Sunday Snap: A treble, Norwood’s celebration, two friends fall out and the tears of an Ipswich icon
- Credit: Picture: Steve Waller
Ipswich Town exited the FA Cup at the hands of Portsmouth yesterday. Andy Warren looks at a few of the events surrounding the game.
We all know how miserable the FA Cup has been for Ipswich Town in recent years.
The Blues have now won just one of their last 19 games in the famous competition (last year’s 1-0 replay win at Lincoln), exiting at the first hurdle in 10 of the last 11 seasons.
To really put into perspective how bad it’s been, over the last 16 years Portsmouth have now won as many FA Cup games at Portman Road as Ipswich have. Pompey’s win yesterday takes their tally in that period to three (in addition to 1-0 wins in 2006 and 2008), while they also got a draw in 2016 before knocking Ipswich out in the resulting replay.
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Hopefully they don’t enjoy their League One visit in a few weeks anywhere near as much.
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Yes, Pompey’s first goal cannoned in off goalkeeper David Cornell’s outstretched arm, but the poorly built Ipswich Town wall had a huge part to play in the poor start to the game.
Ronan Curtis’ free-kick sailed freely between the axis of Jon Nolan and Freddie Sears, with a good three yards separating the two men as Nolan simply watched the ball drift past him before it ultimately hit the post and then the back of the net.
You could hear Cornell frantically trying to position his defenders before the Pompey man hit the free-kick, without being able to place it where he truly wanted.
They got it together in the second half as the Town wall blocked another Portsmouth free-kick, with Cornell loudly shouting ‘much f****** better’.
Five Paul Hurst signings were on the pitch when this game finished, with the quintet of Janoi Donacien, Toto Nsiala, Gwion Edwards, Jon Nolan and Ellis Harrison costing in the region of £4.25m in the summer of 2018.
They were supposed to form the core of Hurst’s ‘new era’ at Portman Road but, as we know, that new dawn didn’t last very long. Harrison is now at Portsmouth after just one season at Town while Janoi Donacien is very much on the fringes. The other three have been in-and-out throughout Paul Lambert’s time in charge.
For the record, those five players were only all on the pitch together four times in Ipswich colours, the last of those being Sheffield Wednesday in August 2018.
It could have been six, had Kayden Jackson made it off the bench, while Jack Lankester was also given his Town debut by Hurst.
On the subject of Harrison, the striker’s introduction on 74 minutes saw him reunited with a group of players he trained with every day during his one season in Ipswich.
His battles largely came with Donacien and Nsiala, with the latter faring much better this time than he did when he went head-to-head with Harrison last December, with the Ipswich defender bullied and then substituted after just 38 minutes.
But his biggest impact came in the 111th minute when he tangled with Donacien and fell to the floor, winning a soft free-kick which resulted in the winning goal.
“It was good to play against El,” Donacien said. “We wanted to try and get into him a bit because he was giving it to us.
“We should be giving him a bit more.”
Asked if he and Harrison were close during their time as team-mates, the Ipswich defender replied: “Sometimes, but not today. I won’t speak to him for a while. He’s a smart player but I’m gutted about it.
“The friendship’s on hold for a bit.”
Donacien’s as chilled as they come, but you could sense he was being deadly serious.
From a former Town No.10 to the incumbent.
You could tell James Norwood was excited to be back on a football pitch, returning from hamstring trouble ahead of schedule.
He had a spring in his step during the warm-up, pinging the ball about, finishing superbly in the shooting drill and seeing a peak in his excitement as, while leaving the field, he latched onto a loose ball and fired a driven effort into the top corner from 30 yards before running off down the tunnel with an arm aloft in celebration.
Little did he know then, he’d be back on the scoresheet within five minutes of his return during the second half, finishing superbly in a one-on-one situation. He celebrated that ‘goal’ in the warm-up much more rigorously, though.
It’s been a tough year for the striker, some of it his own doing, but he and everyone connected with the club will benefit if he can return to doing what he does best – scoring goals.
Ipswich may not be in the hat for round two, but a former Town striker is.
Alun Armstrong has guided Darlington through to round two, with the men from the north east knocking out Swindon Town 2-1 at the County Ground.
The former striker, who has gone down in Ipswich folklore for his goal against Inter Milan, was beaming with pride following the victory over the League One side and appeared emotional in his post-match interviews, looking like he was welling up.
Darlington are currently 17th in National League North.