Ipswich Town picked up yet another win, beating Bristol City 1-0 at Ashton Gate to extend their lead on the chasing pack. Alex Jones reflects on the action.

East Anglian Daily Times: Ipswich had to dig deep to survive Bristol City's late surgeIpswich had to dig deep to survive Bristol City's late surge (Image: Stephen Waller)

Town grind it out

Well, that wasn’t pretty.

Okay, there were some really good moments. Town played some exceptional stuff at times. Once they got to grips with the game, everything looked like it was falling into place. At full flow, they were superb, but it fluctuated.

It was always going to be like that. After all, with the Rotherham United game being postponed, Ipswich’s last Championship game came all the way back on October 7th – which is almost three weeks ago.

That rustiness was to be expected, and we saw it at the start. Then the Blues turned the screw, and Nathan Broadhead’s goal was the reward for all that hard work. They could’ve been further ahead at that point.

Yet they didn’t have that ruthless touch to get the second goal, and the lack of match action caught up with them in the second half. They ran out of steam as Bristol City made changes, increasing their press and bringing on dangerous attackers like Harry Cornick, who caused countless issues in the latter stages.

Cornick was incredibly unfortunate to not find the back of the net, and the Robins were pretty unlucky not to score at all. Ipswich defended for their lives at the end, however, and with a little bit of luck, they found yet another way to win.

Sometimes, that's what you need.

East Anglian Daily Times: Broadhead is Town's top scorer after 12 league gamesBroadhead is Town's top scorer after 12 league games (Image: Stephen Waller)

Relying on Broadhead

We seem to be talking about Broadhead every week at this stage.

He went into the international break with a goal against Preston North End, his fifth of the campaign, before lashing in a powerful strike while playing for Wales against Gibraltar.

Was he done there? No, not at all. He found the back of the net yet again, firing in the winning goal at Bristol City last night, which was his sixth of the season in the Championship.

He’s a remarkable player. A mercurial winger and a ruthless finisher. He seems to have a lot of pent-up aggression that he lets out with fierce shots. We’ve seen it time and time again, including at Ashton Gate, where his powerful strike seemed to fizz straight through goalkeeper Max O’Leary, who was in the perfect position to keep it out but simply couldn’t get a touch on it.

READ MORE: Mark Heath provides his player rating from Ipswich's win at Bristol City

He’s the jewel of Town’s attack, but to what extent do Town rely on him? Is it too much? There’s no denying that he grabs them by the scruff of the neck when things aren’t going their way, but that’s a lot of pressure on him.

That being said, Conor Chaplin is almost matching Broadhead’s tally at the moment, while the rest of the squad are chipping in at crucial times as well (especially Brandon Williams).

Let’s just enjoy the way that everyone’s coming together to create one of the strongest attacking teams in the division.

East Anglian Daily Times: No team in the Football League has conceded fewer away goals than TownNo team in the Football League has conceded fewer away goals than Town (Image: Stephen Waller)

Away performances

Yep, that’s another 1-0 win on the road. What’s going on here?

Ipswich have won four away games by a 1-0 margin, which is pretty staggering. Across their six away games, they’ve won five and draw one, scoring seven goals and conceding just two. That record is totally different when you compare it to their home form.

At Portman Road, they’ve scored 19 goals and conceded 11, winning five and losing one of their six games. We’ve seen two 4-3’s, a 4-2, a 3-2, a 3-0 and a 2-0. You’re guaranteed goals at IP1.

We’ve touched on this quite a bit, as has Kieran McKenna, who can’t quite put his finger on why there’s such a big variation. Why are Town so good going forward at home, but they lack the same cutting edge on the road? Why are they so leaky at the back at Portman Road, but when they’re away, nobody can get a look in?

Perhaps, over the course of the season, it’ll all even out, but it’s a quirky trend that has seen the Blues fly up the league table. Speaking of which…

East Anglian Daily Times: Town have made the best start of any newly-promoted League One side in historyTown have made the best start of any newly-promoted League One side in history (Image: Stephen Waller)

Extending the gap

The Championship table makes good reading for those in Suffolk. In fact, it’s pretty astonishing.

Aside from Ipswich’s win at Ashton Gate, there are two main games to look at. A last-gasp equaliser from Southampton prevented Preston North End from claiming all three points at Deepdale, leaving the two sides in fifth and fourth respectively. Meanwhile, Patrick Bamford missed a crucial penalty as Stoke City beat Leeds United 1-0 at the Bet365 Stadium, although Daniel Farke’s side remain in third place.

It means that, of the top five teams in the Championship, Town and Leicester were the only ones to win. The Blues are now nine points clear of Leeds in third, but they also have a game in hand on the chasing pack, which will be played against Rotherham at the New York Stadium in just under two weeks’ time.

As we keep saying, these are very early doors, but the signs are more than promising. Getting carried away is dangerous, so don’t start planning your Premier League away days yet, but there’s no reason why we can’t be confident that Town can do something special this season.

WATCH: AJ and Ross review Town's new third kit

They’ve had a record-breaking start, having already matched the same points tally that they were relegated with in 2018/19 by winning 10 of their first 12 games. We can’t forget that they’re also in the fourth round of the Carabao Cup, with a place in the quarter-finals on the line against Fulham next week.

They can be found as low as 4/7 to win the promotion out of the Championship, which seems like a brave bet, but it feels like McKenna’s men will take some stopping.

November will be crucial. If they can carry a healthy cushion on the teams below them going into a torrid run of fixtures in December, they stand a really good chance of turning their dreams into reality.

East Anglian Daily Times: Wes Burns is expected to return to action by the end of NovemberWes Burns is expected to return to action by the end of November (Image: Ross Halls)

Back to full strength

Ipswich have been pretty lucky with injuries, but they’re clearly a weaker squad without Wes Burns and Freddie Ladapo, who missed last night’s win through injury.

Burns took a knock to his shoulder in Wales’ win against Gibraltar during the international break, while Ladapo has had to receive treatment for an ongoing Achilles issue that has plagued him in the last few weeks.

They’ll be back sooner rather than later.

Burns isn’t expected to need surgery, meaning that he’ll be back within weeks rather than months. In fact, McKenna believes that he could be ready after the November international break, lining him up to face West Brom live on Sky Sports at the end of the month.

Ladapo’s return should be imminent too, with further assessments to take place in order to determine whether he can feature against Plymouth Argyle on Saturday.

Town’s squad depth will be absolutely vital over the winter months, where injuries really could start to pile up. The pitches will become much harder and the games will come thick and fast. The Blues will need everyone involved to keep improving their position, which feels like it can't get much better.

These are truly exciting times.