Sunday Snap: New owners watch on, a long-awaited Portman Road return and next season taking shape

Oli Hawkins heads clear.

Oli Hawkins heads clear. - Credit: Steve Waller-www.stephenwaller.c

Ipswich Town drew 0-0 with AFC Wimbledon yesterday. Andy Warren takes a look at a few of the talking points around the game.

Still waiting 

As I’m sure you are now fully aware, Ipswich Town have now played more than 10 hours of football without scoring a goal. In League One.  

Truly woeful, really. 

One more blank would equal a club-record seven-successive matches without a goal, chalked up between February and April of 1995 during a run which included the 9-0 loss to Manchester United on the way to relegation from the top flight. 

The contrast between the mood off the pitch and on it at the moment is remarkable, with so much optimism regarding the club’s new owners and so little faith in the team on the field. 

The reaction to a round of interviews with new co-owner Berke Bakay (you can read/listen/watch ours here) couldn’t have been more positive but, five games in, he, Brett Johnson and Mark Detmer are still waiting to see their first Ipswich Town goal. 

They were all still watching, though and somehow, at some point, an Ipswich player will make their mark as the first to net at the start of a new era. It took three games for the first strike under Marcus Evans, with Danny Haynes netting against Coventry after two blanks. 

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The sooner this season is over and the new ownership can truly begin to have an influence, the better. 

Toothless Town 

Did we really expect anything more than this? 

The Town XI named by Paul Cook for this game had scored a combined two goals between them in 2021, with one each for centre backs Mark McGuinness and Luke Woolfenden. 

The four substitutes brought one more 2021 goal to the party, thanks to Aaron Drinan’s tackle finish at Crewe in January. 

Kane Vincent-Young takes a throw -in against AFC Wimbledon.

Kane Vincent-Young takes a throw-in against AFC Wimbledon. Photo: Steve Waller - Credit: Steve Waller-www.stephenwaller.c

Welcome home 

Kane Vincent-Young showed flashes of the player we enjoyed so much during the late summer of 2019 on Saturday, with clever touches, good movement and a will to get forward. 

This was his first time on the Portman Road pitch in 548 days, dating back to the home loss to Rotherham in October 2019.  

He’s played seven games of football for Ipswich since limping off at Southend a few days after that game with the Millers, with pre-season friendlies at Colchester and Tottenham followed by away games at Portsmouth, Wigan, Charlton and Northampton. 

So, to see him back at the home of the Blues was brilliant to see. 

Home comforts 

Speaking of Portman Road, Town are currently nine unbeaten on home turf, going back to the televised loss to Sunderland on January 26. 

Town have taken 17 points from the 27 available during those nine games, winning four and drawing the other five. Four of those ended 0-0. 

This stat doesn't really paint an accurate picture of the state of play right now. 

Town manager Paul Cook calms things down.

Town manager Paul Cook calms things down. - Credit: Steve Waller-www.stephenwaller.c

Underdogs 

Just to highlight where Ipswich Town are at right now, it’s probably worth pointing out the Blues were underdogs in the betting heading into yesterday’s game. 

For AFC Wimbledon, battling to avoid relegation, to be favourites for a game at Portman Road tells you everything you need to know. 

Woeful 

I think these Gwion Edwards corners will be popping up on social media on a regular basis for quite some time. 

The Welshman’s set-pieces were woeful during the second half of yesterday’s game, with a corner first ballooning over its intended target and nearly landing outside the penalty area on its way straight out of play.  

Then a free-kick was rifled close to the top tier of the North Stand, with an effort more akin to a rugby conversion. 

Edwards has been a social media hit before, with his heel-flick on his debut against Blackburn used time and time again. These might just usurp that. 

Taking shape 

It’s clear now Ipswich Town will be playing a third season in League One in 2021/22. 

And the roster of teams is beginning to take shape now, with promotions and relegations as good as confirmed in all three divisions over the course of the weekend. 

Hull are up from League One and look almost certain to be joined by Peterborough now, while Bristol Rovers and Swindon were both relegated to the third tier yesterday. 

In the Championship, Wycombe’s relegation is now inevitable, with the Chairboys six points and a bucket load of goals from safety with just two games remaining. Sheffield Wednesday look to be coming down, too, with Rotherham and Derby scrapping for the final place above the dreaded dotted line. 

In League Two, Cheltenham are on their way up, Cambridge look nearly certain to join them, while Bolton have stormed back up the table to occupy the third automatic place.  

(Nearly) dead rubbers 

Town have three matches still to play, with all three having absolutely nothing riding on them. 

Town won’t make the play-offs, even if it's still possible mathematically, with first opponents Swindon already relegated. 

Next up is Shrewsbury, safe in mid-table, before the visit of Fleetwood on the final day.  

The Cod Army are 14th and could, conceivably, finish above Town with victory at Portman Road on the final day. 

There’s the narrative.  

Toto Nsiala, pictured warming up before Town's game with AFC Wimbledon

Toto Nsiala, pictured warming up before Town's game with AFC Wimbledon - Credit: Ross Halls

Final word

The final word this week goes to Toto Nsiala's new haircut.

I think it suits him.

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