Sunday Snap: Sinful stats, mistaken identity and Norwood mastering the dark arts
- Credit: Picture: Steve Waller
Ipswich Town beat Shrewsbury 2-1 yesterday. Andy Warren looks at the events surrounding the game.
Those who watched this game were treated to an extremely rare spectacle – Ipswich trailing at the break but coming from behind to win.
Of the previous 30 times the Blues had trailed at the interval, the victory over AFC Wimbledon last August was the only one which ultimately ended in victory, thanks to James Norwood and Kayden Jackson goals.
This one was far less spectacular and clearly lacked any of the atmosphere or outpouring of emotion, but it could yet prove important.
Stats can lie
Ipswich had 68% of the possession in this game, more than twice the total shots of their opposition, put more of them on target, completed significantly more passes and had double the number of corners.
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That paints a picture of total dominance from the Blues, but anyone watching this game would have seen something very different.
Ipswich toiled for long periods of this match, lacked spark and invention and did much of their passing inside their own half and snaking from side to side.
Statistics don’t always give you the full picture.
The only stat that matters, in isolation, anyway, is the fact they scored two goals compared to their opposition’s one.
Prior to this game I must have watched Flynn Downes’ goal from the corresponding fixture last season on 10 or 12 occasions.
I never tire of it. There’s Kane Vincent-Young’s clever touch past his man, his long strides forward, a ball to Gwion Edwards who quickly sends Kayden Jackson up the line and then a perfect cross which Downes throws himself at to head home.
It’s got it all. The football is fast, free-flowing and instinctive. There’s penetration, energy and a willingness from Downes to put his body on the line to score.
Then there’s the huge roar from all four sides of Portman Road, celebrating a job well done.
So many elements of this goal are missing at the moment, not least the crowd.
Town lacked the creative ideas, drive and purpose this goal highlights, as well as a willingness to run with the ball.
Vincent-Young in an Ipswich shirt feels like a lifetime ago at this point, as does the tenacity of Downes in the centre of midfield.
The sooner any (or all) of these elements return, the better.
There was one moment in this game which really made me smile.
As the Ipswich players began to celebrate Jack Lankester’s dramatic winner, Norwood began to limp.
‘Oh no’ I thought. Not another one. Not another injury.
But as the striker slowly limped back to halfway under the watchful eye of the referee, I thought I knew what was coming. I wasn’t disappointed.
We’ve seen this before from the Town striker, in the aforementioned game with Wimbledon after Jackson’s winner, and I’m absolutely delighted we saw it again as the striker’s limp suddenly disappeared and he began to tear off after the ball once Shrewsbury kicked off.
He is a master of the dark arts. I believe they call it s***housing.
More of that please, Mr Norwood.
Town have now conceded four penalties in their last six League One games.
Before yesterday, Toto Nsiala had been involved in the previous three, giving two away himself and heading the ball onto Mark McGuinness’ arm for a controversial one at Sunderland.
So perhaps that’s why Soccer Saturday host Jeff Stelling announced to the nation that Nsiala had given this one away, with the Town No.22’s reputation maybe preceding him a little.
But this one was all McGuinness as he clipped the heels of Shaun Whalley to give away a clear spot kick.
The visitors could easily have had two more in this game, had McGuinness’ challenge on Marc Pugh and Nsiala’s dive in on Ryan Barnett been punished. Fortunately they weren’t.
It must be said, the Blues could have had at least one of their own, with Nsiala shoved in the box and Pugh also playing the ball onto his own arm following a corner.
This week’s warm-up shooting award passes from Norwood to Luke Chambers.
The skipper’s first act when coming out to prepare for the game was to chip Tomas Holy from fully 40-yards before running away, arm aloft in the style of Alan Shearer.
Sadly he wasn’t able to make too much of an impact in the final third when the real action began, though.
Benson & Hedges
There was once a time when the Admiral logo appeared on the shirts of some of English football’s biggest clubs, including Manchester United and Tottenham, as well as the England national team. But now Shrewsbury’s are the only side in the top four divisions to have the British brand make their kit.
But all I could think of when I saw the logo though was the film Mike Bassett: England Manager. Am I alone?
PS – Admiral also make the kits for the USA and Canadian cricket teams, as well as Queens Park in Scotland and a string of sides in the lower reaches of the US football pyramid including New Orleans Jesters, Sioux Falls Thunder and AC Miracle Hill.
In the mix
It’s fair to say the music being played at Portman Road this season is for those with an eclectic taste.
Gone is the Ed Sheeran megamix which filled the minutes prior to kick-off in previous season, in is a mixed bag from which you never truly know what you’re going to pull out.
All genres are represented, though, so there’s something for everyone.
This weekend’s highlight was a 15-second burst of Dr Dre’s Still D.R.E in the immediate aftermath of the half-time whistle, before that was quickly abandoned and turned into some Tinie Tempah.
Purists will be pleased to know Fat Boy Slim’s ‘Right here, right now’ was played prior to kick-off, as should legally be required at any football match played in this country for the rest of time.