‘We never lost to Lincoln, we lost to the guy in the middle’ – Lambert shown red card after 1-0 loss
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Ipswich Town manager Paul Lambert has claimed ‘we never lost to Lincoln, we lost to the guy in the middle’ following this afternoon’s 1-0 defeat at Sincil Bank.
The Blues rode their luck in the first half, then a more even second period looked to be drifting towards a goalless draw.
Referee Kevin Johnson gave a penalty for a Toto Nsiala challenge on Brennan Johnson in the box though and Jorge Grant converted the 77th minute spot-kick.
Jon Nolan was then dismissed in stoppage-time for a lunging foul on Harry Anderson, with Lambert also shown a red card for his strong protests after the final whistle.
“I’ve never seen anything like that in a game of football in all my time,” said Lambert. “I think whoever is head of the referees should look at that. But they walk away no issues.
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“They were two clear fouls on (Teddy) Bishop here, 100 per cent (prior to the penalty). There were some incredible decisions. I’m flabbergasted. But he gets in his nice car and drives away.
“It was dreadful. It’s professional football. That standard is not acceptable. We never lost to Lincoln, we lost to the guy in the middle. I don’t know his name. I just think it was dreadful.”
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On Nsiala’s challenge for the penalty, Lambert said: “Do you know what, I’ve just seen it again. Toto’s used his strength, used his arm, against a young kid. It’s just body strength. If that’s a penalty then you’d be given fouls all over the pitch.”
On Nolan’s dismissal, which leaves him suspended for the next three games at a time when Town are short of central midfielders, Lambert said: “I understand it (the lunge) because Nolo gone done here just by the halfway line. I won’t be taking any disciplinary action with him because the occasion and the frustration boiled over. And there’s only one person that caused that.”
Asked if he regretted the words which earned him a late red card, the Blues boss said: “No, because what I said was true. We get criticised for a lot of things, so should they. I’ll be phoning Mike Jones (head of referees) because that was unacceptable. It was the usual from them at the end. An absolute sign of arrogance.”
Town had 62% of possession in this game, but they never really looked like scoring. Their two big chances came from set-pieces, with Oli Hawkins seeing a header cleared off the line in the first half and Gwion Edwards glancing a header over from close-range after the break.
Asked for his assessment of the performance, Lambert said: “Brilliant. Honestly, I’m really, really happy. We’re a right good side. You see Lincoln’s reaction, they’re jumping with joy after beating us. And we’ve still got to play them again.
“The way we are playing is really, really good. We’re playing unbelievable football. I’m really happy with the way we are dominating games. Let’s see what happens.
“You lose games, but the way we played today... My God, I’m so happy for them. It was one, two-touch football, we dominated possession of the ball and we’re creating chances. You can’t ask for any more.”
When it was out to him that his side created very little from open play, the Blues boss said: “That’s the only thing you could say. We should have pulled the trigger a lot of times. But that will come. They sat really deep against us.”
After a six-game unbeaten start (W5 D1), Town have suffered back-to-back defeats to slip to fourth in the League One table. It creates a worrying sense of deja vu regarding last season.
“We’re playing totally different,” said Lambert, when asked about the similarities with this time last year.
“We’re a totally different team from last year. The way they’re playing and the confidence that they’ve got this, there’s not a problem. We just keep playing. Don’t change because we’re dominating games. You tend to find if you’re dominating games then you win more games than you don’t.”
Town now have back-to-back home games – Gillingham on Tuesday and Crewe next Saturday.