'Our problems at 3pm are still our problems at 5pm' - Cook on Town's Plymouth loss

Paul Cook at Home Park.

Paul Cook at Home Park. - Credit: Pagepix Ltd

Paul Cook was once again frustrated to see his side concede at crucial times as they fell to a 2-1 loss to League One leaders Plymouth. 

George Edmundson had given Ipswich the lead at Home Park, just as it looked as though Town would hold their advantage heading into half-time, Luke Jephcott tapped home just before the break to level what had been a lively contest. 

Ipswich conceded again, just five minutes after the break as Connor Grant struck, and though Town created good late chances, Cook felt the timing of the first goal was the key moment of the game, ultimately costing his side what he felt was a deserved point. 

“The biggest thing is the goal before half-time,” he said.

Paul Cook covers his face in despair at another refereeing decision at Home Park.

Paul Cook covers his face in despair at another refereeing decision at Home Park. - Credit: Pagepix Ltd

“We’d put ourselves in a good situation and Plymouth test every team who come here because they are a good side having a good season. 

“We have to get in at half-time. We have to. We’re 1-0 up and we have to get in. We gave silly free-kick after silly free-kick away. They have great delivery and, unfortunately, something is going to drop. In those moment we’re struggling to manage. 

“Conceding the second goal probably led to our best spell in the game, if you like and we’ve created big, big chances which we have to score. 

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“If we’d left today 2-2, all our fans would have felt a little more jovial and we would be happier.  

“In reality, our problems at 3pm are still our problems at 5pm. That’s something me and my staff need to look at. 

“We need to come away, look at what we’ve done well and know we can stand most teams in the league up, but that solidity at the other end needs to be better. It’s not right, especially the timing of the goals.” 

On the second goal, five minutes after the break, Cook said: “The stadium’s up again and we don’t let the dust settle in a crowd and we don’t allow ourselves to grow again. 

“We keep giving teams a leg up and that’s something we do far too often.” 

Macauley Bonne and Rekeem Harper both had big chances inside the final 10 minutes but were unable to take them. 

“We did, but we win or lose together,” Cook said, discussing the missed chances. 

“This was a big League One with a big atmosphere in the stadium and we feel we will play our part at some point because we travel to do that. 

“Plymouth have some good games going forward and were a threat, but the goals we gave away were not good goals. 

“The chances we create are good chances we feel we have to work to get and it’s not so at the opposite end. It’s a disappointing day but there’s no time to do anything other than look forward. 

“Plymouth are doing great and I’d like to think we can go on a run again. 

“I saw some really good signs in the game, especially when we moved the ball from side to side and we get the full-backs in and open teams up. Unfortunately we didn’t get that goal which would take us back to Suffolk with a deserved point. 

Cook was forced into changes in this game, with Janoi Donacien and Wes Burns ruled out on the morning of the game through illness, while Sone Aluko missed out with a groin problem. That meant Cook was robbed of his entire right side, as Luke Woolfenden came in at right-back, with Hayden Coulson in an advanced role ahead of him. 

“Aluko was on Thursday and then Janoi and Wes Burns this morning,” Cook said. 

“As you can imagine, it’s not for preparation but there’s no excuses from us on that. It’s not ideal but I won’t go down that road. 

“When you have two lads sick and not able to get on the pitch, then Connor Chaplin not training all week with a back spasm problem and then Aluko pulling out it’s tough. 

“But it’s not an excuse. We have a good squad. Does all that stop us conceding a goal before half-time? No. That’s my biggest gripe about today.” 

Discussing Coulson, who came into the side in an unfamiliar position after more than six weeks out, Cook said: “We didn’t have a choice. We were very limited in our options. Kayden Jackson was back after having Covid for today and I thought Luke Woolfenden was smashing as a stay-at-home right-back. Hayden did his best in the game and it’s always going to be difficult to come in in an unnatural position. It is what it is. 

“The disappointment is not taking anything from the game. 

“We’re going to get back now and have a look at what we can do (for Tuesday’s game at Wycombe, because we are getting a little bit stretched that’s for sure.” 

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