‘Considering we had no strikers, it’s an incredible win’ – Lambert on 2-0 victory against Accrington Stanley

Town manager Paul Lambert applauds from the touchline.
Picture: Steve Waller

Town manager Paul Lambert applauds from the touchline. Picture: Steve Waller www.stephenwaller.com - Credit: Picture: Steve Waller

Ipswich Town manager Paul Lambert was delighted to see his side overcome an unexpected striker shortage to beat Accrington Stanley 2-0 at Portman Road this afternoon.

Freddie Sears is congratulated by teammates Alan Judge, Gwion Edwards and Emyr Huws, after he had sc

Freddie Sears is congratulated by teammates Alan Judge, Gwion Edwards and Emyr Huws, after he had scored to take Town 2-0 up. Picture: Steve Waller www.stephenwaller.com - Credit: Picture: Steve Waller

The Blues were already without James Norwood and Aaron Drinan to injuries. Then, yesterday, Oli Hawkins reported a groin problem and Kayden Jackson was sent to get a Covid-19 test due to illness.

That saw Lambert start with midfielder Alan Judge as the central attacker before Freddie Sears was switched into that role at the start of the second period.

Clinical finishes from Edwards (54) and Sears (71) secured another 2-0 win for Town, who remain top of the League One table after claiming 16 points in an unbeaten six-game start.

“Considering we had no strikers, it’s an incredible win!” said the Blues boss. “That’s the first time I think I’ve played without a striker.

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“That was just thrown on us yesterday in the morning. We had to readjust with one or two things.

“First half it was really tough. They pressed and pressed and pressed. Second half I knew it would open up because there’s no way a team can press like that for 90 minutes.

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“We started to get a foothold in the game, some of the football we played was really good and the goals were excellent.

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“At half-time we said ‘don’t worry about how you are playing, just move the ball, pass it and move, take the ball, and everything else will start to open up’.

“Accrington were strong in the first half, which we knew they would be. It was just a matter of being patient.”

On Judge’s starting role, Lambert said: “He did some really good things, then I changed it and put Freddie there second half and Judge (drifting inside from the right) makes it an overload in the middle of the pitch.

“I just had a feeling it would work if we passed the ball well. And we did that second half.

“It’s about the speed of the ball and the speed of peoples’ brains. They are moving and acting a lot quicker than they were last season.”

With flying winger Edwards scoring his fifth goal in six league games, firing across the keeper after Sears’ through ball, Lambert said: “Gwion’s doing great. I just think the team’s playing really well. If the guys make a mistake it’s not a problem, it’s my problem.

On Sears, whose dink over the keeper made it 2-0, Lambert said: “I left Freddie out last week (at Blackpool) because I thought the tiredness of being out 15 months would catch him at some point, which it still might well do later on. But the goal was excellent, it was a lovely little chip over the goalkeeper.”

Asked whether Hawkins and/or Jackson might be available for Tuesday night’s trip to Doncaster, Lambert said: “I don’t know. Oli’s is a groin. If we have to lose him for another game and he’s back for Saturday (at Lincoln), I don’t know. It’s something we can’t take a risk with because we’ve got so many injuries at the minute.

“Kayden got sent home ill to get tested (for Covid-19). I’ve not heard the results yet. Hopefully he’s not got it.

“That’s four strikers out now. That’s why today’s win was incredible.”

Asked if the club tried to sign a striker before yesterday’s 5pm deadline, Lambert said: “No, we can’t. We don’t have the money, we don’t have anything, we can’t do nothing.”

Does that mean that teenage striker Tyreece Simpson, who came on as a late sub, might need to step up?

“Yeah, I guess,” replied Lambert. “And he should have scored at the end instead of passing. If he pulls the trigger the kid maybe gets a goal. We can’t rely on a kid who has just come in and is finding his feet in the professional game.”

He added: “We’re playing really well, we’ve only conceded two goals, we’re scoring goals, we’re winning games. We’re overcoming adversity and everything that is thrown at us. It’s been a brilliant start.”

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