North Stander: ‘The table doesn’t lie, we are the best team in League One’
- Credit: Picture: Steve Waller
Lionel Messi, the greatest player on the planet, would have been proud of two of Ipswich Town’s goals against Tranmere, writes North Stander Terry Hunt.
Yes, Luke Garbutt's 25-yard free-kick and Kane Vincent-Young's dazzling individual effort were worthy of comparison with the little magician called Messi.
Now, before you accuse me getting totally and utterly carried away, let me get one thing straight. I am not saying any Ipswich Town player is anywhere near as good as Messi. But those two goals were sensational - and very Messi-like.
Messi admirers will have seen him smash scores of long-range free-kicks into the top corner, leaving the keeper clutching at thin air - just like Luke Garbutt did.
Fans of Messi will also have watched countless times as he's worked his way from the right wing, beating opponents effortlessly, before curling a sublime left-foot finish inside the left-hand post - just like Kane Vincent-Young against Tranmere. I rest my case. Just like watching Messi!
Those goals were the undoubted highlights of a patchy performance which nonetheless ended well for our table-toppers. We struggled in the first half but utterly dominated after the break, thoroughly deserving our victory.
I don't know what it is about first halves at Portman Road. We all too often seem to get off to a sluggish start. Against Tranmere, our passing game went missing in the first 45 minutes. We couldn't string passes together, gave up possession too easily, and failed to build any kind of pressure.
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Garbutt's free-kick came totally out of the blue, but then we conspired to gift-wrap Tranmere an equaliser. The equaliser really was back to the bad old days - a series of errors which led to the softest of soft goals. It was a sad way to end our impressive run of clean sheets.
But we were a team transformed after the break. The passing game was back, and when we play like that teams in this division simply can't live with us.
Admittedly we were given a helping hand by Tranmere's hapless keeper, when he spilled another Garbutt free-kick but, in truth, we gave the visitors a footballing lesson in the second half. At times it was a joy to watch.
I remain convinced that the table doesn't lie, and we are certainly the best team in League One. Look at Saturday's game. We only needed to perform somewhere near our best for half the game to hand out a thrashing.
That's how it's been. We play well for parts of games, and that's good enough. Woe betide the opposition when we manage to play well for the whole 90 minutes. We could be looking at double figures!
James Norwood said we are playing with a touch of arrogance, and that was evident later in the Tranmere game. Good to see - so long as we don't get carried away.
Once again, there were so many positives. We need goals from all over the pitch, and that's what we're getting. Both full-backs were on the scoresheet, for goodness sake! I've said in the past we need ten goals from Jon Nolan, and I'm convinced he will do that.
A quick word about Kane Vincent-Young. What a goal, and what a signing. Did Colchester realise how good he is? So exciting going forward. I suppose there will be sterner tests defensively if (when) we are promoted.
One little niggle...at the moment, we are getting away with missing one-on-ones with the keeper. Another couple on Saturday. But there will be times when we can't afford to be so profligate.
Norwood and Jackson could do worse than dig out some old, grainy videos of Alan Brazil in his pomp, taking the ball round keepers for fun. I've never seen better.
A quick word about a real unsung hero. Cole Skuse doesn't hit the headlines, doesn't do spectacular - but he is so important to us. It was no coincidence that our improvement against Tranmere came when he moved from centre-back to his usual midfield role.
I'm sure he could extend his career by moving into the back four, but at the moment he is far too valuable to us in midfield.
So, we move on - unbeaten after ten games, sitting pretty at the top. It far exceeds even my most optimistic thoughts.
Next up a long trip to Fleetwood. They are well in the promotion mix. This might well be a match in which we have to perform for the whole 90 minutes.