Monday verdict: The Forest performance was abject Mick – and displays like Saturday shouldn’t be too much to ask for

Town manager Mick McCarthy on the touchline during the Ipswich Town v Queens Park Rangers (Sky Bet C

Town manager Mick McCarthy on the touchline during the Ipswich Town v Queens Park Rangers (Sky Bet Championship) match at Portman Road, Ipswich, on 26 November 2016. Picture: Steve Waller www.stephenwaller.com - Credit: Picture: Steve Waller

That’s more like it!

Ipswich Town’s players deserved no-punches-pulled criticism following the shambolic 2-0 home defeat to criticism just over a week ago.

And now they deserve every bit of praise after Saturday’s 3-0 win against Queens Park Rangers relieved the Portman Road pressure valve.

Was it a performance which oozed quality and control from start to finish? No. There was an element of good fortune about all three goals scored – a scuffed finish from Grant Ward, a keeper howler which presented Luke Varney with an unguarded net and a shot which fell kindly at Tom Lawrence’s feet.

However, you have to buy a ticket to win the lottery, as they say, and Ipswich, finally, weren’t afraid to get their shots off.


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Nine attempts on target is the most they’ve had in a game for a long, long time. This was their biggest home win since Charlton were beaten by the same scoreline in December 2014.

More importantly, Town played with heart, fight, energy and desire. That’s all you can ask for as a football fan. All of those qualities were, despite McCarthy’s insistence otherwise, badly lacking in the defeat against Forest.

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The Blues boos is trying to re-write recent history when he said: “I don’t think there was anything wrong with the Nottingham Forest performance – we just gave two poor goals away. Were we abject? No. Did we run hard against Nottingham Forest? Yeah. We got loads of crosses in but nothing dropped for us. I didn’t think the performance was that bad, but when you lose at home that’s what everybody thinks.”

Supporters aren’t stupid and they hate being treated that way. It again felt like that when defender Christophe Berra said last week that everyone needed to recognise that the Blues ‘aren’t world beaters’.

It was a comment which only added fuel to the growing frustrations of many who, in response, wryly suggested simply beating bottom-half-of-the-table sides would be a start.

Berra’s words only seemed to back-up the feeling that a lack of ambition has seeped down from owner Marcus Evans into all pores of the club. Mediocrity is being accepted all too readily.

When the teamsheets were announced at 2pm, and fans saw McCarthy had recalled the veteran duo of Jonathan Douglas and Luke Varney (both aged 34) to his starting line-up, there was a sense the mood could turn toxic.

A back to basics approach may not have been popular, but it worked wonders and Town were far more effective in all departments.

Isn’t it typical of Ipswich to do the opposite of what you expect? Fall flat when favourites and pull a result out the bag when the dark clouds gather.

It’s admirable and frustrating in equal measure. Town’s record in 18 league games so far is a symmetrical W6 D6 L6 F17 A17.

Trying to play more expansive football has never quite worked for McCarthy at Town and he’s quickly reverted to type at the hint of a set-back. Safety-first, fine-margins football is his tried and trusted formula.

Consistency is required now. It can’t keep being one step forwards, followed by two back.

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