Some tiny chinks of light to come from Ipswich Town’s draw with Rotherham
- Credit: Picture: Steve Waller
Ipswich Town’s draw with Rotherham on Saturday was arguably the lowest point of their season to date. With that in mind, Chris Brammer tries to find some chinks of light amidst the gloom.
There’s not much to cheer about at Portman Road right now.
On Saturday, the Blues became the first team in the Championship this season to concede home points to rock-bottom Rotherham.
Prior to the game, the Millers had played seven and lost seven, conceding 23 goals and scoring, on average, less than one a game.
After Freddie Sears’ third-minute opener, the omens seemed good for Ipswich.
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Why? Because Town were playing the basement side at home, and had been set up to attack or, more accurately not be quite as defensive as usual.
Rotherham would have to come out and attack and that would leave spaces at the back. Of course it didn’t quite play out like that but, despite the final scoreline, there were small positives to take from the game.
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McCarthy deserves credit for his team selection
The line-up was bold, with David McGoldrick, Teddy Bishop, Tom Lawrence, Sears and Grant Ward all starting, only Cole Skuse offered any real defensive solidity in front of the back four.
What followed was unfortunate and Ipswich suffered a lack of concentration at a vital time.
The Blues had scored their first goal this season inside the opening 10-minute mark and, along with the crowd, were keen to build on that.
What came instead was Danny Ward’s equaliser and a lapse in concentration that, whatever your view on McCarthy, was something the Town boss could not legislate for.
The hosts responded well after Rotherham’s equaliser
It took a few minutes, however they did grow in confidence again and began trying to attack.
The impressive Myles Kenlock’s back-post header forced Lee Camp into a good save down to his right, while Teddy Bishop fired wide after some good skill got him into the box.
Sears, meanwhile, was looking a threat as a lone striker and David McGoldrick also looked on-song, although he was dropping far too deep at times to get on the ball, allowing Rotherham to regroup.
Unfortunately, chances were still at a premium and despite being neat and tidy, the approach play was too slow and without an end-product.
The performances of McGoldrick, Sears, Kenlock and Lawrence
McGoldrick showed no signs of tiredness after almost two months on the sidelines and the Blues’ best attacks revolved around him.
Sears, though Town fans already know this, is best used as a striker and he was lively in the first period – his control and vision excellent, his running off the ball intelligent.
Kenlock played without fear at left-back and looked good at both ends of the pitch, while Lawrence demanded possesion and never gave the Millers’ a moment’s peace
However, on the hour and with Town deflated after Rotherham went ahead, on came Leon Best for Grant Ward, Sears moving out to the left.
From this point,Sears’ impact faded although he ran his blood to water. Kenlock, along with McGoldrick, was Town’s best player, but no doubt he will be dropped – just like right-back Josh Emmanuel was when Adam Webster returned to fitness recently – once Jonas Knudsen has recovered from his back injury.
Knudsen is solid at left-back and has every right to get back in the team, but it’s galling to see such academy talent going to waste.
Lawrence was busy, but given his eagerness to make something happen, on more than one occasion he ran down blind alleys.
Jonny Williams, Leon Best, Kevin Bru, Conor Grant and Luke Varney all on the bench
Williams made an impact off the bench, wanting to get involved all the time, while Best played his part in McGoldrick’s late equaliser, preventing Richard Wood from preperly heading the ball clear.
Williams’ fitness, just like McGoldrick’s, is key but even if he does impress, long-term, that could of course play into the hands of rivals who could well come sniffing round the Crystal Palace loanee at the end of the season, who has indicated that he may have to leave Selhurst Park permanently to further his career.