‘One of our best performances for different reasons’ – Lambert on Town’s backs to the wall draw at MK Dons
Ipswich Town manager Paul Lambert praised his team’s resilience after they held on for a 1-1 draw at MK Dons this afternoon.
Jon Nolan scrambled home a seventh minute opener for the Blues, but the Dons increasingly got on top and were full value for Daniel Harvie’s 54th minute leveller.
Town’s task was then made all the more difficult when Flynn Downes was forced off injured in the 68th minutes. That left the Blues, who had used all three subs, to play the best part of half an hour with 10 men.
Russell Martin’s men ended the game with 66% possession and 12 shots on goal, but Ipswich weathered the storm to keep their unbeaten start to the League One season intact.
“I thought we were a bit below it today,” admitted Lambert.
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“We started really well, we scored a really good goal, then Freddie (Sears) has a great chance to make it 2-0.
“After that I think we lost too much of the ball and MK Dons came on. But they never really threatened us too much in the first half until they had that chance towards the end of it.
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“Second half they put us under a lot of pressure, but we still looked a threat on the counter-attack.
“We lost Wardy (Stephen Ward), which was a blow, then we lose Flynn, which was a blow.
“What I will say is that was right up there with one of our best performances for different reasons. We were resolute as a team, the desire was fantastic. We had guys throwing their bodies on the line. I’m really happy with it.
“We showed incredible resilience. We’re a big club and everybody wants to beat you, but we’re still undefeated and we’re still in really good form. So I’m really, really, really pleased.”
Asked how serious the injuries to Ward and Downes were, Lambert said: “Wardy I don’t know. Hopefully it’s just a precaution thing. It was my choice to take him off. I’m not sure he wanted to come off, but Achilles is a dangerous injury if that goes.
“Flynn we don’t know. That looks a little bit more serious, but hopefully it will settle down and be ok. We’ll have to wait and see. It’s a hard one to call right after the game.”
Meanwhile, Lambert felt that Dons goalscorer Harvie should have been sent off in the first half for an off the ball kick on Luke Chambers.
“If it’s an off the ball incident then I think there’s a real good chance that should have been a red card,” said the Blues boss. “I don’t know. I’ll have to see it again. I’ve seen in the Premier League and the Championship where people get sent off. You can’t do things off the ball. That’s my argument.”
Town have dropped to third in the table behind Lincoln and Hull – both of whom have a 100% record after four matches.
“It’s a great start for us,” said Lambert. “We’re playing really well and that was a really good performance for different reasons. We played with 10 men for almost half an hour and we still had counter attack chances. I think Gwion (Edwards) should have pulled the trigger when he tried to play Judgey (Alan Judge) in towards the end.
“I’m really happy with a lot of the stuff. Really good.”
The Blues this week signed winger Keanan Bennetts on loan from Borussia Monchengladbach. Asked if there was likely to be any more business before the domestic window closes on October 16, Lambert said: “I really don’t know. Maybe one or two guys might want to go, I don’t know. But I don’t think we’ll bring anyone else in.”