Blues under-cooked with a week to go. Analysis of Ipswich Town’s 6-1 defeat at Charlton
Ipswich Town were thrashed 6-1 at League One side Charlton on Saturday in their final pre-season game. Stuart Watson picks the bones out of the horror show.
Town were the creators of their own downfall in the first half. Luke Chambers dived in to give away an unnecessary free-kick and Patrick Bauer glanced in Ricky Holmes’ super delivery (11), then Danny Rowe played a criminal square pass into his own box from the left-back area which led to Tarique Fosu finding the bottom corner (26).
Big striker Josh Magennis expertly headed home from near the penalty spot after Holmes was afforded far too much time and space to cross from the right (31), then Magennis netted another after ex-Town forward Billy Clarke breezed past Chambers on the by-line before cutting the ball back (39).
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Charlton’s 4-2-3-1 system had played between the lines of Town’s static 4-4-2 set-up. Mick McCarthy made three changes at the interval – Dominic Iorfa, Adam Webster and Andre Dozzell replacing Jordan Spence, Chambers and Rowe – and switched to a 4-3-3 formation.
The two goals Town conceded in the second period were super strikes. The outstanding Holmes, who was a constant threat in the No.10 role, found the top corner with a fine first-time strike from the edge of the box (51) and again with a curling free-kick (77) either side of Dozzell’s close-range consolation finish.
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Learning curve for Flynn
Homegrown midfielder Flynn Downes has looked the part in previous pre-season games, but this was a reminder that the 18-year-old is learning on the job.
Twice he saw passes intercepted in dangerous areas during the second half, but neither Fosu nor Jake Forster-Caskey capitalised. Yes, the hosts could easily have scored eight. Downes also gave away the free-kick from which goal number six was scored.
Bare bones already
David McGoldrick is the latest player to be affected by the nasty virus that has swept through the camp. New boy Bersant Celina was the one to initially bring it in and, having got himself well for a time, he is back on the sidelines too. Tom Adeyemi has been hit by it worst and remains out.
Emyr Huws hasn’t featured at all in pre-season due to a sore Achilles and he won’t be risk until that is 100% for fear of it turning into a long-term problem, while Teddy Bishop (groin) and Luke Hyam (ankle) are also in the treatment room.
To make matters worse, Joe Garner limped off on Saturday after being clattered just prior to Town’s goal. We await the news of how bad that might be.
McCarthy has, potentially, just one fit senior midfield (Cole Skuse) and one fit senior striker (Freddie Sears) heading into Saturday’s Championship opener against Birmingham City at Portman Road.
And then there’s the fact that several others have had curtailed pre-seasons too. Chambers (tonsillitis), Skuse (illness) and Adam Webster (ankle) are nowhere near up to speed.
Time for Dozzell?
Andre Dozzell’s confidence will be sky-high after playing a key role in England winning the European Under-19 Championships. He came on at half-time on Saturday for his first pre-season appearance and played more positive passes inside 10 minutes than any of his other team-mates had managed in the previous 45. The 18-year-old took his goal well, following Jonas Knudsen’s far post knock down, and could be a good option to play off the striker next weekend.
In the absence of McGoldrick and Celina, he is capable of providing the much-needed star quality.
Lack of leaders
Town have lost two of their fiercest competitors this summer in Christophe Berra and Brett Pitman. Beyond skipper Chambers and the fiery Garner it was hard to see too many out-and-out leaders rallying the troops when the going got tough. Cole Skuse is a well-respected senior figure, but he’s no ranter and raver on the field.
IPSWICH TOWN (4-4-2): Bialkowski; Spence (Iorfa 46), Chambers (cpt) (Webster 46), Smith, Knudsen (Kenlock 74); Ward, Skuse (Nydam 74), Downes, Rowe (Dozzell 46); Sears, Garner (Folami 76).
Unused subs: Gerken, Bru, McKendry, Patterson.
CHARLTON ATH (4-2-3-1): Amos; Solly (Charles-Cook 84), Konsa, Bauer (Jackson 84), DaSilva; Forster-Caskey, Kashi; Fosu (Sarr 84), Holmes (Ahearne-Grant 84), Clarke (Watt 71); Magennis.
Attendance: 2,297 (350 away)