Stu says: Six observations from Ipswich Town’s 2-0 defeat at Aston Villa
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Ipswich Town lost 2-0 at Aston Villa in a Championship match this afternoon. STUART WATSON takes a look at some of the key talking points.
Why change the right-back?
Jordan Spence may have had a couple of shaky games against Norwich and Burton, but had played his way back into form and scored that crucial late goal at Hull.
Today did not seem the right time to be swapping him out for a previously out-of-form and ring-rusty Dominic Iorfa given that Villa’s danger man is flying left-winger Albert Adomah.
Wolves loanee Iorfa has proved himself to be a good attacking force from full-back (remember the 5-2 win v Sunderland), but defensively he has been caught out of position too often.
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Early on there was a moment when he received a short rolled ball from Bartosz Bialkowski and galloped the length of the field into the opposition box to create a chance for Grant Ward.
Sadly, that was soon massively overshadowed by a costly lapse in concentration which led to Villa breaking the deadlock in the 36th minute.
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After a half-cleared corner was helped back into the box, the Town defence was caught running out under the ball. Iorfa switched off to allow Adomah to sneak in the back door, the ex-Middlesbrough and Bristol City man skipped past a couple of desperate lunges and cleverly clipped the ball beyond Bialkowski.
It got worse for Iorfa in the second half. Mis-reading a straight ball up the line he slipped when attempting a header and ended up on his backside. Adomah, oozing confidence, coolly converted his 11th goal of the season in all competitions.
It’s two more chalked up on the ever-lengthening list of soft goals conceded by Town this season. This was a hard enough task as it was without giving the hosts a helping hand.
The Blues have now gone 18 games without keeping an away clean sheet in the league.
Mick McCarthy’s men may have the firepower to beat the lesser sides, but their mistakes at the other end continue to see them come up short against the more ruthless leading lights.
Again, they weren’t played off the park here. Then again, there was also a sense that Villa didn’t exactly have to get out of second gear to get the job done.
The gap to the top-six has increased to six points. Today has added to a feeling that mid-table mediocrity beckons.
More refereeing injustice?
There is no doubting that Sheffield Wednesday skipper Glenn Loovens should have seen red for his horror tackle on David McGoldrick in the early stages of the midweek 2-2 home draw with Sheffield Wednesday.
Town can perhaps feel hard done by again after referee Toy Harrington disallowed a Blues goal in the 16th minute of this game.
Following an uneventful start which Town arguably shaded there was a sense the home crowd could turn edgy.
Then Martyn Wahorn’s inswinging corner was fumbled by keeper Sam Johnstone under pressure by Joe Garner, stabbed home by the Blues striker, only for a foul to be given.
There were no replays and the press box is situated at the opposite end of the field, but it was hard to see a serious infringement.
Garner was incensed (but then again he always is), but very few of his team-mates made a huge fuss. It may have been a case of keepers being given far too much protection.
There was certainly little consistency given the fact that Bialkowski was put under similar pressure at the corner from which Villa ultimately took the lead.
Freddie Sears arrived as a free-scoring striker who sniffed out chances playing on the last shoulder. He netted 12 in his first 29 appearances for the club, but it’s now nine in 100.
A prolonged spell grafting in a wide role has gradually seen his confidence dissipate to a point where it now looks all but evaporated.
Making only his second start since August he was again tasked with playing on the left. He simply looked lost and made no discernible impact on the game before being subbed just after the hour.
A decent enough start to the game which led to the home crowd growing frustrated.
Town were a threat at set-pieces throughout as Martyn Waghorn whipped in numerous dangerous inswingers. Very little was created from open play though.
Centre-backs Adam Webster and Luke Chambers were pretty solid, while it was certainly good to see Emyr Huws and Teddy Bishop come on as substitutes following their recent long-term injuries.
Sadly though, that’s about it.
A trip to Derby County on Tuesday night for a rearranged fixture.
The Rams had an eye-catching 3-0 win at Middlesbrough today courtesy of a Matej Vydra hat-trick. Gary Rowett’s men have won six of their last eight. And yes, arch nemesis David Nugent does still play for them.