North Stander: 'Let's hope this win is a turning point in our season'
- Credit: Steve Waller - stephenwaller.com
Ipswich Town fan and journalist Terry Hunt shares his views on the Blues after their first win of the season at Lincoln City....
What a difference a win makes!
After nine games, and six increasingly worrying weeks, Town fans finally have something significant to smile about.
Let’s face it, how many of us expected to win at Lincoln? The signs certainly weren’t positive, and of course our recent record at Sincil Bank was pretty dreadful, including the infamous cup defeat.
I said on social media before the game that I was dreaming of a backs-to-the-wall, 1-0 away win straight from the era of Mick “every point’s a prisoner” McCarthy.
It was better than that in terms of attacking enterprise, but in the second half the defence certainly had to dig deep, and then the team needed to show some professional know-how to safely see out seven minutes of added time.
I loved the scenes at the end as the 1,800 travelling Ipswich supporters celebrated, with the players showing their relief and thanking the fans.
But the undoubted star of the post-match show was chief executive Mark Ashton, who emerged with a series of fist pumps and hugged and high-fived every Town fan he could reach.
It was really heartwarming stuff. Who can blame him after all his efforts during the summer to bring no fewer than 19 players to the club? It must have been a huge relief for him to start seeing things coming together.
I mentioned our defence, and they should take the plaudits. Edmundson and Burgess were immense, and it was great to see a partnership beginning to build. A clean sheet was also a huge bonus for Hladky, after his shaky start to the season.
But a special mention must go to Janoi Donacien. The St. Lucian-born player has had a tough three years at Portman Road, after arriving as one of many signings during the short-lived and ill-fated Paul Hurst era.
During that time, he’s never really established himself as a regular, has twice been shunted out on loan, and has at times seemed surplus to requirements and destined for the exit door.
But whenever he’s been called upon - usually off the bench, or for unglamorous early season cup games - he’s never let us down. The same applied at Lincoln.
He’s never going to fly up and down the wing like Kane Vincent-Young at his best, but he’s solid. And, at the moment, solid is good! He might well have a key role to play.
How good is it to see Bersant Celina back in a Town shirt? We all know the class he possesses, which was so evident at a higher level.
When he’s fully fit, goodness knows the havoc he will create in lumbering League One defences. Maybe he’s the number ten we’ve been looking for. We’ve struggled to use that role effectively so far.
So, a happy weekend for Ipswich fans. A win, a clean sheet, and the league table looks a little healthier. But this needs to be a platform for a sustained upturn in our results. Let’s hope later in the season we can look back at our trip to Lincoln as a turning point in this campaign.
Next up we have Sheffield Wednesday, another club currently operating below what they would regard as their “natural” level.
There will no doubt be another 20,000 at Portman Road on Saturday, hoping to see our first home win of the season. Let’s hope we’re all happy at 5pm next Saturday.
Of course, the win was made a little sweeter by the continued woes of our friends over the border. No points after five games. Oh dear.
Time to gently recall that Derby currently hold the unwanted title of worst ever Premier League side, after amassing a mighty 11 points in 2007-08. Local derby next season, anyone? You never know...
Finally, there was a reminder that, in the great scheme of things, football really is very trivial. The post-match interview with Paul Cook when he referenced the loss of his father and looked to the sky was very poignant.
Football? Yes it can be fun, it can be maddeningly frustrating, but we should never lose sight of what really matters in life.
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