Seven things we learned from Ipswich Town’s 1-0 defeat at rock-bottom Rotherham
Ipswich Town lost 1-0 at Rotherham United in a Championship match on Saturday. Here’s your Blues analysis.
Nine changes too much?
Mick McCarthy was in a bit of a lose-lose position here. Stick with the team that recorded impressive Easter weekends over Burton and Newcastle in order to maintain momentum and he would have been accused of wasting a golden chance to give others valuable game-time in a dead rubber. Make wholesale changes, lose the match and still he gets stick.
There would have been a happy medium, of course, and that would have been five, six or seven changes. Keeping the core of a match-fit and well-versed team would have provided a better platform for ring-rusty fringe players to shine. We’ve seen before when the whole team gets changed for cup ties that it’s a big ask for players to gel.
Town’s first-half performance was predictably disjointed as players found their match legs and team cohesion. The frustrating thing was that they had seemed to have got beyond that and were getting on top before Tom Adeyemi seized on a loose ball in the box to lash home the 79th minute winner.
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Rotherham are relieved to have surpassed the 20-point mark – the lowest-ever total set over a 46-game season in Football League history (Doncaster in 1998). They’ve leaked 96 league goals this season hadn’t kept a clean sheet in their previous 24 matches across all competitions. The Millers’ sole away point of the campaign came at – you guessed it – Portman Road. It means that 19% of their points haul has come against Ipswich.
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Danny Rowe – the £100k signing from National League side Macclesfield in January – caught the eye. An old-fashioned winger, he takes people on and can provide dangerous deliveries from all areas.
Reading loan striker Dominic Samuel did a lot of good things too. Quick and strong, he smashed an angled shot against the bar and was inches away from getting his studs on the end of a teasing Kieffer Moore cross inside the six-yard box. Don’t rule out another temporary switch next season.
It was this time last year that Andre Dozzell burst on the scene by scoring at Sheffield Wednesday as a 16-year-old. Saturday was only his ninth senior appearance of a stop-start season. The England Under-18 international is still learning, but you can see his huge potential. He spots passes no-one else sees and can thread the ball through the eye of a needle. Hopefully a more successful team will provide a stable environment for him to gain more valuable experience in 2017/18.
Teddy Bishop, meanwhile, looked well off the pace on his latest injury comeback. The 20-year-old seemed destined for the very top after his impressive breakthrough season, but two years of injuries have severely stunted his progress and sadly he’s not looked the same player whenever he’s got on the pitch this campaign.
Talking of learning curves
Josh Emmanuel dealt with tricky winger Jon Taylor well, was positive in attack at times but blotted his copybook a little with a rash challenge to concede the penalty. We all want to see the Town team built around homegrown talent over the coming years, but need to accept that there will be highs and lows with youngsters.
Reminder from Gerken
Keeper Bartosz Bialkowski has been in such outstanding form for the past 18 months that it has been easy to forget how good his deputy Dean Gerken is too.
When the two were in-and-out of the side for a spell there really wasn’t that much between them. Town are blessed to have two good Championship keepers. Gerken’s brilliant penalty stop from Danny Ward was a reminder of that. If Bialkowski is lured away from Portman Road this summer then there will be no need to look for a replacement No.1.
Dan’s the man
You can see why Town are interested in Rotherham striker Danny Ward. Strong, mobile and left-footed he would be an ideal replacement for Daryl Murphy.
Blues players rushed to show their concern when he pulled up lame with a hamstring injury just before half-time. Watch this space.