Stu says: Five observations following Ipswich Town's 0-0 draw at Shrewsbury
- Credit: Pagepix Limited
Ipswich Town drew 0-0 at Shrewsbury Town last night. STUART WATSON looks back on the action.
For the sixth time in 10 matches, Ipswich Town played out a nil-nil draw.
Unlike some of the mind-numbing stalemates against the likes of Wigan, Rochdale, MK Dons and AFC Wimbledon though, this was a decent watch.
Just like in last weekend's 2-1 win at Swindon, the Blues progressed the ball up the field well and created several good openings.
Centre-halves Luke Woolfenden and Mark McGuinness were composed, full-backs Kane Vincent-Young and Myles Kenlock stayed high and wide, deep midfield duo Flynn Downes and Andre Dozzell played forwards at every opportunity, while Armando Dobra and Gwion Edwards played quite narrow.
There was a lot to like about this display. We're beginning to see glimpses of Paul Cook's brand of 4-2-3-1 football now. He wants his players to be brave, energetic and always on the front foot.
- 1 Suffolk school goes viral after teachers post TikTok dance
- 2 Man in hospital with serious injuries after Suffolk stabbing
- 3 Ipswich Town transfer rumour: Blues linked with 'ambitious move' for striker
- 4 Community in shock after stabbing on Suffolk estate
- 5 Former Town star's son scores to help Hartlepool secure dramatic return to EFL
- 6 Pub demolition plans generate 150-plus objections in a week
- 7 No starts, sarcastic cheers and a quick profit - A look back at Kieffer Moore's time at Town
- 8 Councils to be given powers to fine drivers £70
- 9 Village in uproar as primary school attempts to change historic logo
- 10 Patient in 90s will fight Ipswich Hospital parking fine
The issue, yet again, was a lack of clinical edge and composure in the final third.
Edwards regularly failed to pick out a team-mate at the vital moment, while Troy Parrott and James Norwood weren't always on the same wavelength.
And when opportunities did come they were squandered. Edwards, Parrott and Norwood were all off target from good positions in the box following good play by the wide men.
Unless Town score three times against Fleetwood at Portman Road on Sunday, they will finish the season with a goals per game average of less than one.
Fixing that issue is top priority for Cook this summer.
CASE FOR THE DEFENCE
Ipswich may have the third worst record in League One for goals scored, but they also have the joint-fifth best defensive record.
Only Blackpool (21) and Hull (20) have kept more clean sheets than Town (19) heading into the final round of fixtures.
That's certainly something to build upon.
Woolfenden, by his own admittance, has had a 'completely average' season. But the 22-year-old has started to look much more like the player who was earning rave reviews in 2019/20 over the last two games.
In goal, David Cornell produced three solid one-on-one saves when the defence was breached. After his error against Swindon, the Welshman returned to the form shown in the 0-0 draw against Wimbledon.
It's going to be interesting to see what happens on the goalkeeper front this summer given both Cornell and Tomas Holy are both under contract for another year.
Armando Dobra may just be playing himself into Paul Cook's plans for next season.
The 20-year-old was described as a 'street fighter' by his Under-23s boss Kieron Dyer after another eye-catching display.
Out of possession, he snaps at heels and plays with a real competitive edge. In possession, his neat footwork and direct running gets you off your seat.
He reminds me, in a way, of a young Wayne Rooney.
Sure, there are times where he's over exuberant in the tackle or is guilty of over-playing, but all the tools are there.
Ipswich have certainly got a potential diamond to polish.
SHOWING SOME LOVE
For the second game in a row, James Norwood was given the captain's armband.
It may have just been because the 30-year-old was the most senior outfielder (six players were aged 22 or younger).
And it may also have been a bit of clever man-management from Cook, the Blues boss sensing an opportunity to show the club's main striker some love - something you sense he needs to thrive off.
Norwood dealt with the responsibility well at Swindon. There seemed a conscious effort from him not to engage in his usual verbal battles with the referee that day.
Last night, he was back to oozing frustration.
As Cook raged at the fourth official about 'farcical' inconsistencies, Norwood thumped the ball out of the stadium after it had already gone out play. For that he was booked, leaving his robust style blunted somewhat for the second half.
There has to be an element of sympathy. All he wants to do is score goals and, quite frankly, the service has so often not been there.
That said, he really should have found the net late on after fine work by Dobra.
Town's No.10 just needs to channel his emotional energy a little better.
GET WELL SOON
As last night's game entered stoppage-time, all eyes followed the ball up field but soon tracked back to see the origin of a yelp of pain.
Kane Vincent-Young was writhing on the turf after, assumedly, an awkward tangle/fall.
It soon became clear that he'd hurt his shoulder. In fact, it looked like he had it popped back into place by the physios before being helped slowly from the field in real discomfort (it was nice to see sub Toto Nsiala rushing on to assist his stricken team mate).
The poor guy just can't catch a break.
It was a long, long road back to action for the 25-year-old following hernia and adductor surgeries towards the back end of 2019. Set-backs included problems with his Achilles, calf, knee and hamstring.
In all there was 511 days between his ninth and 10th competitive appearance for the club.
Let's all keep our fingers crossed that he heals quickly from this latest injury and he fit and firing for the start of pre-season.
Because it's clear that his dynamic play from right-back is the perfect fit for Cook's brand of football.