Andy's Angles: Five observations following Ipswich Town's home defeat by Hull City
PUBLISHED: 18:46 30 March 2019
© Copyright Stephen Waller
Andy Warren gives his observations from Ipswich Town's 2-0 home defeat at the hands of Hull City.
Same old story
If you can’t score goals and are unable to keep them out at the other end, you aren’t going to win many football matches.
That’s very much come to pass for Ipswich Town this season. This was a familiar tale.
Play some decent football, knocking the ball around well but not being able to threaten the opposition goal anywhere near enough.
Then concede two goals, for which the opposition didn’t have to work overly hard.
How many times has this been the synopsis of Ipswich Town games this season?
The Blues have only kept a clean sheet once this year (the backs to the walls 1-0 win over Rotherham in January) and haven’t scored more than once in a game since New Year’s Day (3-2 loss to Millwall).
So when Kamil Grosicki scored his second goal of this game, it was always going to be a tall order. Hull had just three shots on target and scored twice, but of Ipswich’s six shots on target Hull goalkeeper David Marshall was never really tested.
Andre Dozzell, an early substitute for Jon Nolan, showed some flashes of invention without always finding team-mates on the same wave-length, while twice at the end of the opening period the Blues saw efforts cleared off the line.
It was ultimately, though, a mountain Ipswich couldn’t climb.
The Blues have lost all four of their games coming out of international breaks this season.
First there was the limp 2-0 defeat at Hull in September, where they failed to back up the positive display in a game where they deserved to beat now league-leaders Norwich.
Then there was the miserable 2-0 loss at home to QPR in October, which set the wheels in motion for Paul Hurst’s sacking. Then it was the 2-1 home defeat by West Brom in November.
Ipswich were unable to replicate the excellent second-half display against Nottingham Forest in the contest prior to the latest break, which in turn brought something of a flat atmosphere inside Portman Road.
The home support has been remarkable in recent months, as noted by Lambert on so many occasions, but they would have desperately have hoped to be given something by their team this afternoon.
With Matthew Pennington having picked up what looks to be a season-ending ankle injury, Toto Nsiala was given the opportunity to start in the Championship for just the third time under Paul Lambert.
We’ve seen him used as a battering ram substitute in the final seconds of games of late but, having also impressed in the recent draw at Bristol City as a starter, did so again today.
We saw what Nsiala is all about with a good early block, followed by two or three further big moments in the opening period. Most notable was an occasion where he stepped out of defence to make one block before stretching to win a second ball and lift the crowd at a time when the Portman Road had fallen flat.
He was solid in possession, too, even producing a couple of good angled balls out to full-back.
It’s been a tough Championship baptism for Nsiala following a journey through the lower leagues, but he’s beginning to show he could be a real asset for the Blues as they head into the third tier, given the defender played 58 games for a Shrewsbury side who reached two Wembley finals at that level under Paul Hurst.
Remarkably, this was Kayden Jackson’s first start at Portman Road since October 2, in the 2-0 loss to Middlesbrough.
He’s deserved his opportunity, impressing off the bench in games against West Brom and Nottingham Forest as well as in a start at Bristol City earlier this month.
He forced Hull goalkeeper David Marshall into a couple of early kicking errors as he charged the Scot down, but had little chance to use his pace in behind during the first-half.
Much of Ipswich’s threat came through Bree’s excellent delivery from the right but, with Jackson dragged wide from his lone striker position, he was unable to attack the Villa full-back’s deliveries.
His big moment came when he was able to bring down a looping Gwion Edwards header, firing towards the bottom corner where Eric Lichaj cleared what looked a certain goal off the line.
He left the game after an hour to be replaced by Quaner, who huffed and puffed without having any more joy than Jackson.
This is not normal (it really isn’t)
To use one of Paul Lambert’s favourite expressions, ‘this is ‘not normal’.
Ipswich Town will be relegated. It’s just a question of when.
But you wouldn’t think it from the stands.
Instead of boos at full-time, Bob Marley’s ‘Three Little Birds’ was being sung around Portman Road.
The lyrics ‘Don’t worry, about a thing, because every little thing, is gonna be alright’ represent an acceptance of their fate.
The Ipswich support has been remarkable and they deserve better on the field. Hopefully there is a better road ahead.