Stu says: Six observations following Morecambe draw
- Credit: Pagepix Ltd
Ipswich Town drew 1-1 at Morecambe yesterday afternoon. STUART WATSON reflects on the action.
NOT CLINICAL ENOUGH
Just like in the midweek 0-0 home draw with Cheltenham, Town utterly bossed the first half but spurned a plethora of big chances.
If one goes in, the floodgates would probably have opened. But it didn't.
Macauley Bonne headed two golden opportunities wide of the near post from a combined total of about nine yards out in the space of four minutes. He's now got just one goal in his last 20 games.
The QPR loanee let his frustrations show in the second half when screaming at the linesman after conceding a foul. When subbed, he left the field with a prolonged shake of the head.
James Norwood fired off target from a very good position early on. He's now gone nine games without a goal.
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Sone Aluko saw a couple of chances in the box blocked by defenders when he arguably should have been more clinical. He's not scored since October.
The front three were all changed in the 69th minute - Bersant Celina, Conor Chaplin and Kayden Jackson replacing Norwood, Bonne and Aluko.
Ipswich increasingly huffed and puffed against opposition who, with something to defend, sat deep and narrow to frustrate. A horrible, bobbly playing surface didn't help either.
Even so, there were still late chances to win this.
Celina's trickery looked the most likely route to goal. Twice he tested the keeper after making space for himself.
And after Wes Burns eventually found the bottom corner inside a crowded box in the 87th minute, Janoi Donacien saw a close-range effort hit the keeper (who knew little about it).
Ipswich finished the game having had 72% possession and 22 shots on goal. Someone will be on the end of a heavy beating soon. That's little consolation right now though.
NO NEW RECORD
Like against Cheltenham, a high intensity first half was followed by a sloppy and fatigued start to the second.
When Cole Stockton lifted a shot over from the edge of the box you could feel the mood inside the Mazuma Stadium start to shift. For the first time in the afternoon, the home fans were loudest.
There was a moment when Aluko let a Christian Walton throw out from the back slip under his foot and out of play. Sensing the increasingly frustrated body language of their players, Kieran McKenna and Martyn Pert wheeled their arms in encouragement.
Morecambe may have scored from their first (and ultimately only) shot on target of the game, but you couldn't say it was a bolt from the blue.
Dominic Thompson's initial clearance was poor and then George Edmundson should have just got rid. Morecambe's two half-time subs duly combined as Adam Phillips crossed for Aaron Wildig to head home.
For the first time in 593 minutes, the Blues had conceded. The chance to record a club record sixth successive clean sheet had gone.
Goals from set-pieces can drag you through frustrating days like these.
Town's dead ball deliveries and movement in the box, sadly, wasn't anywhere near good enough. That's been the case for a while.
The Blues had 12 corners in this game but never looked like scoring from one.
Thompson's deliveries were generally too high and loopy. Chaplin took over in the second half but repeatedly failed to beat the first man.
You have to go back to the 1-1 draw at Wigan for the last time Town scored from a set-piece.
WES HITS 10
Wes Burns did really well to turn and squeeze his shot inside the bottom corner after initially being crowded out in the box.
The Welshman has now scored an impressive 10 goals this season, six of them coming from a right wing-back role under Kieran Mckenna.
It has to be said that his crossing has been rather hit and miss in recent weeks though. On several occasions his final delivery from a good position has lacked finesse.
A self-admitted 'hit it into the box as hard as possible' approach isn't bringing the same rewards as earlier in the campaign.
Brentford loanee Thompson looks like a left-back playing at left wing-back. He can play some sharp forward passes, but beating a man and getting to the byline is not his game.
There was a moment in the second half where he gave the ball away and made little attempt to get back. For the second game in a row the 21-year-old was clearly running on fumes.
Replacing him, even before the triple sub, wasn't really an option though as McKenna opted not to name either Kane Vincent-Young or Matt Penney on the bench.
Town's other January addition, Tyreeq Bakinson, was a frustrating watch too. The Bristol City loanee midfielder makes the difficult things look effortless, but can also make the simple things look hard.
Both have work to do to convince Town to pursue their permanent signatures.
MOUNTAIN TO CLIMB
It's been a frustrating week in the extreme.
Two dominant performances suggest that Town are just a clinical goalscorer away from being a force to be reckoned with in League One.
The medium-term future looks bright under McKenna (who is still averaging two points-per-game), but that doesn't take away from the bitter disappointment of the here and now.
Wins against Cheltenham and Morecambe would have left Town just one point outside the play-off places and with the momentum of a juggernaut. Instead, the gap has grown to five.
Sheffield Wednesday, Plymouth, Wycombe and Portsmouth all have at least one game in hand too.
It's not quite Mission Impossible yet, but once again it's looking like Mission Extremely Unlikely.