Paul Digby, Rhodes and Nugent, decision making and McGoldrick - five talking points from Ipswich Town’s 0-0 draw at Middlesbrough
A look at the major talking points coming out of Ipswich Town’s 0-0 draw away at Middlesbrough.
A baptism of fire for Paul Digby
It was a baptism of fire for young Paul Digby, as he made his full Championship debut against a Middlesbrough side including arguably the Football League’s most fearsome striker.
Jordan Rhodes did cause the Barnsley loanee problems throughout, particularly with his movement both on and off the ball, but Digby did the dirty things well and was part of an Ipswich side which kept a clean sheet.
He got his head on numerous balls into the box and most notably put in a late block as right-back Emilio Nsue was set to shoot at Bartosz Bialkowski’s goal.
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Both ‘Diggers’ and Mick McCarthy admitted post match that there are things he needs to work on, as he at times found himself out of position under high balls, but it was a highly encouraging start.
Keeping out both Rhodes and Nugent
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Despite all the pre-match discussion and the sense of inevitability amongst the Ipswich support, neither Rhodes or Nugent managed to find the net.
The former went into the game with six in six against his former club while the latter had an outrageous 15 in 14, so the thought of facing both at the same time was understandably concerning for the Blues’ fans.
In the end they only had to face both at the same time for the final nine minutes, after Nugent’s late introduction, but the Ipswich nemesis still had time for a golden headed chance which was saved on the line by Bialkowski.
Rhodes also had chances, most notably a one-on-one with Bialkowski in the first half and an effort which hit the post in the second, but the Blues stood firm.
They may have drawn a blank this time, but it will still be a relief for Ipswich if Middlesbrough are promoted to the Premier League at the end of the season, taking Rhodes and Nugent with them.
Had the Blues made better decisions during their rare spells on the front foot, they may have even come away with the most unlikely of three points.
With Boro becoming more and more adventurous in their quest for the win, more and more space appeared at the back, but Ipswich couldn’t take advantage on the break.
Both Freddie Sears and Liam Feeney had opportunities to get the ball into the box late on but opted to go alone, without managing to test virtual spectator Dimi Konstantopoulos in the home goal.
Had they made better decisions then Ipswich may have won, although McCarthy did admit post-match that it would not have been deserved.
David McGoldrick is on the way back
On the face of it, David McGoldrick had a thankless task at the Riverside as the figurehead of an Ipswich attack which managed to string very little together until the final 10 minutes.
He’s perhaps not the prime candidate to fill a lone striking role, the rough stuff and constant running isn’t really his game, but he did it very well throughout the 90 minutes.
He was always an option for his teammates on the rare occasion they looked to attack, dropped deep and looked to bring others into the game, and ran the channels when he needed to.
He’s starting to look back to something his approaching the best. Things could have been very different had he not missed so much football this year.
The play-offs are finally mathematically impossible
Finally, we can say Ipswich Town’s pursuit of a play-off place is 100 per cent dead.
In truth it’s been that way for weeks, with a run of just one win in 10 games making it more difficult with every passing week, but the lingering hope of a highly improbable last ditch run was always there.
But it’s now mathematically impossible, which is probably a relief.