Fuller Flavour: Sometimes you just lose to a better side, but what a month August has been!
- Credit: Picture: Steve Waller
Saturday, unfortunately, was a step too far for a patched-up Ipswich side looking to seal a record-breaking fifth-successive win to start a season.
Yes, we were totally outclassed by an excellent Fulham outfit but did the bigger picture that is the month of August 2017 really deserve those few boos that could be heard at the final whistle?
It was painful at times to watch us being overrun time and time again, but Fulham have some very good players at this level. And after waxing lyrical last week about the stupendous effort put in by our makeshift eleven to defeat Brentford, I certainly was not going to berate them at full-time.
Sure, there were some things that we could have done a little differently and it was not a game that we should have just surrendered but I don’t believe we did. Some days, you just have to accept being beaten by the better side on the day.
I spoke to my good friend Don Welsh at half-time and he questioned whether Fulham were that good or if we played a part in that to an extent. There was a case for both arguments.
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I don’t think that we quite reached our levels of the previous week against Brentford but to coin a phrase once used by Mick Mills, it’s not what you do with the ball, it’s what you do without it.
At one point, I found myself counting how many players Fulham actually had on the pitch because they always seemed to have a spare man in whatever passage of play they dictated.
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When their first goal came, it was only a matter of time as a combination of the post and excellent saves by Bart kept them at bay.
And what of the save made by Bart leading to Fulham’s second goal? That was pure class and that alone did not deserve to see the rebound fired home.
Overall, the defence was not quite as solid as the week before, the midfield could not get to grips with Tom Cairney in particular and the strikers were starved of any service that they could truly threaten with.
On another day however, David McGoldrick could well have scored the effort he had in the first-half. Would that have made much difference to the overall outcome though?
Who would have thought that going into the Birmingham game on the opening day of the season that we would end the month with a points haul of 12 from a possible 15 and end the month in second place, this on the back of the squad being decimated so hugely?
I know that I would rather be in our position right now than that of our friends up the road! Four goals at Millwall on two separate occasions this month has given us plenty to smile about at least. And did we really want to see Mick win the dreaded Manager of the Month award?
Add in the news during the week that both Flynn Downes and Tristan Nydam have been called up to the England Under 19 squad, then you could say that we’ve had much to be proud of in recent weeks.
I just hope that the international break is kind to us in allowing some players to recharge their batteries and others to regain fitness so that when we return to action at QPR in just under a fortnight, we’ll start seeing a bit more strength and depth to the squad.
All in all, a great start to the season and plenty to build on.
Our critics that I talked of last week will no doubt take delight in saying that they were right in respect of what would happen once we play someone decent in this league but in context, if Fulham use this victory as a catalyst to get their season going, I don’t see too many sides stopping them.