North Stander: We’re becoming ‘flat track bullies’ – and the boos tell you it isn’t good enough
PUBLISHED: 06:28 03 February 2020 | UPDATED: 06:28 03 February 2020
North Stander, TERRY HUNT reflects on a job poorly done by Town against Peterborough
"The beautiful game? That was more like the pitiful game."
The words of one wag as we trudged away from Portman Road summed up a simply awful afternoon.
I can think of several other words to describe our performance, but they wouldn't be suitable to be published here, so "pitiful" will have to do.
Only a week ago, everything was rosy. We were back on top of the table, and playing well. Since then, we've produced two absolutely desperate displays and dropped out of the automatic promotion places.
Yet again, we've come up woefully short against other promotion candidates.
We're also missing players: Luke Garbutt is now injured, Gwion Edwards suspended, and there are injury worries about Emyr Huws and (of course) Teddy Bishop.
Oh, the rollercoaster of supporting Ipswich Town. I've never enjoyed rollercoasters - and I'm not likely to start now.
Naturally, there is a certain irony that our awful defeat against Peterborough came on the first day of February - just after the January transfer window closed, in other words.
Once again, a window has come and gone with hardly any activity for Ipswich Town.
Inevitably, comparisons are being drawn with January 2015, when we were in the top two of the Championship, failed to strengthen further, and paid the price.
To be honest, I'm not sure this is the same. I'm not the only Town fan who has been convinced throughout this season that we have the strongest squad in a woeful division.
So I didn't entirely blame Marcus Evans for hanging on to his money.
We SHOULD be good enough.
But what's happened in the last week is now worrying me - and thousands of other Town fans.
We are still unable to beat any of our promotion rivals.
We were bullied out of it at Rotherham, and simply outplayed by en enterprising, pacy Peterborough team.
We started well enough, but fell apart after Garbutt's injury and the penalty. It definitely was a foul in the box by James Wilson, but the officials awarded it in a bizarre way.
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The referee didn't give it initially, and the linesman didn't flag. It was only when the Peterborough players persuaded the ref to talk to his assistant that the pair decided it was a penalty after all.
Officials in this division - I give up...
But we can't blame the officials. We were poor all over the pitch, from the keeper to the strikers.
The dreadful gaffe by Will Norris effectively ended the game as a contest. What on earth did he think he was doing?
We were very shaky at the back - Posh cut through us like a hot knife through butter on more than one occasion - and lacked creativity in midfield.
Once again, a visiting goalkeeper had a lovely relaxing 90 minutes when facing Ipswich.
Can you remember the Peterborough keeper having to make a save? I certainly can't.
For me, our lack of chances is the most worrying aspect of all. Even when we are playing well, and dominating possession, we still create very few clear-cut chances.
I feel sorry for Kayden Jackson.
Week after week, he runs his socks off, chasing what in most cases are hopeless causes.
The experiment of starting Will Keane alongside Jackson hasn't really worked. He's a skilful player, but right now I feel we need someone who will really get in the faces of defenders. Step forward James Norwood.
He always provides good entertainment value, even if it's only when he's winding up the opposition or is in constant "dialogue" with referees.
We need that X-factor. Otherwise, I think we're a bit too "nice."
Paul Lambert says there are still lots of games left - still lots of football to be played. He's right, of course, but if we can't beat the teams around us, we will surely slip down the table. At the moment, we are League One's equivalent of "flat track bullies" - thumping the hapless struggling teams, but consistently failing against sides in and around the top six.
Lambert knows that needs to change.
He also knows his popularity with the fans is under pressure - the barrage of boos from the North Stand when he did his customary acknowledgement told its own story.
We can't afford to be stranded in this division. A single season is just about acceptable. It has a certain ghoulish novelty value. But any longer and the alarm bells will be ringing very loudly about the status, and future, of our once illustrious football club.
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