Indifferent display brings three points

IT'S a well-worn phrase.But the words “not playing well but still getting the win” will have been drummed out by many Town fans on Saturday night as they headed away from Portman Road.

By Mike Bacon

IT'S a well-worn phrase.

But the words “not playing well but still getting the win” will have been drummed out by many Town fans on Saturday night as they headed away from Portman Road.

A 3-2 victory over a Scunthorpe side who had only won one in 14, was hardly a demonstration that Jim Magilton's side are set to take the play-offs by storm . . . or even better.

However for any team to gain success the ingredients have to be many, and Magilton can now, if he hadn't already, add 'character' to his side's potentially potent mix.

This was no Bristol City 6-0 performance from Town, and on a bitterly cold afternoon it was no five-goal thriller either, despite the scoreline.

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But three points are three points, and in a Championship League which continues to bamboozle at the summit with teams dropping points to each other and to others, it was a win to take . . . and move on. However Ipswich will need to play better than this, especially at the back.

On another day, against a West Brom, Charlton or Watford, the points would have been heading away from Portman Road. And that is perhaps the only concern on what was overall a satisfactory, but no more, day for Town.

While Ipswich's away run continues to confuse all, one look at who they have actually played on their travels might answer a few questions.

Indeed Town have played at six of the current top nine sides, with only Stoke and Wolves, who are today in the top nine, still to travel to.

However, the worry after a defensive performance like Saturday's for Town, is that Charlton, Watford, Stoke, West Brom, Plymouth and next Saturday, Burnley - all in the top nine - have still to come to Portman Road.

The optimists will say it is a chance to knock them all over with Town's super home record. The realists know you might get away leaking two goals to Scunthorpe and still win, but you won't to the bigger hitters in the league.

But that's all in the future.

In the end on Saturday it was substitute Tommy Miller who showed real character to step up seven minutes from time to curl a wonderful free-kick around the outside of the Scunthorpe wall and into the far corner of the net past Joe Murphy.

Miller had done well after coming on for an out-of-sorts Gavin Williams and if possession (of the football) is nine-tenths of the Law, then on Saturday Town were worthy victors.

But they didn't make it easy for themselves.

A thunderous shot from Ian Morris who was allowed acres of space to get himself into a shooting position, smashed off the underside of the bar - and over the line in fairness to him - but it fell to Martin Paterson anyhow, who slid it home after 16 minutes.

Iron's lead was shortlived as a Williams' free-kick two minutes later, was flicked back into the six-yard box by Jason De Vos at the back stick and Pablo Counago did the rest three yards out.

Owen Garvan ran onto a Counago through-ball to coolly round Murphy with his left foot and side-foot it home with his right, to make it an eventful opening 21 minutes.

It was a quality finish by the young Irishman, who along with Counago and David Wright were Town's best players.

If that was supposed to be the catalyst for a mountain of goals, Scunthorpe never read the script

Admittedly the Lincolnshire side were indebeted to Gavin Williams, who dilly-dallied on a ball he should have been clearing, allowing Paterson a clear run on goal, and he expertly deceived Neil Alexander, opening his body up and then slotting in in the near post, 33 minutes in.

Town fans didn't know whether to boo or clap the half-time whistle, but without impressing one always felt it would be Town and not Iron who would grab a third.

That came late from Miller and not after a few nervous scares and much huffing and puffing from the home team.

The busy Christmas period is almost on top of us.

For Town, Saturday was little more than a case of three points and move on.

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