New kid on the block and old stagers shine in friendly
It was their chance to serve a timely reminder.
Not just to the watching Ipswich manager Paul Jewell, but also the diehard spectators who took their place on a windswept Playford Road training ground for yesterday’s friendly against Watford.
For Mark Kennedy and Ivar Ingimarsson, who came up against former Colchester United striker Chris Iwelumo, the match offered the chance for some needed competitive action as they look to break back into Jewell’s first team.
New lad Reece Wabara, in his first start, and 15-year-old Byron Lawrence made for interesting sub-plots while fringe players Luke Hyam, Tommy Smith and Ronan Murray perhaps had one eye on securing a loan move elsewhere.
For the record, Murray’s 78th minute equaliser earned the Blues a 1-1 draw after Prince Buaben has given the Hornets the lead in what proved to be a competitive encounter.
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But the score was very much secondary. Every man in blue yesterday had a very different reason to try and impress even if a blustery afternoon against a Watford second string in front of a few hundred people is not always the right stage.
Wabara showed his obvious potential while any watching scouts would surely have been impressed with Murray’s sharpness and willingness to shoot on sight. Any lower league side looking for some raw firepower could do a lot worse than recruit the 20-year-old, based on this 90 minutes.
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Despite the surroundings, Ingimarsson and Kennedy were never going to be phased and oozed class throughout – given Jewell a nice problem when he comes to picking his squad for next weekend’s trip to Cardiff.
As for the others, there were glimpses of their undoubted talent without a performance that really screamed at the Town boss.
Most, like Murray, would do a great job on loan which, as Jewell states, could benefit two clubs and a player.
And keep an eye on young Lawrence. Sleight of frame, but also foot, the 15-year-old – who first came to everyone’s attention when Jewell put him on the bench for the Carling Cup match against Northampton Town – again showed his potential with an impressive second half performance.
Lee-Barrett: Comfortable on the ball, made some decent saves but possible could have done better with the goal
Wabara: Still learning about the club, but showed his obvious potential with good pace and willingness to get forward
Ingimarsson: Walk in the park for the Iceman, looked comfortable and fit to add to Jewell’s options
Smith: Improved performance after high-profile nightmares. Still a little casual at times
Whight: Lovely left foot and obvious why Jewell rates him. But won’t get past Aaron Cresswell as things stand
Ainsley: Played right midfield and should have scored at least twice. Encouraging display
Healy: Nice moments but will struggle to break into the first team. Would be a class act on loan
Kennedy: Kept it simple, but was hugely effective. Rarely lost the ball and vocal presence for younger team mates
O’Connor: Game passed him by a little, before he was replaced by Lawrence at half-time
Ellington: Continued to impress although shooting a little wayward. Different player than one from pre-season
Murray: Stand-out performer, nice and sharp while went close on a number of occasions before getting his deserved goal
Hyam: Brought on at half-time, showed in patches although his tackling leaved a little to be desired
Lawrence: Only got 45 minutes but enough time to display his undoubted talent and precocious left foot
Lavery: Contract runs out at the end of this month and while big and muscular, was outshone by Murray