Sunday Snap: Two wind-up merchants, a first for Rowe and Norwood’s Norwich fishing trip
- Credit: Picture: Steve Waller
Andy Warren takes a look back at Ipswich Town’s 1-1 draw with Sunderland this weekend.
It's such a shame the Blues weren't able to pick up all three points in front of a bumper home crowd of 24,051.
Not since the Easter Monday clash with Newcastle in 2017 (25,684) has a crowd so big witnessed a game at Portman Road, excluding games against Norwich City, and before that you have to go back to December 2014 for a game against Charlton (26,157) for yesterday's attendance to be bettered in the league.
It was the biggest attendance at a home opener since Jim Magilton's first game as Town boss, when a 2-1 loss to Crystal Palace was played out in front of more than 25,000 fans.
Despite the hosts letting the lead slip, those in attendance will surely have enjoyed what they saw and the big crowd all contributed to an excellent Portman Road atmosphere.
There were record takings in the club shops around the ground, too, with merchandise income on matchday the highest it's been in 20 years.
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It remains to be seen how many of those fans will return for a Tuesday night clash with AFC Wimbledon - it would be a real surprise if that attendance was close to 20,000 - but this weekend's numbers are a good sign of things going in the right direction again. Albeit slowly.
If the team can get on a roll and become serious promotion challengers and put on a good show at home, attendances are sure to increase steadily as the campaign moves on.
Gone with the wind
Another real shame was the fact Blue Action's planned display ahead of kick-off had to be called off because of the high winds.
The group have done so much to help improve the atmosphere at Portman Road and had big plans ahead of this game, but stood their offering down due to safety issues.
It's pencilled in for the Wimbledon game on August 20.
From howling winds to wind-up merchants.
There was a bit of commotion at half-time as the Sunderland supporters made their feelings clear towards a pair of supporters in the upper tier of the Sir Alf Ramsey stand.
The reason for this was the fact one of the pair was wearing a Newcastle shirt. We've been reliably informed that these fans are regulars whenever Sunderland play away from home, intentionally buying tickets in full view of the away end in order to cause us much mischief as possible in the presence of their North East rivals.
That's some commitment to a gag.
A new weapon?
For the last four seasons we've been teased by the prospect of Jonas Knudsen's long throw. It turns out he was saving it for the World Cup all along.
Very rarely did it create any kind of chance in an Ipswich shirt, let alone a goal, but do the Blues now have an upgrade on their hands?
Janoi Donacien's long throw down the line led to Luke Garbutt's goal, with the full-back's flat, driven hurl looking much more dangerous than the Dane's looped efforts.
We've yet to see Donacien have the chance to throw a ball like that into the box, but there's every reason to think he can cause a bit of trouble with his bullets.
Oh, and Garbutt has a long throw in his arsenal as well.
History tells us not to hold out too much hope, but it's got me excited.
Man in the middle
Was it just me or was referee Neil Hair constantly in the way whenever Cole Skuse was on the ball, particularly during the first half?
The midfielder was excellent this weekend and managed to negotiate his way around the man in black (and he was actually wearing black, too), so maybe Mr Hair shares Skuse's ability to be in the right place at the right time.
Rowe's first start
Would you believe this was Danny Rowe's first start at Portman Road as an Ipswich Town player?
He's had to wait 925 days for it, after signing from Macclesfield in January 2017, but it looks as though, judging by his performances in pre-season and at Burton a week ago, he could well be here to stay.
Would you believe there was another attempt on Emyr Huws this week?
The midfielder was so nearly mowed down by a reversing member of the media (not me, or Stuart Watson, I might add) in the Playford Road car park a week ago as he made his way back from the training dome.
And it's happened again, this time with a member of the club's in-house media team nearly knocking him down.
Watch your back, Emyr.
Norwood's Norwich fishing trip
All's that's missing for James Norwood at Ipswich Town is a goal (or 20).
He's settled in at Portman Road seamlessly, is a popular member of the squad, has shown his ability on the pitch and is a social media hit.
And it's online where he passed another milestone expected of Ipswich players - he's certainly earned his 'winding up Norwich City fans' badge.
The striker's never played against the Canaries in Ipswich blue and hasn't shared a division with them, either, but he still knows how to press their buttons.
It started with the posting of a simple picture of Norwood alongside Teemu Pukki and Max Aarons, taken at last season's EFL Awards, where the Ipswich striker won the League Two Player-of-the-Year award for his efforts in a Tranmere shirt.
Posted with the caption 'All the best tonight chaps!! Just remember what I told you .... because I can't' - it was all innocent enough, you might think. They could have simply shared a big night out together, celebrating a season of success, before going their separate ways.
The only issue, and what marked this out as a clear fishing exercise, was the fact the post was sent when the Canaries were already 4-0 down.
That wasn't the end of it, either, with a few more quick-witted replies to the folk from up the road, endearing himself further to the home fans and making him a marked man north of the border.
We have no idea when or if Norwood will be able to test himself against Norwich on the pitch but, when he does, he clearly has the potential to be a derby hero.