North Stander: Youngsters bring a breath of fresh air after it had all become so stale and turgid

Town players celebrate with Alan Judge after he had given them a first half lead.

Town players celebrate with Alan Judge after he had given them a first half lead. - Credit: Picture: Steve Waller www.ste

Well, that’s better. A much-needed introduction of youth, enthusiasm, and quality, and we finally see an enterprising and entertaining performance.

Loanees Luke Matheson and Troy Parrott really are a breath of fresh air for a team which had become so stale and turgid. They can both play as well, which helps!

Town manager Paul Lambert speaks with Troy Parrott, after substituting him, with Town assistant mana

Town manager Paul Lambert speaks with Troy Parrott, after substituting him, with Town assistant manager Stuart Taylor looking on. - Credit: Picture: Steve Waller www.ste

As teenagers, they have their whole football careers ahead of them, and they play with such refreshing youthful enthusiasm. They haven’t been affected by the fear factor like some older professional footballers.

Matheson’s bubbly posts on social media will certainly make him a fan favourite, and overcome the little local difficulty of his allegiance to a team which plays in yellow and green!

STU WATSON: Five observations from the Blackpool win

We didn’t see too much of another loanee, Josh Harrop, but in his short time on the pitch he showed he can make a big contribution too.

As well as the new faces, there were two other key factors which helped us to such a convincing - dare I say comfortable? - win over Blackpool.

Myles Kenlock battles for the ball.

Myles Kenlock battles for the ball. - Credit: Photo: Steve Waller www.stephenwaller.com

The first is the introduction of Myles Kenlock at left-back, to replace the labouring veteran Stephen Ward.
In the past, I have said on a number of occasions that I don’t think Kenlock is good enough. Well, now he has the chance to prove me wrong.

His performances in the last two games have been excellent. If he can maintain this level, then I will be delighted to admit I was mistaken. Let’s see if he can do it.

Andre Dozzell.

Andre Dozzell. - Credit: Picture: Steve Waller www.ste

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The other change was playing Andre Dozzell further forward, and Flynn Downes in the more defensive “sitting role.” It worked a treat.

Dozzell was able to use his skills in a more attacking sense, and Downes employed his physical style to protect the centre-halves. That looks his natural position, doing the job which Cole Skuse did for many seasons.

Not glamorous, but so essential.

Alan Judge celebrates after scoring his first half goal to give Town a 1-0 lead.

Alan Judge celebrates after scoring his first half goal to give Ipswich Town a rare half-time lead. Photo: Steve Waller - Credit: Photo: Steve Wallerwww.stephenwaller.com

That change, in turn, seemed to bring out the best in Alan Judge, who had one of his most effective games in an Ipswich shirt. Nice goal, too, although I don’t think the Blackpool keeper will want to watch the replays too many times.

So, very pleasing. A lead at half-time, for goodness sake, and a feeling throughout the second half that we were comfortable. It’s been a while since we’ve been able to say that!

PAUL LAMBERT: 'Hopefully a turning point'

Is it a turning point in our season? Now, let’s not get carried away. It was a good win against very ordinary opposition, and it was great to see the new arrivals make such good starts to their time with Town.

If we can build on it, then that would be brilliant. Having upped the standard once, let’s do it consistently. One swallow doesn’t make a summer, and all that.

The first big test will come at Peterborough - if the Beast from the East Part Two allows. If we can get a result there, then belief really will start to grow.

Because the fact is, despite all the understandable negativity this season, a decent second half of the season will see us very much involved in the race for the play-offs. Yes, that’s how dire this division is. We’ve been so poor so often, but we still have a chance.

So, our under-fire manager deserves some credit. Some good loan signings, the successful re-introduction of a player, and an astute tactical change. Well done, Mr. Lambert.

Luke Woolfenden is congratulated by Myles Kenlock after he had scored Towns second.

Luke Woolfenden is congratulated by Myles Kenlock after he had scored Towns second. - Credit: Picture: Steve Waller www.ste

But, of course, we couldn’t possibly get through a whole Ipswich game, and post-match press conference, without a note of tetchiness, could we?

It came when Lambert was, quite reasonably, asked how Luke Chambers reacted to being dropped in favour of Luke Matheson.

Perfectly valid question. Chambers is, after all, club captain. Is it the beginning of the end for the veteran?

Luke Chambers watching the game.

This was only the fourth time that Luke Chambers has started a league game on the bench during his eight-and-a-half years at Ipswich Town. Photo: Steve Waller - Credit: Photo: Steve Wallerwww.stephenwaller.com

The answer from Lambert came in the form of a lecture, saying he was not prepared to answer any questions which didn’t relate directly to the game.

I know he’s been on the end of a lot of criticism - pretty much all of it richly deserved after our performances this season - but was a reaction like that really necessary?

For me, it brings to mind the old Frank and Nancy Sinatra song: “And then I go and spoil it all by saying something stupid.”

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