Fuller Flavour: It baffles me why our defence is so bad

Ipswich concede a late equaliser at Cambridge.

Ipswich concede a late equaliser at Cambridge. - Credit: Pagepix Ltd

Ipswich Town fan Karl Fuller shares his thoughts on the Blues after the 2-2 draw at Cambridge United and ahead of tomorrow's trip to Portsmouth.

I do not think that I can recall a time where it was so frustrating being a Town fan than it is at present.

How a two-minute change in a game can alter the mood for us all and in particular, the flavour of writing this column.

I had hoped that the groundhog days of Mick McCarthy and Paul Lambert would be well and truly behind me this season. But they just keep returning.

A positive week again off the pitch (more to come on that) saw us going into the Cambridge game feeling like our club was back with more reason and at 2-0 up, all was looking rosy.

And then cue the madness that just won’t leave us alone. Yet again, we conceded within five minutes of scoring.

Our mental capacity to manage the game at this point is more fragile than a parcel delivery containing glass goods being lobbed over the garden gate. In fact, I’d wager a bet on the parcel having more chance of surviving at times.

Ipswich concede a late equaliser at Cambridge.

Ipswich concede a late equaliser at Cambridge. - Credit: Pagepix Ltd

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It was no surprise that Cambridge should equalise. A draw snatched from the jaws of victory again as not for the first time this season, we threw away a two-goal lead.

It has now been 28 games since we forced back-to-back wins and our inability to do so is costing us. We have thrown away something like 15 points from winning positions and with our squad that is simply not good enough.

It baffles me why our defence is as bad as it is. It was the one area last season that we could usually rely on. Ok, there were a few games postponed in December because of the COVID pandemic, but we had to wait until January before we had conceded as many as we have so far this term.

I often felt that James Wilson was a good, steadying influence at the heart of our defence. He won the Player of the Year last term and we really could do with him at the back at present. He is earning good praise at Plymouth I hear.

But he’s gone and if Paul Cook can tinker with our midfield positions, then there is no reason as to why he cannot shake things up at the back to try and find a combination that will work.

It is also a concern as to how we continue to be bullied in away games. I want Cook to turn that around but his record continues to get worse with us win percentage wise and he needs to do something quick to turn that side of our game around.

Starting at Portsmouth tomorrow night, we have some sterner tests on the horizon. With our goal-power, it is all frustrating that we cannot churn out more wins.

The appointment of Peter Reid will help. We have been crying out for more experience in the backroom staff.

I am hoping that he will identify the need for Cook to employ an experienced assistant to bridge the gap between himself and his support staff in the infancy stages of their coaching careers.

Town fans at Cambridge.

Town fans at Cambridge. - Credit: Pagepix Ltd

As for the off-field ventures of last week, Cook meeting with fan Derek who has supported Town for more than 50 years but unable to attend games recently due to illness was a lovely gesture.

It was great to listen to Derek telling Paul of his stories as an Ipswich fan. Then the announcement of the appointments of Natasha Thomas, Conor Chaplin and the legend that is Matt Holland to our Community Trust board is a giant step in the right direction into getting the club back out in the community. That is something else we wanted to see improve.

So, it is Oldham Athletic in the FA Cup and I have to go back to April, 1997 to when I last saw us play the Latics, a 4-0 league win for Town at Portman Road.

The 50th, 100th and 150th goals I saw us score all came against Oldham – there’s a fact that I never thought I would be recalling!

My final words this week are to offer my condolences to striker Joe Pigott who sadly lost his father over the weekend. My deepest sympathies go to you and your family, Joe.

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