Fuller Flavour: McKenna has done more in 15 games than others in 15 years
- Credit: Steve Waller - stephenwaller.com
Ipswich Town fan Karl Fuller shares his thoughts on the Blues after the 0-0 draw with Portsmouth, and with games fast running out for a play-off push...
I feel like I am back into the days of déjà vu when penning this column.
Not so long ago, every week saw me talking about the same old frustrations of how poor we had been again, how I could not have felt any more distant from the club if I tried and how miserable being an Ipswich fan in general was.
Now, each week, I am feeling ultra-positive. If it all seems a bit samey, I make no apologies!
Two more games have passed and we continue to maintain a minimum two points per game haul under Kieran McKenna.
Yes, I am frustrated that we did not beat Portsmouth, yes, we need more than what we are obtaining to reach the play-offs, but can we really complain? I never expected to reach the play-offs when McKenna first came to the club.
The damage for this season had already been done. At the time, we were 11 points off the play-offs. I felt that was too much of a gap to be bridged.
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I just wanted to see progress. Saturday was the sixth successive game I have attended where we kept a clean sheet. This beat my previous record five clean sheets witnessed in October and November of 1987.
We are dominating teams now and possession stats are going through the roof. The football that we are playing is a joy to watch. Crowds of 25k are turning up. Progress is being made on many fronts.
I agree that it could be better. We could score more goals, we need to find a way to beat teams who realise that they cannot beat us by playing football, so resort to time-wasting and other antics.
But just take a moment to think what McKenna has achieved. For me, he has done more in 15 games than probably anybody else has done in 15 years at the club. Let’s just enjoy the upturn in fortunes and pray they continue.
We have reached a stage where everything needs to go our way and lady luck is turning against us now.
We needed a run in where injuries stayed at a minimum. One or two could be handled. But with Lee Evans, Kyle Edwards and George Edmundson already missing, we now add Kayden Jackson and presumably Sam Morsy to the injured list.
Wes Burns was also not his usual self and came off. Not exactly what is needed with the big games to come.
Add into the mix some officiating decisions that are going against us and we are just not getting the rub of the green. There were at least one, maybe two occasions where Macauley Bonne was manhandled to the ground inside the area.
The assistant referee would have been looking right down the line of those offences. What didn’t he see that we all saw?
Bonne scored a legitimate goal too. The offside given against Luke Woolfenden was the same assistant who saw it. Maybe he thought it was Woolfenden rather than Cameron Burgess who played the ball onto Bonne.
It is an example of how VAR could have done its job and made a correct decision. Mind you, in the main, I am glad that we still do not have VAR at our level of the game. I couldn’t take celebrating goals and then seeing them disallowed because of an offside toenail.
Portsmouth were surprisingly not as good on the day as I feared they might be. They ended the game in the same manner as Oxford had done previously. Similar, if you like, to Cheltenham recently.
They were clearly settling for a draw after around the 60 minute mark. I found this strange as although they have games in hand, they surely needed the three points as much as we did in the same quest for a top-six finish.
So, whilst we carry a different kind of frustration on our shoulders these days, the future certainly looks very bright.
I haven’t given up all hope for this season just yet. But needless to say, we need to find that one missing ingredient to turn 0-0 draws into wins.
McKenna will know this of course. But furthermore, I trust him to work damn hard to resolve the issue.