Sunday Snap: Lambert’s quiet word with Toto, Norwood caught red handed and Holy’s ‘Elf’ moment

Town manager Paul Lambert has words with Toto Nsiala after substituting him at Fratton Park.
Pictu

Town manager Paul Lambert has words with Toto Nsiala after substituting him at Fratton Park. Picture: Steve Waller www.stephenwaller.com - Credit: Picture: Steve Waller

We look back at the goings on around Ipswich Town’s 1-0 loss at Portsmouth

Toto Nsiala picks up an early yellow card.
Picture: Steve Waller www.stephenwaller.com

Toto Nsiala picks up an early yellow card. Picture: Steve Waller www.stephenwaller.com - Credit: Picture: Steve Waller

Time for Toto

Toto Nsiala certainly hasn't had it easy this season.

His campaign got off to a false start due to a hamstring injury, which ruled him out until September and has so far limited him to just two league appearances.

His first saw him replaced at half-time after giving away a penalty and finding the going tough at Accrington, before not even making it to the break yesterday afternoon.


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His early yellow card and the fact he lived dangerously from that point onwards meant Paul Lambert felt he couldn't risk the central defender any longer, with the former Shrewsbury man replaced after 37 minutes before he got himself sent off.

To be fair to the big defender he had, on the whole, competed well with former team-mate Ellis Harrison as he looked to combat the striker's physical threat. It just came down to the fact he couldn't be risked any further.

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After he was replaced, manager Lambert spent a prolonged period talking to his defender on the touchline as he explained his decision and encouraged his player.

That's in stark contrast to the way Everton caretaker Duncan Ferguson has dealt with two incidents of 'subbing a sub' over the last week, with the Scot barely making eye contact with Moise Kean and Cenk Tosun after replacing both players in the Toffees' games with Manchester United and Arsenal.

Lambert's management of his rotation system has been criticised heavily in recent weeks but he deserves credit for how he handled this situation.

Ellis Harrison and Luke Woolfenden battle for the ball.
Picture: Steve Waller www.stephenwaller

Ellis Harrison and Luke Woolfenden battle for the ball. Picture: Steve Waller www.stephenwaller.com - Credit: Picture: Steve Waller

A point to prove

Harrison clearly had a point to prove as he faced his former team for the first time.

The Welshman's Ipswich career showed early promise but ultimately only compromised 17 games and a single goal, before he was sold on at a loss this summer.

He's a character, no doubt about it, and his recruitment last summer was as much to do with his ability on the pitch as it was the injection it was hoped he could offer into the dressing room off of it. And he played with that character throughout this contest.

He was booked for an enthusiastic challenge on Luke Chambers inside 10 seconds, leaving his former team-mate sprawled out on the turf, and that set the tone both for him and his team.

He caused Nsiala problems before he was replaced, continued his running battle with Chambers throughout the game and at one moment appeared to leave a hand in the face of his former skipper.

There was even a moment where he looked towards the Ipswich bench, put his finger to his lips and appeared to 'sssh' the staff as they gave instructions in a bid to get their side back into the game.

His power and presence was a pain for the Ipswich defence throughout this contest as he played with confidence and determination throughout.

He has eight goals for Portsmouth so far this season but how big a role could he have played had he remained at Ipswich this summer? Sadly we'll never know.

James Norwood appears to handle Jon Nolans through ball ahead of shooting wide.
Picture: Steve Wa

James Norwood appears to handle Jon Nolans through ball ahead of shooting wide. Picture: Steve Waller www.stephenwaller.com - Credit: Picture: Steve Waller

Clearing one up

Midway through the second half, James Norwood collected a good Jon Nolan ball forward and charged towards goal before firing wide.

There were calls of handball in the build-up as the striker brought it down out of the sky, but the referee waved play on.

Judging by the above image, Portsmouth would rightly have been annoyed had Norwood been able to do better with his chance.

The wrong man

Portsmouth attacker Andy Cannon was looking for confrontation during the first-half at Fratton Park.

When he tripped over an out-stretched leg he turned to see the offender and quickly looked to take things a little further.

Sadly for Cannon, that offender was Cole Skuse.

You're more likely to see Lambert name an unchanged side than you are to bait ice-cool Skuse into any kind of off-the-ball shenanigans.

Alan Judge has his hands on his hips after the final whistle.
Picture: Steve Waller www.stephen

Alan Judge has his hands on his hips after the final whistle. Picture: Steve Waller www.stephenwaller.com - Credit: Picture: Steve Waller

Atmosphere

I defy anyone to come to a game at Fratton Park and not enjoy their matchday experience (taking any possible feeling regarding the result out of it, of course).

The famous old ground has seen a lot during its 120-year run as the original home of Pompey.

Sure, it's not the most luxurious of stadiums and it's a little rough around the edges, but the atmosphere it produces is surely right up there with the best in this division.

There's the naval build-up, the famous Pompey chimes and the unmistakable sound of feet smashing against the wooden boarding in the main stand. It's a tight old ground, too, meaning the fans are right on top of the players - that's always a winner.

The final 10 minutes of this game saw the home crowd belt out a version of the Dambusters theme which, coupled with Ipswich's struggles when it came to making chances, made you feel as if the points had been secured by Pompey.

Town manager Paul Lambert pictured in the rain at Fratton Park.
Picture: Steve Waller www.stephe

Town manager Paul Lambert pictured in the rain at Fratton Park. Picture: Steve Waller www.stephenwaller.com - Credit: Picture: Steve Waller

Singing in the rain

It's fair to say the weather at Fratton Park was 'miserable'.

Rain lashed down throughout a game during which the wind swirled constantly, making visibility difficult for both sides at times as conditions clearly impacted the contest.

So bad was the flurry of downpours, the ball wasn't always rolling cleanly as time ticked on.

Before a roof was added in 2007, the Milton Road Stand which housed the travelling Ipswich support was known as the 'Gene Kelly Stand' in homage to the 1952 musical 'Singin' in the rain'.

While the near-2,000 strong Ipswich support will have gone home unhappy with the result and their side's performance, they will at least have been thankful for the presence of the roof.

Holy in hospital

It's been a busy week for the Ipswich Town players.

Following a run of six successive midweek games, the absence of a Tuesday fixture was filled by a flurry of visits as the players handed out gifts for young people who sadly find themselves in hospital this Christmas.

It's a vital part of the club's community work and it's great to see the smile the presence of the players can put on the faces of the town's young people.

One image deserving of mention is of Tomas Holy crouching to enjoy a tea party inside a toy kitchen at Ipswich Hospital.

The giant goalkeeper is sure to have been a hit with the children due to his size and warm and friendly nature, with the image conjuring up similarities with the Christmas movie 'Elf' where Will Ferrell's oversized character attends school classes.

Keep up the good work, Ipswich Town.

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