‘We kept knocking and got the rewards’ – Lambert on last-gasp win against Shrewsbury, plus injury news on Edwards, Nolan and Bishop
- Credit: Picture: Steve Waller
Ipswich Town manager Paul Lambert believes his team ‘got their rewards’ when Jack Lankester scored deep into stoppage-time to secure a 2-1 home win against Shrewsbury at Portman Road this afternoon.
Oliver Norburn puts the visitors ahead from the spot in the fourth minute following a clumsy Mark McGuinness foul in the box, then uninspiring Ipswich huffed and puffed in response.
The game looked to be drifting in the second half until Ethan Ebanks-Landell sliced a Keanan Bennetts cross past his own keeper in the 75th minute. Even then Town didn’t really spark into life, but they somehow grabbed all three points at the death when Lankester stooped to head home after keeper Harry Burgoyne parried an Alan Judge shot.
“It was a hard game,” said Lambert. “It becomes even harder when a team sits everybody behind the ball. All credit to the guys, we kept on knocking and knocking and knocking and got the rewards. There was a lot of time wasting out there, but all credit to them they kept going and going.
“They got an early goal and put everybody behind the ball. All credit to the guys, we kept on going. We had a lot of the ball and, having played the game myself, I know that sometimes can become tough. You just keep working, keep grinding them down and that’s what they done.”
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When it was put to Lambert that his team were below-par, he replied: “Aye, but against Sunderland we were excellent. Against Lincoln we were really good. Today we win, when we lost those other two games when we played really well. You take it.”
On Lankester’s winner, he said: “Jack’s a kid who has not played too much football over the last couple of years. He scored at Sunderland and should have had another up there. He’s got a good goal today. All credit to him because it’s never easy when a team comes and parks everybody behind the ball.”
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Asked if today was a game his team needed to win given it’s promotion-chasing Hull and Charlton up next, the Blues replied: “No, I didn’t wake up this morning and think to myself we need to win a game of football. It’s not one game of football that’s going to decide anything. It’s over the course of the 46 games. I enjoy my life.”
But, once again, it was put to Lambert that he must recognise that this was a below-par display from his side.
“Yes, but the standard we’ve set has been high. Today wasn’t near those levels, but the sign of a really good side is when you overcome obstacles like that and win. Shrewsbury sat everyone behind the ball and had five at the back at times. The goal gave them something to hang on to. I’ve been involved in a million games like that. You just have to come out with the win.
“We didn’t deserve to lose that game because we had so much of the ball. I’m happy with the guys.”
Put to Lambert that his team will need to play better against table-topping Hull at Portman Road on Tuesday ight, he replied: “That’s a great observation that! Honestly, I wish you were more positive when we do well. If you want to go down that road... Where are we in the league?
“We won the game. Shrewsbury parked everyone behind the ball, maybe Hull will come and try to give us a game. It will be a tough game, they’ve just been relegated and have a strong side. Charlton will be the same (at Portman Road next weekend). They are tough games, but we won a game of football today.
“The guys have been absolutely brilliant for me since they’ve come back. Really good. I’m really pleased with how they’ve been with the ball. There’s been a lot of endeavour. They’re doing everything I’ve asked them to do. There will be times where we won’t play well and there will be times we lose, but as long as they keep doing the things I’ve asked of them then I’m happy.”
Meanwhile, the injuries continue to stack up for Town. The team sheet showed that Gwion Edwards, Oli Hawkins and James Wikson were the mystery new set-backs that Lambert spoke about pre-match, while Jon Nolan and Teddy Bishop both limped off during the game.
“Gwion got a hamstring injury in training and won’t be ready for Tuesday,” said Lambert. “He’s done really well, but you have to get your heads around it when somebody gets injured.
“Jon Nolan’s hurt his groin. We’ll have to see how he is.
“Teddy’s is his ankle. It looked a bad one. We’ll wait and see on him too.
“Oli’s doing okay and we’ll see how he is. He had a little bit of a problem with his knee, but that’s okay. He had a little bit of a problem with his groin, but that’s cleared up. He’s in a lot better place and hopefully he’ll be available this week.
“James Wilson won’t be available. He hurt his knee in training.
“As I’ve said before, injuries are going to happen when you play game-after-game in such a short period of time. This is what’s going to happen with everything that’s going on.”
On the performance of Brett McGavin, who played at the base of midfield in the absence of the suspended Andre Dozzell, Lambert said: “He must be a favourite of yours because you wax lyrical about him all the time! My standard is maybe a little bit different from yours.
“There were some good things there and there were some things that he’s got to get 100 times better with. The kid came in and done a good game. He’s got big shoes to fill. He’s got a really good range of passing and I think he’s better than what he showed today. But that’s what we’ve got that position at the moment behind Dozzell. I need a passer in there and Brett is as close to Dozzell as we’ve got.”