Stuart says: Six observations following Ipswich Town’s 1-0 win against Leeds United
PUBLISHED: 19:01 13 January 2018
© Copyright Stephen Waller
Ipswich Town beat Leeds United 1-0 at Portman Road in a Championship match this afternoon. STUART WATSON analyses the action.
Moment of madness
There was little between the sides in the opening exchanges. Both teams were limited to half chances, but it was engaging fare not short of attacking intent and competitive edge.
It was hard to call which way this game would go until Eunan O’Kane’s moment of madness in the 37th minute handed the Blues a one-man advantage.
The Republic of Ireland international midfielder attempted to burst to the byline, but was held up by the tenacious Callum Connolly. He jumped to his feet angry at the intervention, Town defender Jonas Knudsen arrived on the scene to square up and the Leeds man butted is head forwards in response.
Referee Robert Jones was just yards away from the flashpoint and had no hesitation in brandishing the red card.
It was the second weekend in a row that Leeds had a man stupidly sent-off after Samuel Saiz saw red for spitting at the end of a 2-1 FA Cup defeat at League Two side Newport County.
Moment of magic
Blues boss Mick McCarthy had intimated that the recent collapse at Fulham – four goals conceded in seven disastrous minutes – was virtually inevitable after Jordan Spence was dismissed. The pressure was therefore on Town to be equally ruthless with the boot on the other foot.
Town started the second half on the front foot, with Joe Garner firing just wide, but they weren’t exactly battering the door down as the game approached the final 30 minutes.
Then came a goal worthy of winning any game.
Celina, who you sensed was very much in the mood, drifted inside from the left with intent. Kalvin Phillips slipped on his backside and, needing no second invitation, Town’s Kosovan international rifled a rising effort into the top right corner from 25 yards.
It was the Manchester City loanee’s eighth goal of the season in all competitions.
Town decided to move a few hundred of their own supporters from the upper tier of the Cobbold Stand and give Leeds an increased away allocation of 3,500 – something they took full advantage of.
There was logic behind the decision. First and foremost it prevented the ridiculous ‘all-ticket’ situation of last season which stopped away fans rocking up on the day and getting in the home ends, but also saw genuine Blues fans turned away from a half-empty stadium. Secondly, it brought in extra gate receipts.
The travelling army certainly made a racket. Their passion crossed a line when a firework was let off after O’Kane’s dismissal. And some of the younger Town fans directly beneath them may well have been intimidated – perhaps that needs to be looked at in the future.
It certainly made for a proper atmosphere though, something that is often lacking at Portman Road, with Mick McCarthy saying afterwards how much he and his payers enjoyed it.
Leeds beaten again
Leeds United do not like coming to Portman Road.
Since the Blues came down to the Championship in 2002 they have hosted the Yorkshire side 13 times and lost just once (eight wins and two draws).
With Tommy Smith (ill), Adam Webster (Achilles) and Jordan Spence (suspended) all absent, Town were once again forced to deploy left-back Jonas Knudsen at the heart of the defence and homegrown youngster Myles Kenlock at left-back. Both men had good games.
Knudsen, a man who admits he loves the art of defending, has looked well-suited to a central role whenever he’s played there. The Dane certainly kept the livewire Kemar Roofe quiet today.
Kenlock played with calmness at the back and confidence in attack. The 21-year-old got forward on the overlap time and again and produced some dangerous deliveries.
Boy did Town need that win today.
A fourth straight defeat could have seen the mood turn toxic and leave the team nearer the drop zone than the top six. A victory keeps the team in 12th and closes the gap to the play-off places back to four.
McCarthy sides always seem to pull a result out the bag just when they need it. Up next is a trip to lowly Bolton, followed by Wolves (h), Sunderland (a), Burton (h) and then the East Anglian derby at Carrow Road
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