Sunday Snap: New Year Blues, comparing two stunners and the Swindon player Ipswich wanted to sign
- Credit: Picture: Steve Waller www.stephenwaller.com
Ipswich Town lost 3-2 at home to Swindon Town yesterday. Andy Warren looks back at the events surrounding the game.
New Year Blues
We know Ipswich Town can’t beat Norwich City. We know Ipswich Town can’t beat the best teams in League One. We know Ipswich Town can’t win cup games or claim three points coming out of international breaks and we know their record on live television is dire.
And here’s another thing they can’t do – win the first game of a new year.
You have to go back to 2010 to find the last time they were able to do that as the Blues beat Blackpool 2-1 in the FA Cup. They’ve now lost six and drawn five of their 11 year-opening games since then.
To find the last time Ipswich won their first league game of a new year you have to go back that little bit further, to the victory over West Brom in 2008. All very depressing.
Hopefully this isn’t another case of ‘starting the way you mean to go on’.
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‘That goal is worthy of winning any game’
This is supposed to be a column which acts as the ‘light to the shade’. There’s an awful lot of shade around and very little light.
Sadly the biggest ray of sunshine from the weekend’s game came from the boot of Swindon Town’s No.10, Scott Twine.
As Luke Woolfenden noted in his post-match interview, Ipswich knew all-about the Swindon-born youngster. They had watched videos of his exploits during his loan at Newport, and before that at Chippenham Town on loan, and knew he can score stunners from outside the box. He’s now scored eight goals this season, seven of which have been from beyond the penalty area.
So that’s what makes Town’s defending of him all the more criminal as he was given an acre of space in which to turn before firing home. It was an incredible strike, no question, leaving David Cornell no chance.
It instantly made me think of Leighton Baines’ strike for Wigan against Town at Portman Road back in 2004 when the left-back lashed in from a mile out in front of the Sky cameras. It left home fans clapping their hands in appreciation which, had supporters been in the stadium this weekend, would surely have left many doing the same amid a chorus of boos.
Twine’s goal was great but, in my mind, Baines’ still remains the best opposition goal I’ve witnessed at Portman Road. The angle from the North Stand showing the ball bend into the top corner and Kelvin Davis’ despairing dive make it for me.
Brett Pitman’s first return to Portman Road was ultimately a successful one.
He didn’t have the highlight moment like Twine, or two goals like Diallang Jaiyesimi. Nor did he run the show like debut-making Dominic Thompson at left-back.
But what he did do is disrupt the Ipswich Town central defenders throughout, out-fox Luke Woolfenden on a regular basis and allow others to work around him.
He got ahead of Mark McGuinness for Swindon’s game-clinching third goal and, while it looked as if he may have got a touch on first viewing, he quickly ran away pointing at Jaiyesimi as the former Norwich youngster was credited with the second.
Pitman was right to award it to his team-mate, given he blocked a certain Jaiyesimi goal on the line in the first half.
He still doesn’t look or move like a footballer, but he can certainly be an effective one.
This was the first meeting between Ipswich and Swindon in 20 years, going back to the 1999/00 promotion season, and the Blues first defeat to the men from Wiltshire in nearly 30.
The last loss came in September 1991 with Town going unbeaten in the last 13 meetings and winning the previous eight heading into this match.
That’s another record gone.
One that got away?
Paul Caddis stands alone as the only Swindon Town player to win two league titles for the club, conquering League Two eight years apart (2011/12 and 2019/20) after returning to the County Ground.
But had things turned out differently he could have been an Ipswich player.
The Blues showed serious interest in the former Celtic man in 2012, back when he was a flying right-back aged 24, along with his partner in crime down the Swindon right flank, Matt Ritchie.
The pair were excellent together and would have been a welcome addition to Ipswich at that time, with Ritchie in particular going on to perform well in the Premier League with the likes of Bournemouth and Newcastle.
Ritchie was sold to the Cherries for £500,000 in 2013 while Caddis would have been available at a similar price.
The latter is 32 now and, while nowhere near the same player he was eight years ago, showed he remains a solid performer up-and-down the Portman Road pitch.