Sunday Snap: A ripped striker, a chilled out manager and a notable anniversary

James Norwood with a shot onto the inside of the post.

James Norwood with a shot onto the inside of the post. - Credit: Picture: Steve Waller www.stephenwaller.com

Ipswich Town drew 0-0 with Oxford United yesterday. Andy Warren looks at the events surrounding the game.

Firing blanks 

We’ve watched Ipswich Town and Oxford play for 360 minutes over the last 13 months and have seen just a single goal. 

Yesterday’s stalemate was the third goalless draw in the four matches between the two sides since January of 2020, with Matty Taylor the only man to find the net when securing three points for his side at Portman Road last February. 

Indeed, those four matches (one of which was played in torrential rain in February of last year and was minutes from being abandoned) have only yielded a combined 19 shots on target. 

But they have all been pretty watchable games. Oxford play decent football and have a clear gameplan while Ipswich have given a good account of themselves on each occasion. 

Josh Harrop with a crucial injury time challenge as Liam Kelly was about to shoot.

Josh Harrop with a crucial injury time challenge as Liam Kelly was about to shoot. - Credit: Picture: Steve Waller www.stephenwaller.com

Yesterday’s display was a vast improvement on Tuesday’s miserable draw with Northampton, while the only loss of the four games with the U’s came on an afternoon where Town dominated the first half but couldn’t make their chances count. 

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That was the case again yesterday, perhaps without the domination, with Ipswich not making the most of their opportunities at the start of the second half as James Norwood and Troy Parrott both missed chances. 

A good point in isolation but it’s wins Ipswich need now. 

An anniversary 

Saturday was 22 years to the day since the last time Ipswich scored against Oxford, with Matt Holland and Mark Venus on target in a 2-1 victory in 1999. 

But that is not the most notable thing that happened that day. No, that prize goes to an astonishing miss from Marlon Harewood. I still don’t know how he managed it. 

After years of hiding, footage emerged of the incident a year ago. It excited me so much I wrote an entire article about it. Please read it. 

Not today 

There wasn’t a single offside flag raised in this game. Very rare indeed. 

James Norwood performed well for Ipswich Town against Oxford, ripping his shirt early on

James Norwood performed well for Ipswich Town against Oxford, ripping his shirt early on - Credit: Ross Halls

Getting ripped 

Ipswich look significantly more threatening when James Norwood is in the team and that was true again in this game. 

He contributed throughout this game and will be disappointed not to have scored given he had a header cleared off the line and a shot bounce away off the inside of the post. 

The tone for his afternoon was set after just a few minutes when his shirt was ripped early on in the game, with the striker putting himself about, battling with defenders and winning his share of loose balls to try and give his side a platform to play from. 

He visibly tired before being replaced, which is to be expected given he was out for so long. Hopefully he’s good to go again at Hull on Tuesday night – Ipswich need him. 

Oxford boss Karl Robinson, pictured at Portman Road

Oxford boss Karl Robinson, pictured at Portman Road - Credit: Ross Halls

Chilled out 

I’ve always liked Karl Robinson. 

He seems to take a calm approach to his job, never losing his cool and never allowing himself to get too high with the highs or too low with the lows. 

I’ve always liked the way he dresses on matchdays, on this occasion strolling around during the warm-up wearing a camel-coloured jumper, jeans and a sparkling white pair of trainers which looked fresh out of the box.  

He even had a little dance, too, enjoying the pre-match music. More on that in a minute. 

But what I really liked on this occasion was the huge coffee cup he was carrying around with him throughout. Like the kind you see in doughnut (donut) shops in the United States. 

He was drinking from it throughout the warm-up, nearly having it spilt by a ball bouncing back off the crossbar, and still had it going when he made his way to the bench at the start of the game.  

He must have been buzzing. 

Sneaky Judge 

If you type ‘Alan Judge’ and ‘referee’ into Google (other search engines are available but who can honestly say they actually use them) you are greeted by pages and pages of articles about Tuesday’s well-documented incident with Darren Drysdale. 

But there was nearly another incident during this game involving the Town man and the officials, though it wouldn’t have ended up in every national newspaper. 

It was sneaky from the Irishman as he put the ball down for a free-kick and, once the referee had turned his back, moved the ball a few yards towards goal before shaping to try and cross. He was caught out, though, with the fourth official ensuring he moved the ball back to its original position before Andre Dozzell then put the ball into the area. 

Full marks for trying, Alan. 

In the mix 

I make no apology for how regularly the pre-match playlist is discussed in the Snap. 

To say it’s been eclectic this season would be an understatement. Just as an example, the Fountains of Wayne classic ‘Stacy’s Mom’ has been played twice in recent weeks. 

But we’re getting close to the perfect pre-match build-up now. 

The Bongo Song by Safri Duo, Insomnia from Faithless, Carnaval de Paris from Dario G (yes, it is spelt ‘carnaval’ and Adagio for Strings from Tiesto all featured. As, of course, did Fatboy Slim’s Right Here, Right Now. A football match isn’t a football match unless that is played. 

Shake That Thing by Sean Paul was also played, as was ‘It’s my Birthday’ by will.i.am. 

There really is something for everyone. 

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