North Stander: Some of the best football since the Burley era – we’re top because we’re the best team!
- Credit: Picture: Steve Waller
Ok, the scoreline says 1-0, but we all know the reality was very different, writes North Stander Terry Hunt. We were absolutely streets ahead of Lincoln. The visitors will be pleased to have avoided a real thrashing.
Paul Lambert said it was one of our best performances of the season, and I agree. Some of our football - especially in the first-half - was really sublime, far too good for this dreadful, kick-and-rush division.
I would go as far as to say that our stylish, very easy on the eye, pass and move football was some of the best I've seen at Portman Road since the glorious George Burley era. That's quite a compliment.
It left hapless Lincoln chasing shadows, and they're supposedly one of the contenders for a play-off place!
Now that Lambert has abandoned the rotation policy, and settled on a line-up, formation, and a way of playing, we are once again looking simply out of place in League One. The table doesn't lie - we're top because we're the best team.
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The midfield is especially exciting. The combination of Flynn Downes, Emyr Huws and Alan Judge is simply sensational. I thought Huws had his best game of the season against Lincoln, getting on the ball so often and doing the simple things really effectively.
Our defence is back to looking rock-solid once again. How good a free transfer is James Wilson? A genius bit of work in the transfer market by Lambert and his team.
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The only concern for me is this. For all our domination of possession, for all our lovely first time passing moves, and despite the fact that we ran Lincoln ragged for the whole 90 minutes, we still didn't create many clear-cut chances.
In the first-half, there was the opportunity which Will Keane put just wide, and later Wilson flashed a header wide from a Luke Garbutt corner. As far as good chances go, that was about it.
So, that left us with a slightly nervous last ten minutes. However dominant you are, and however vast the gulf in quality, if there's only one goal in it there's always a chance that a lucky break or an individual mistake will give the opposition a thoroughly undeserved equaliser. That would have been absolutely gut-wrenching against Lincoln.
Everyone played well on Saturday. There were no weak links. As usual, two of our best performers were Luke Woolfenden and Flynn Downes. These two young men are having terrific seasons, and it's no great surprise they are being linked with clubs higher up the food chain.
I loved the interviews they did last week. They both played the well-rehearsed straight bat when asked about the prospect of leaving Ipswich and playing for a team in a higher division.
All Town fans will wish them well in their footballing careers, and I have no doubt both are very capable of playing in the Premier League at some stage.
But there is no rush. I think they would be well advised to stay with Ipswich for at least another season after we are promoted, and prove themselves at Championship level.
After that, they could make the big step up to the real big-time of the premier League. Wouldn't it be great if that could be with Town? Ok, maybe I'm getting carried away now...
But, of course, that all depends on us being promoted at the end of this season. I'm convinced we will be, but if something goes wrong, then Downes and Woolfenden will surely be tempted to leave rather than have another year in League One - and Marcus Evans would be more likely to accept decent offers for them.
All of which gives us an even greater incentive to stay in the top two between now and the beginning of May! Meanwhile, let's enjoy these two budding superstars while they are wearing Ipswich Town shirts.
Back to this season. We've hit top form just at the right time, with games against our promotion rivals coming up. Tomorrow, we travel to Rotherham for a real top of the table battle. For me, Rotherham are the surprise package this season.
Then it's Peterborough at home, followed by a trip to the Stadium of Light to face fallen giants Sunderland. Because of their history, they always have a certain aura about them, but I watched quite a bit of their Friday night game against Doncaster on TV, and there really is nothing to fear.
In fact, as I keep saying, I really don't think there is anything to fear from anyone in what is a really poor quality league. If we are able to produce the kind of football we showed against Lincoln, then none of these hapless, hopeless League One teams will be able to live with us.