shotstopper was brilliant in goal again. Ryan Colclough, Alex Gilbey, and Callum Connolly must have thought they’d scored, with three goalbound efforts in the second period, but Bialkowski denied them all with some outstanding saves. The Pole’s opposite number, Matt Gilks, was also in inspired form over the course of the evening, making some wonderful saves to keep Town at bay.
6. Ipswich’s tannoy announcer had a busy evening
Has anybody seen Steve Finch? Or if not, Mary Palmer? Ipswich’s man on the mike had a busy evening asking the pair to make themselves known in the stadium after an injury to match referee Andy Davies.