'It's the poorest we've been under the new boss... but a win's a win' - Chaplin on Gillingham success

Goal scorer Conor Chaplin applauds fans after the game.

Goal scorer Conor Chaplin applauds fans after the game. - Credit: Steve Waller - stephenwaller.com

Conor Chaplin was delighted to fire Ipswich Town to victory despite being far from their best in their 1-0 success over Gillingham. 

The attacker notched his ninth of the season as he thumped home on 74 minutes at Portman Road, with his goal ultimately the difference in a contest Ipswich struggled to assert themselves on for long spells despite heading in as heavy favourites.  

Chaplin knows better is needed as Town bid to close the eight-point gap to the play-offs during the final 16 games of the campaign, but was just happy to come away with three points. 

Conor Chaplin about to pull the trigger and fire Town into a 1-0 lead.

Conor Chaplin about to pull the trigger and fire Town into a 1-0 lead. - Credit: Steve Waller - stephenwaller.com

“A win’s a win and we move on to Tuesday (at Doncaster) as quickly as possible after the game, that’s how we look at it,” Chaplin said.  

“We’re under no illusions about how we’ve played. It’s probably the poorest we’ve been since the new boss has been here, but we’ve got three points. 

“We thought we played well last weekend (1-0 loss at Sheffield Wednesday) but didn’t have too many chances in the game. We saw a bit of a reaction on social media but I didn’t really agree with that because I thought we’d played well last week. 

“But in terms of this game I can tell you which dressing room is happier, out of not winning but playing well or winning without playing so well. 

Conor Chaplin celebrates after scoring to give Town a 1-0 lead.

Conor Chaplin celebrates after scoring to give Town a 1-0 lead. - Credit: Steve Waller - stephenwaller.com

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“It’s crucial we do that at home and turn Portman Road into a fortress. We’ve won three on the spin now at home and that’s something to build on.” 

This version of Gillingham, now managed by Neil Harris following Steve Evans’ sacking, proved to be significantly tougher than the one beaten 4-0 at Priestfield less than a month ago. 

That came as no surprise to Chaplin and Town, though. 

“We weren’t kidding ourselves and knew exactly what was coming,” he said. 

“They have a new manager, a bounce and some new energy. We played them a few weeks ago and this was a completely different prospect. 

“We spoke about it being a grind and being tough, having 10 men to break down on the edge of the box. You could bring in 10 lads from the pub, sit them on the edge of the box and they would be tough to break down. 

“They were very rigid, which is what they came to do and credit to them. We needed to wait for that little bit of quality and thankfully it came.” 

On his goal, Chaplin said: “Fridge (George Edmundson) has done really well with a great spot and hit the pass really firmly, which is what you needed on this pitch because it was a little bit dry. 

“It was perfect. I’ve got three in three against Gillingham, which is how it goes sometimes. Unfortunately we don’t play them again.” 

Ed Sheeran at Portman Road for the game against Gillingham.

Ed Sheeran at Portman Road for the game against Gillingham. - Credit: Steve Waller - stephenwaller.com

Chaplin’s goal came in front of superstar Town fan Ed Sheeran, who watched from his hospitality box in the West Stand, as well as fellow singer Olly Murs, who watched the game from the directors box. 

“Was he singing my name?” Chaplin joked, when asked about Sheeran. “I’m usually singing his songs and now maybe he is singing mine. 

“I’ve not met him but I’d be so star-struck. He’s my favourite.”