Andy's Angles: A perfect start, a case for the defence and Flynn for the win - observations from Burton
PUBLISHED: 18:48 03 August 2019 | UPDATED: 23:05 03 August 2019
Andy Warren gives his observations after Ipswich Town's 1-0 opening day win against Burton Albion.
That'll do nicely
Any opening-day win is a good one.
But for a club with an ingrained losing mentality after a draining season which resulted in relegation, this was just the tonic.
There were nervy moments, that's for sure, but you have to say the Blues deserved to take home three points.
Luke Garbutt's deflected shot was the difference as the ball flew home on 11 minutes, appearing to bounce off John-Joe O'Toole, with the Blues then holding firm late on against 10 men following Stephen Quinn's red card.
Tomas Holy saw a ball charged down late on which crept just wide of the post, then Luke Woolfenden had to act smartly to turn the ball over the bar as the ball bounced around following a corner. Those were the big heart in mouth moments.
But the final whistle blew and the job was done, delighting the packed away end who sang throughout.
The case for the defence
It would be fair to call this defence 'makeshift'.
If you also include goalkeeper Holy, only one of the back five (Myles Kenlock) was at Portman Road at the end of last season. Woolfenden and Janoi Donacien were out on loan, Holy was at Gillingham and James Wilson only signed his Ipswich contract 24 hours before kick-off.
But they did well.
There were some nervy moments, that's for sure, and they didn't end the game as a unit after Wilson was forced off with cramp, but they did the job.
Woolfenden was the pick of them, reading the game superbly throughout the contest and stepping in at just the right moment to win the ball back. His superb clearance in stoppage time, as he put the ball over his own bar, won the game for the Blues.
Luke Chambers was watching from behind the dugout as he missed out through suspension - he'll be back next week for Sunderland and you fancy he'll be joined by Woolfenden.
Two up top
The appetite for a pairing for Kayden Jackson and James Norwood as a front two was whetted at Colchester, when the duo combined for four goals in just half an hour together on the pitch.
Lambert was clearly sold, trying it again for spells during the following two pre-season games, opting to go with the duo for the opener.
They were a handful for the hour they played, with their combined pace and willingness to chase causing the Burton defence trouble without ever overly threatening the home goal.
But as the hour mark approached, the Blues were finding it harder and harder to connect with their strikers and the ball kept coming back.
Lambert turned to Alan Judge, who helped keep the ball and relieve pressure in the final minutes.
You can see the beginnings of a partnership with Norwood, too, which is exciting.
Can't keep Flynn Down
A week ago Flynn Downes was the headline grabber following his red card for a headbutt against Cambridge.
This week he was the best player on the pitch.
The young midfielder could easily have gone into his shell following last weekend's incident but he was at the forefront for the Blues today.
Partnered with Cole Skuse in a 4-4-2, the academy graduate was calm on the ball, positive going forward and measured in defence.
He read the game well, used the ball superbly, and was a positive influence throughout,
He kept his head amid a thunderous collision with Ryan Edwards of Burton in the first half, which he failed to do last weekend.
It's a huge season for the youngster and this was an excellent start.
Absence makes the heart grow fonder
How's this for a list of players not in the Blues' starting line-up in this game? Judge, Emyr Huws, Gwion Edwards, Jon Nolan, Toto Nsiala, Teddy Bishop, Freddie Sears, Jack Lankester and Andre Dozzell.
All players you could argue, when fit and firing, would be in Lambert's starting XI.
For all Lambert said on Friday about his side not having enough to find their way out of the division, that is some supporting cast waiting to return.
Judge and Huws came off the bench while Nolan and Edwards are closing in on returns. The others are slightly longer-term.
The cavalry is coming, which can only be a good thing.