Stu says: Five observations following Ipswich Town's 2-1 home win against Burton Albion
- Credit: Picture: Steve Waller www.stephenwaller.com
WHAT A START
Town came flying out of the traps in this game. Players flew into tackles and the ball was moved quickly. It was high tempo football that instantly got the crowd onside.
With less than four minutes on the clock, the deadlock was broken in route one fashion. A long ball out the back, Oli Hawkins flicked on with his head, Kayden Jackson flicked on with his foot and Keanan Bennetts charged through to find the bottom corner with an accurate one-on-one finish.
For the first time since the end of October, and a 1-0 win against Crewe, the Blues had scored the opening goal in a game.
Town tails were up. Burton looked at sixes and sevens.
Jackson saw a fierce effort beaten away at the near post. That chance came after Andre Dozzell’s sharp give and go.
Then the livewire Bennetts won the ball wide right, darted inside, produced a couple of stepovers and whipped a shot just past the post with the keeper rooted to the spot.
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With 10 minutes on the clock, you sensed this could be a fun evening against the division’s basement boys. Town ended up making hard work of the win though.
MARK’S MIXED EVENING
Mark McGuinness has all the tools to go a very long way in the game.
He speaks with real maturity, produces monster defensive headers, long-legged tackles and is capable of some fancy footwork on the ball.
The Arsenal loanee is learning on the job though.
It was his ambitious long diagonal pass which fell well short prior to the equaliser. Burton counter-attacked the space in behind advanced right-back Luke Chambers at speed, Colin Daniel supplied the cut-back and Joe Powell arrived to score on the run.
Then, after Town had re-taken the lead, McGuinness was guilty of being too zealous in trying to win a header just over the halfway line after a deep free-kick had been cleared. Niall Ennis’ scampered away down the right, his cross crept over Luke Chambers and Lucas Akins stabbed over from six-yards out.
No doubt about it, that was a major 89th minute let off.
UNABLE TO PICK THE LOCK
Burton may be bottom, but they came into this match on a four-game unbeaten run.
Playing an organised and deep 4-1-4-1 system, their game plan was defend the 18-yard box and strike on the counter when possible.
And the opening 10 minutes aside, Ipswich didn’t really have an answer.
The passing and movement was too slow and telegraphed again. On several occasions, the ball ended up being worked all the way back to keeper David Cornell to noises of frustration from the crowd.
Bennetts, just starting to find his groove in a Town shirt, was forced off at the break with a groin problem.
Oli Hawkins saw a shot deflected wide in a crowded box, then Luke Chambers went down dramatically looking for a penalty at the subsequent corner.
Alan Judge produced a few hopeful long-range efforts.
And on the odd occasion the Blues did truly penetrate, the man on the end of the move wasn’t clinical enough.
Huws fired too close to the keeper following Jackson’s cut-back from the right, while Stephen Ward did the same after good work by Armando Dobra on the opposite side.
It wasn’t exactly like Ipswich were banging the door down.
When Emyr Huws raised the roof with his clincher against Newcastle United at Portman Road back on Easter Monday 2017, no-one would have predicted it would be three-and-a-half years before he got his next league goal for the club.
Or that it would come in League One. In front of an empty North Stand.
It was a scrappy, scrambled finish – a stooping header forced over the line after his initial stabbed effort was saved – but he won’t care one bit.
Boy will that feel good for the Welshman.
Following two years of injury hell, the Covid-19 curtailment of last season robbed him of yet more of his football career. And it’s been a frustrating stop-start season for him so far.
After a rusty start to this match, he grew in confidence. For the first time in a long time we saw some of that box-to-box midfield thrust that everyone initially fell in love with.
Let’s hope there’s more to come.
For a long time, many have pondered whether Kayden Jackson’s pace and pressing would make him well-suited to a wide role in a front three.
He’s always said he thinks he could play that position. Finally, Lambert decided to give it a look.
The front man got into some dangerous positions during the early stages. It’s definitely an experiment that could be further explored.
Then, with 78 minutes on the clock, Lambert switched to 4-4-2. Two minutes later, Town had the lead.
Jackson wasn’t directly involved, but he was in the box. In fact, Town had five men in the box when the cross came in.
For a team that is supposedly ‘useless’ with two up top (Lambert’s words), the Blues have looked at their most threatening when switching to that system of late.