Stuart Watson’s Verdict – Ipswich Town fans are bored of hard luck tales and false dawns

Joe Garner walks off dejected following Ipswich Town's 1-0 home defeat to Norwich City. Photo: PA

Joe Garner walks off dejected following Ipswich Town's 1-0 home defeat to Norwich City. Photo: PA - Credit: PA

The mood music has changed and things could unravel very quickly for Ipswich Town.

Yesterday’s 1-0 defeat to bitter rivals Norwich City at Portman Road was hard to stomach. The Blues started the game with a bang, but ended it with a whimper. After James Maddison netted in the 59th minute a comeback never looked likely.

That’s nine East Anglian derbies without a win over a period spanning almost nine years (six defeats, three draws). It wasn’t that long ago that Town were eight points ahead of their Norfolk neighbours in the table, but now they find themselves four behind. The sound of Canaries chirping is insufferable.

• Seven observations from Town’s 1-0 defeat to Norwich

Having won their opening five matches in all competitions, the Blues have now lost seven of their last nine. The two other results were wins against the Championship’s bottom two sides – Bolton and Sunderland.

All of the renewed feelgood factor generated by a decent start has well and truly dissipated. The atmosphere could soon very well return to the toxic levels of a dire 2016/17 campaign.

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Is that dramatic given that most of the defeats have been fine margins affairs? Possibly, but...

• Mick McCarthy declares himself ‘pleased with performance’

Town fans are tired of hard luck tales. They are bored of false dawns. They are fed-up of their club simply treading water in the Championship as others ride the rollercoaster of football fun around them.

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They are frustrated at owner Marcus Evans not being able to compete financially. They feel they have seen and heard everything from manager Mick McCarthy too.

• ‘It’s a tough one to take’ admits Cole Skuse

What yesterday did was highlight a lack of DNA and direction about the club. Norwich, now unbeaten in nine, have built an identity of German efficiency under new head coach Daniel Farke in a matter of months. It’s hard to know what Ipswich are.

Almost five years into the job and McCarthy is still searching for a formula. There’s no sense of pieces of the jigsaw slowly falling into place. No preferred formation or style. Too many square pegs in rounds holes.

• How did you rate the Blues players out of 10?

The fixtures ahead look daunting. Burton (a), Cardiff (a), Preston (h), Hull (a), Sheffield Wednesday (h), Aston Villa (a), Derby (a)... Yesterday’s bumper 25,000 crowd will return to 15,000.

Don’t underestimate just how damaging this derby defeat was.

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