Winners and Losers: A hot streak, feeling Blue and a tale of two ex-Town managers
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Ipswich Town were beaten 2-1 at Accrington Stanley on Saturday. Andy Warren looks at the winners and losers from another busy weekend of action.
There are very few winners when it comes to another tough weekend for Ipswich Town.
But Macauley Bonne can come away from the miserable Accrington loss with some credit, having continued his hot streak in front of goal.
The striker’s finish was calm and composed as he steadied himself to roll the ball past Toby Savin, giving his side a lead which looked to be setting the Blues on the way to victory. We know that didn’t happen, though, and, judging by Bonne’s expression at the end of the game, this goal did little to console a striker who cares deeply for his loan club.
His strike was his eighth in League One this season and his seventh in his last six matches for Ipswich, with his strike rate of a goal every 83 minutes still the best in League One.
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Long may it continue.
Town have waited a long time to have a striker in such hot form. They can’t afford to waste it.
Coleman’s the mustard
For all of Ipswich Town’s failings this weekend, credit must go to Accrington for their success at the end of a difficult week.
They had conceded 12 goals in three games heading into this one and were missing key men so, when Bonne rolled Ipswich ahead, it would have been so easy for Stanley to fold.
They didn’t. Ipswich did, meaning Stanley came away with the points once again.
John Coleman has the club punching above their weight and is clearly idolised at the Wham Stadium.
A large flag bearing his face reads ‘football genius’ while a small but rowdy group of fans behind one of the Accrington goals chanted his name long after the game had finished, as the Stanley boss conducted his post-match interview.
They are something of a nemesis to Ipswich but deserve great credit for everything they do.
Sam Morsy will be disappointed not to have earned a return to the final Egypt squad for games next week, having made the provisional squad for the first time since 2018.
But the fact the Ipswich skipper missed the cut for the matches against Libya means he will be available when Shrewsbury come to Town next weekend.
Sure, the midfielder wasn’t the same force during Saturday’s loss as he was in the thumping of Doncaster, but Ipswich need him available to play right now.
It’s been another good weekend for the Ipswich players out on loan.
It was particularly good for Brett McGavin, who scored his second late goal for King’s Lynn as the Norfolk side won 3-2 away at Maidenhead to move up the National League table. He previously secured a 3-3 draw at Eastleigh with a thumping free-kick.
It’s clear McGavin’s Ipswich career is coming to an end, with his contract up in the summer and Paul Cook making it clear he is not in his plans. But the way things are going on loan, the youngster appears to be staking a claim for a solid move next summer.
Elsewhere, Corrie Ndaba won the battle of the Ipswich loanees as his Salford side beat a Colchester team, in which Armando Dobra made his first start, 2-0 in Essex.
Tyreece Simpson was part of a Swindon side which beat Bristol Rovers 3-1 this weekend.
It’s safe to say Paul Hurst’s move to Ipswich Town in 2018 didn’t work out.
Sacked after 15 games, both Ipswich and Hurst’s fortunes have been on a downward spiral ever since, with Town now 19th in League One and Hurst managing in the National League with Grimsby.
An equally disastrous spell with Scunthorpe followed Hurst’s tenure at Portman Road before he and assistant Chris Doig suffered relegation from the EFL last season with the Mariners.
Grimsby stuck by the pair, though, and things are looking up. Hurst’s side smashed Dover 6-0 on Saturday, taking the Blundell Park side to the top of the National League and looking in decent shape to challenge for a return to League Two at the first attempt.
He said: “We’re only just into October, it’s nice that we’ve made a good start, but I’m keen to try to keep improving, certainly keep our feet on the ground and not get too high, same as we didn’t get too low after the other night (3-1 loss at Bromley).”
Where to start with the Ipswich Town losers this weekend?
Clearly this was another miserable afternoon for Town, one in which all those involved are worthy of questioning.
Were the right decisions taken by Paul Cook and his coaching team during the course of the game? Did the players approach this match with the correct attitude? Is this side built for League One’s more physical games?
You can maybe question whether goalkeeper Vaclav Hladky could have done better with Harry Pell’s winner, a goal for which you could ask whether Janoi Donacien and Matt Penney could have done better at the different closing down jobs required of them.
It’s fair to wonder whether defenders George Edmundson and Cameron Burgess did enough to repel the physical threat of an Accrington frontline they appeared to have the tools to deal with.
You can ask whether the midfield of Sam Morsy and Lee Evans, so dominant on Tuesday, did enough to get on top of this game and supply the creative players in front of them. Then you can wonder whether Wes Burns, Bersant Celina, Scott Fraser and even Macauley Bonne could have done more on the occasions they did get the ball.
All fair questions, all with nuanced answers.
But the ultimate answer is that Ipswich Town weren’t good enough from front to back.
Ipswich started this season with title aspirations.
Previous campaigns in League One have begun with the Blues’ hierarchy trying to play down promotion chances, even if the players of seasons past were more bullish about the aims.
But, make no mistake, the title, or automatic promotion at least, was the aim this time around. Ownership, management and playing staff all seemed united in that belief.
It’s an aim getting tougher by the week.
The gap to the top two of Sunderland and Wigan is already 12 points, giving Ipswich a mountain to climb to catch them. On average, the League One title winner has lifted the trophy with 95 points over the last 10 complete seasons, with the side in second promoted on 90.
Town need to average around 2.3 points a game in order to do that. Quite a leap for a side with only 10 from their first 10 matches. Out of reach? Quite possibly.
The play-offs is a little more managable, with 73 needed to secure sixth over the last decade, meaning Town need to average 1.75 a match from here on out to reach that mark.
That all adds up to a little over 10 points needed from every block of six games between now and the end of the campaign.
Just to be clear from the off, this may appear in the ‘losers’ section of this article but it’s by no means meant to describe the Ipswich Town fans as such.
They’re winners, even if their team wasn’t. Again.
An away following of 846 is excellent, considering the five-hour drive, prospect of miserable weather and a potential lack of fuel to get them there.
In total, 3,104 Ipswich fans have witnessed Town’s three defeats at the Wham Stadium since the first visit in January of 2019. Many will have spent hundreds of pounds in order to attend all three.
They are undeservedly on the wrong end of this deal and deserve better.
Things may be going well for Paul Hurst at long last but, for the man he replaced at Portman Road, things couldn’t be going much worse.
Mick McCarthy made a dream start to life at Cardiff last season, firing the Bluebirds up the Championship table and flirting with the play-offs after taking over at a difficult time for the club in January.
Now, though, McCarthy’s side have lost their last five games, as well as seven of their last eight, and are dropping down the table like a stone.
Saturday’s 1-0 loss to Reading saw them perform much better than in the 4-0 home defeat by West Brom on Tuesday night, but the questions regarding his future have already begun.
"That decision (about my future) is not up to me,” he said on Saturday. “I just keep coming in and trying to get the best out of the players and the best out of myself.
"Me and TC (Terry Connor, assistant) will try our best to continue to do that.
"I can only control what I do on the football pitch and what the team does.”