Stu says: Five observations following Ipswich Town's 2-1 loss at Cheltenham

Kyle Edwards disappointed after losing at Cheltenham Town.

Kyle Edwards disappointed after losing at Cheltenham Town. - Credit: Pagepix Ltd

Ipswich Town's poor start to the season continued with a 2-1 defeat at newly-promoted Cheltenham Town last night. STUART WATSON gives his thoughts.

Town players after losing at Cheltenham Town.

Town players after losing at Cheltenham Town. - Credit: Pagepix Ltd

TEST OF PATIENCE

We'll get onto the nuts and bolts of this game in a moment. But the bottom line is, Ipswich Town lost again.

There's no dressing it up. It's been a poor start to the season. 

A stoppage-time equaliser to salvage a home draw against Morecambe - a club playing at third-tier level for the first time ever.

A Carabao Cup exit to Newport County - a League Two side who made 11 changes at Portman Road.

A 2-1 defeat at Burton Albion - a team who finished 16th last season.

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And now a 2-1 loss at Cheltenham - another of the newly-promoted outfits.

Ipswich Manager Paul Cook at Cheltenham Town.

Ipswich Manager Paul Cook at Cheltenham Town. - Credit: Pagepix Ltd

Paul Cook has called for 'sanity to prevail'. He's right.

It is possible to recognise the positives in the performances (of which there have been plenty) and, at the same time, still be bitterly disappointed and frustrated by the results.  

It is possible to recognise this is a far more entertaining team to watch, to trust in the process and, at the same, highlight areas that need to improve. 

Yes, Ipswich Town have injuries. Yes, they are bedding in a lot of new players.

But, even taking all that into account, it's still not unreasonable to think they should have found a way to win at least one game by now.

With respect to the teams faced, there are undoubtedly tougher tests ahead . 

And the reality is that every dropped point now is one that has to be made up further down the line if the Blues are serious about being automatic promotion contenders.

Macauley Bonne muffs a great chance at Cheltenham Town.

Macauley Bonne muffs a great chance at Cheltenham Town. - Credit: Pagepix Ltd

MACCA'S MISS

If Scott Fraser converts his penalty at Burton, the Blues probably go on and win that game. But he didn't and Town managed to lose from a position of control.

It was the same story last night.

Matt Penney's swerving finish, at the end of a fine move, had given Town a ninth minute lead.

A second goal, moments later, would have crushed home spirits. Sadly, Macauley Bonne produced an extraordinary miss.

The Blues front man had done the hard work, racing onto Joe Pigott's flick-on, lifting the ball over the stranded goalkeeper and leaving himself with an open goal to aim at as the ball dropped out the sky.

What happened next was hard to fathom. Instead of nodding in from six-yards out, he waited for the volley. A complete mis-kick from three yards out followed. His second attempt, from virtually on the line, was then scrambled around the post by the recovering Owen Evans.

Marlon Harewood (v Wimbledon, 1999) now has serious competition for Town's worst ever miss.

It's a moment that will undoubtedly haunt the boyhood Blues fan for some time.

To Bonne's credit, he didn't go hiding. Instead, the QPR loanee was a constant threat running off the last shoulder of the defence.

It also has to be said that Bonne lost aerial duels in his own box prior to both of Cheltenham's goals.

MAGIC MAN

How on earth have Ipswich Town managed to get Kyle Edwards, on a three-year deal, in League One? 

Fresh from his exciting cameo display at Burton, the 23-year-old winger produced one of the best halves of football I've seen from a Blues players in many years.

Playing tucked in off the left side, the former West Brom man produced moments of brilliance that even had the home fans cooing. It was like he had glue on his boots. Some of the first touches and fancy footwork were mesmerising. He looks in complete control of every positive movement. 

Kyle Edwards rides a challenge at Cheltenham Town.

Kyle Edwards has produced three exciting displays since joining on a free transfer. - Credit: Pagepix Ltd

It was his gliding run across the edge of the box that led to Town taking the lead.

You could smell the fear in the Cheltenham defence every time he got the ball. It wasn't long before they simply started trying to tug and kick him.

Frustratingly, Ipswich stopped getting the ball to him as much after the restart.

This guy has star quality. I can't wait to hear one of football's most beautiful sounds, that clatter of seats as fans stand in expectation, when he gets the ball in a dangerous position against MK Dons on Saturday.

Home players celebrate after scoring the winning goal at Cheltenham Town.

Home players celebrate after scoring the winning goal at Cheltenham Town. - Credit: Pagepix Ltd

THROWING IT AWAY

Town took their foot off the gas after the restart.

They looked in full control of the match, but didn't really go pushing for a killer second. That proved costly.

Knowing about the danger Cheltenham pose from Ben Tozer's famed long throws is one thing. Dealing with it is another.

He flings the ball into the box at a low trajectory and with speed. It's as good as a corner.

The Robins probably should have scored from one in the second minute when Callum Wright volleyed over at the far post.

It led to their equaliser in the 62nd minute. Town could only half clear and, from the subsequent cross, Wright expertly headed into the top corner past a flailing Vaclav Hladky. 

All of a sudden, for the first time in the game, the Blues looked ragged. 

Cheltenham appeared the more likely to win it now - and they duly did, from another Tozer toss. This time Will Boyle scrambled home. 

Cameron Burgess on his debut at Cheltenham Town.

Cameron Burgess on his debut at Cheltenham Town. - Credit: Pagepix Ltd

BURGESS LOOKS THE BUSINESS

Cameron Burgess had a really impressive debut.

Having only completed his move from Accrington Stanley on Sunday, the Scot went straight into the heart of the defence.

He headed countless balls away, made some vital interceptions and produced some clever little nudges in the moments when winning the ball cleanly wasn't possible.

His presence seemed to bring the best out of Luke Woolfenden too, the latter having a far more assured game.

Elsewhere, Blues skipper Lee Evans was booked in the 27th minute and then walked the tightrope with several fouls afterwards.

You wondered whether that would open the door for Tom Carroll to step off the bench for his debut sooner rather than later.

Instead, Cook waited and waited before making substitutions. 

His first change didn't come until the 77th minute. Surprisingly, the first man he called upon was Kayden Jackson, a player who started the campaign training with the Under-23s.

His next two substitutions were in the 88th and 89th minute. Louie Barry replaced Bonne, with Carroll eventually coming on for Rekeem Harper. Making those two alterations so late seemed a bit pointless.

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