Winners and losers: Tough breaks, silencing boos and the double-figure club
- Credit: Steve Waller
Ipswich Town drew 2-2 with AFC Wimbledon on Saturday. Andy Warren picks out his winners and losers from the weekend.
Feed the Pig
Speaking ahead of this game, Wimbledon assistant Rob Tuvey said he hoped striker Joe Pigott would get a good reception from the 600 traveling fans at Portman Road.
The striker left Plough Lane in the summer in search of pastures new, eventually signing for Town after issuing a heartfelt letter to Wimbledon supporters, stressing just how tough his decision was.
That letter wasn’t enough to provide from the boos which rang out to greet his every touch during the first half on Saturday. It must be said, the traveling fans’ efforts became more and more lacklustre as the game went on.
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Pigott silenced them with a good penalty to put Ipswich ahead, with muted celebrations as he notched his second goal of the week, after being awarded the Blues’ strike at Burton by the dubious goals panel.
By his own admission his start to life in an Ipswich shirt has been ‘slow’, but two goals in four matches isn’t a bad return.
Left is best
It’s safe to say, from the early signs at least, that Ipswich Town have upgraded their left-back options.
Gone are Stephen Ward (released, now at Walsall) and Myles Kenlock (still at Ipswich but in the wilderness). In are Hayden Coulson and Matt Penney.
Penney started the first three league games, growing into his role and scoring at Cheltenham, while Coulson has started the last two.
The latter was given a real standing ovation as he left the pitch in the final minutes this weekend, following an extremely promising display packed with good defensive moments and attacking intent as he moved up and down the left flank.
Ipswich may not be functioning hugely well as a team right now but we’ve seen some good individual displays. This was one of those.
Feel the Burns
This was the game in which Wes Burns announced himself as an Ipswich player.
He won a (dubious) penalty for Pigott to convert and then produced a superb finish to double the Ipswich lead which, for a few minutes, looked to be setting his side on their way to victory.
We know already that Burns is at his best when he can open his legs and run, which he did for both goals, rather than playing intricate football in the middle of the pitch. That's not his game so, if he's going to play, the Blues need to play to his strengths.
Rush goalie fans
Wimbledon seemed to take ‘playing out from the back’ to a new level on a number of occasions on Saturday.
When Dons centre backs had the ball, goalkeeper Nik Tzanev occasionally took the unusual step of peeling away and sprinting to the outer edges of his box to receive the ball. It was almost like a glitch in a computer game.
Ipswich didn’t learn their lesson with centre-back Ben Heneghan.
He headed wide from a corner just before half-time after getting free of his man before then evading Lee Evans to head home his side’s first goal.
He got free again a few minutes later, with his effort blocked by Pigott, before finding space yet again in stoppage time before Jack Rudoni finished after Vaclav Hladky’s spill.
He enjoyed his afternoon at Portman Road and Ipswich didn’t find a way to stop him, much to their cost.
The loan ranger
It was great to see Tyreece Simpson get off the mark in senior football this weekend, netting Swindon’s winner as the Robins beat Mansfield at the County Ground.
It came from a Jonny Williams cross, too.
Swindon have new owners and have had to build a new squad almost from scratch following financial issues suffered on former owner Lee Power. They’ve started well, with 10 points from their five matches.
Between the sticks
Vaclav Hladky’s start to life at Ipswich Town has been far from simple.
Brought in as the undisputed No.1 goalkeeper, the Czech shone in pre-season against Crystal Palace but has found competitive football a little more tricky, conceding 10 goals in five games and having question marks over his role in a number of them, as well as his kicking and dealing with crosses.
Sadly, that was the case again this weekend, with Hladky pushing Heneghan’s header back into danger, where Jack Rudoni thumped home the equaliser.
He looked nervy on a number of occasions during this latest game, without being tested too often, but could certainly have done better when the big moment rolled around in stoppage time.
With less than 48 hours left of the transfer window, it's looking like there could be new face in the goalkeeping department before business is done. Brighton's Christian Walton is a top target.
Like Hladky, midfield duo Lee Evans and Rekeem Harper have been ever-presents in the league this season.
And again, like the Ipswich goalkeeper, the duo may just face some added competition before the window closes, with discussions beginning regarding a move for Middlesbrough's Sam Morsy.
At their best, we’ve seen Evans and Harper purr in the Ipswich engine room, moving the ball around the field and bringing others into the game. At the other end of the scale, though, they have sometimes looked a little lightweight and struggled to link defence to attack. Those scales have tipped more towards the latter scenario of late.
Tom Carroll is waiting in the wings but maybe, just maybe, that trio may have further company by 11pm tomorrow.
The double-figure club
Only one side in the top four divisions of English football have conceded more goals than Ipswich Town.
Town have shipped 10 in their five league games, the same number as bitter rivals Norwich have managed to concede in their three Premier League games.
But Reading have let 13 in five matches, with four coming in Saturday’s 4-0 defeat away at Huddersfield.
Town are one of seven EFL clubs not to have won a game in the league this season, with the Blues and Sutton United the only two of those to have also lost in the first round of the Carabao Cup.
Flip the bird
Mark Ashton has your number, pigeons of Suffolk.
The Town CEO was quick to publicly condemn the pigeon and seagull community for the mess they continue to make on the Portman Road seats, renting a hawk to scare them away during the off-season.
And now a fake hawk on the end of a bendy pole (known as a ‘bird deterrent’) has been installed on the roof of the Cobbold Stand. It’s quite distracting but it’s doing its job.
Town may not be winning on the pitch, but they are winning the battle of the skies off it.