Dave Gooderham: Nothing wrong with a touch of ‘ugly’ now and then!
DAVE GOODERHAM looks at Town’s last two games and four points from six
Winning ugly. So often a term used to characterise champions.
Drawing ugly. Not so widely used but with potentially the same meaning as above.
In the space of a little over four days, and I would argue 135 minutes of football rather than the full 180, Ipswich Town have displayed both.
Football is often about pairs. Two centre forwards - thankfully for Ipswich - or two centre backs need to work together. The same down the flanks with a right back and right winger, for example.
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But you can also group games together in a similar way.
I left Saturday's goalless draw at home to Doncaster feeling a little flat, akin to the performance largely shown by Paul Lambert's men. But I knew that a win, any win, at MK Dons on Tuesday night would bring about a decent mini-yield of four points from six. That's what we ended up with...just. And who wouldn't have taken that when we woke up on Saturday morning?
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Starting with Doncaster, Town were a touch fortunate. The visitors were sprightly, played attractive football but lacked the clinical touch that we grew accustomed to for most parts of the Championship. That said, James Norwood can point to a chance or two at the other end.
Quickly brushing that off, Lambert again showed his strength depth for the relatively short trip to Milton Keynes. Of course having such options among his ranks gives Lambert plenty of choice when it comes to formation and he was even able to juggle the shape of his team within seconds of the kick off at the Stadium MK.
We all know what happened next. Cracking first half where Town should have put the game out of sight before a nervy second 45 minutes as MK Dons improved - but Ipswich continued to outline their defensive credentials. Impressive at both ends, during different parts of the game. It was clear why Lambert hailed his side's midweek performance.
What both games had in common was the fact they served to highlight the growing importance of Tomas Holy. On a number of occasions, in both games, he came to Ipswich's rescue as gaps were found in front of him - despite the impressive performances of Messrs Chambers, Wilson et al.
What I also like about Holy is how grateful he seems to be. One interview with the official club website saw him beaming as he looked round the empty stadium and, as mentioned before, his attitude and patience in dealing with 50 or so Junior Blues was impressive to say the least.
This is also in keeping - no pun intended - with the goalkeepers I have come across at Ipswich Town. We all know how much Bartosz Bialkowski loved everything about life with the Blues. He was a fantastic keeper but also a great person off the pitch who always had time for supporters. He is missed even though Holy is fast becoming another fans favourite.
But even before Holy and Bart, I can remember interviewing David Stockdale and thinking what a genuinely good bloke he was - something that you couldn't say about every Town loanee in the Jewell era. In my experience, goalkeepers just seem to be a little more down-to-earth than other team mates.
Holy has almost become the poster boy for a club that is improving all the time, off-the-pitch, never mind on it.
That was again evidenced last week when the Ipswich Town Community Trust was officially re-launched at Britannia Primary School. Lambert was right to call out the powers-that-be (Marcus, I'm looking at you) when he questioned the decision to axe the Trust. Let's leave that in the past now and embrace the present and future.
I know how excited the new team behind the Trust are - and how proud they are to wear the Ipswich blue. All fans of the club, many have joined after working at 'rivals' in recent seasons, as a result of other clubs, rather than Ipswich, placing a greater importance in the community and youth.
That must not be allowed to happen again.
And I don't think it will with so many great initiatives taking place away from the hallowed Portman Road turf and an unbeaten run continuing on it.
The good times just keep on coming.