Hull City’s ‘joke of a pitch’ was behind my team selection, says Ipswich Town boss after 2-2 comeback draw

IPSWICH Town manager Paul Jewell says Hull City’s ‘joke of a pitch’ played part in his decision to leave out in-form Lee Martin for today’s 2-2 comeback draw at the KC Stadium.

The Blues boss dropped Martin after his energetic display in the 1-1 draw at table-toppers Southampton four days earlier, starting Jason Scotland in a 4-4-2 formation.

Town were lacklustre in the first half and deservedly trailed 1-0 at the break courtesy of Robbie Brady’s deflected strike.

Jewell’s men improved significantly after the break and, despite Robert Koren doubling the hosts’ advantage against the run of play, Town once again displayed their newfound resolve by levelling the scores up through a Grant Leadbitter brace – the midfielder netting a penalty and spectacular long-range rocket in a four minute spell.

Jewell said: “Once again I had to go in at half-time and tear a strip off them which is not what I want to keep doing, but we certainly got a reaction.

“The scored with virtually their first attack in the second half, but we showed good resilience, battled on and I thought – on the second half performance – we deserved at least a draw.”

Asked what was behind another slow start from his side, the Blues boss continued: “We’ve had a lot of travelling – I know the supporters have as well and I don’t want to make excuses – but we got back at three o’clock in the morning on Tuesday and we had a five hour journey here.

Most Read

“I left Lee (Martin) out because he looked a bit tired. There were one or two others I was thinking about resting too that maybe I should have in hindsight.

“That pitch is a joke; it’s just not conducive to any footballer whatsoever. Not only does it look bad from the stands, when you get on it it’s just sand.

“It doesn’t lend itself to open football and we found it sifficult to adjust.

“Lee Martin has been playing in that little hole, but with the ball bouncing around all over the place that wasn’t going to suit his game.

“We thought we would have to be a bit more direct, but we were a bit meak and mild first half. Second half we got in behind more, Jason (Scotland) linked up exceptionally well, we got at them in their half and I thought the draw was fully justified.”

Reflecting on Leadbitter’s quickfire brace, the midfielder later limping off with what looked to be a groin problem, Jewell said: “People will talk about the strike, but stepping up to take a penalty at 2-0 showed not just confidence but bottle. Once we got the goal you could see that there was a spring in our step.”

– See MOnday’s EADT and Evening Star for match anaylsis and more reaction.

Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter