Crystal Palace loanee Jonny Williams silences the Brighton boo boys and then insists he wants to stay and remain part of ‘something special’ at Ipswich Town
Jonny Williams silenced the Brighton boo boys then insisted he wants to extend his stay at Ipswich Town after being made to feel part of “something special”.
The 20-year-old – on loan from the Seagulls’ fierce rivals Crystal Palace – was given a hot reception at a packed Amex Stadium on Saturday, fans of the south coast club still smarting at their home defeat to the Eagles in last season’s play-off semi-finals.
And the diminutive midfielder responded with an all-action display full of tenacity and skill in equal measure, celebrating wildly in front of 1,784 jubilant travelling fans after he laid on the second goal in a 2-0 win which manager Mick McCarthy labelled ‘huge’.
Williams’ temporary switch from Selhurst Park is due to end after this week’s back-to-back home games against third-place Derby (tomorrow night) and seventh-place Nottingham Forest (Saturday), but it looks likely that it will extended until the end of the campaign before Thursday’s deadline.
“I enjoyed the game today. I thought everything was fantastic, from the tactics to the performance, and I actually enjoyed getting booed. It was quite fun,” said the quietly-spoken youngster, who was still grinning ear-to-ear long after the final whistle.
“I enjoy coming here. It’s good. I knew I was going to get a bit of stick because of the Palace connection but I thought I responded in the right way. It’s one of those things that could make you more nervous, but I found I was able to cope with it and I enjoyed it.”
The Welsh international, who set up Daryl Murphy’s killer second following Tommy Smith’s opener, continued: “I think the celebration was a build-up of my season so far with the injuries and then being in-and-out of the (Palace) team,” “It’s been a hard season for me, if I’m honest, and today I felt good again. I felt part of something special and part of a team again. That’s why it all came out like that. I just wanted to celebrate with the fans. It felt like I’d scored in a way.
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“If Palace aren’t going to play me in the first team then I’d be happy to stay here and play. It’s good to get out to a great club full of great players and a great manager. I’ve enjoyed my time here so far and hopefully that can continue.
“These next two home games are huge and will probably decide whether we’re in the top six or not. If we can get points from those it will be an exciting finish. It would be nice to be part of that.”
Victory saw Town close the gap on the play-off places to five points heading into the final nine matches of their Championship campaign, with eighth-place Brighton now just two points clear and seventh-placed Nottingham Forest one further ahead.
“The pressure was off us because perhaps the expectation had gone down a bit after the defeat to Wigan,” said Williams. “People were probably starting to write us off, but this win puts us right back in the mix.”
Asked how he’s found working with McCarthy, Williams said: “He’s been fantastic. I’d only seen him on TV before I came here so I didn’t know how he was going to be, but he’s been first class. I think he’s a great manager and he’s been fantastic with me. He’s eased me in and I feel part of something really special.”