Stu says: Five observations following Ipswich Town’s 2-1 win at Bolton Wanderers
Ipswich Town won 2-1 at Bolton Wanderers this afternoon thanks to two first half goals from Collin Quaner. STUART WATSON gives his thoughts.
This game was only confirmed as being on at 1.30am this morning after engineers at The University of Bolton Stadium successfully battled the ‘critical IT failure’ which had put the fixture in doubt.
In the end, it was another type of IT – Ipswich Town – who killed this game off for the hosts at the end of their turbulent week which included players going on strike and an adjourned High Court case.
Collin Quaner’s first half double – a well-taken header (33) and fine 25-yard strike (44) – was followed by some good game management from the Blues after the break.
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Josh Emmanuel’s unfortunate stoppage-time own goal robbed Paul Lambert’s men of a rare clean sheet, but this was a comfortable victory.
It is, as if you need reminding, only the fourth win of a miserable campaign.
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Town played some lovely one-touch football in the first half here. Crucially, they had a man to provide the finishing touches too.
Quaner went 49 matches without a goal in English football. He’s now scored three in three.
The Huddersfield loanee got across his marker to expertly head home Luke Chambers’ exquisite deep cross for the opener.
His second was even better. After the Blues patiently probed, Kenlock worked the ball into the front man’s feet and looked for a return pass.
Instead, the big German took one touch, span and rifled a 25-yard effort back across the keeper and in off the left-hand post.
At the other end, Chambers produced several brave headers. His central defensive partner James Collins, though a little ring-rusty on return from injury, also stood firm when called upon.
We’ve seen today’s standard of passing and movement between the boxes on several occasion under Lambert, but a lack of clinicality in both boxes has prevented points accompanying the performances.
Today, it all came together, though granted against opposition looking very sorry for themselves.
Lambert was right to dedicate this win to the travelling fans.
He’s right to keep shaking his head and exclaiming that the level of support they are providing both himself and his rock-bottom side is ‘not normal’.
More than 1,400 of them were in the away end today. It will have been a 500-mile, 10-hour round trip from Suffolk for many.
They created a real party atmosphere. An array of inflatables – from sharks and flamingos to rubber rings and naked dolls – were thrown around pre kick-off.
Renditions of ‘que sera, sera, whatever will be will be, we’re going to Shrewsbury’ and ‘everything little thing is gunna be alright’ were again given hearty outings.
Town are going down. There’s no reason they can’t have fun doing so.
KIDS AT THE CORE
And here’s why there is such a feelgood factor.
Four academy graduates started, while another stepped off the bench.
Josh Emmanuel was handed only his second outing under Lambert. The young right-back may have seen a late cross cannon in off his shins for an own goal, Collins unable to keep the ball out on the line, but otherwise it was another assured display from the youngster following on from his display at Bristol City.
Myles Kenlock continues to grow in confidence at left-back during this prolonged run of games. He looks to have nailed down a starting spot for next season.
Teddy Bishop and Andre Dozzell started a senior game together for only the second time ever. The former provides dribbling and drive, the latter brings the cleverness and craft. It could be a potent combination in time.
Bishop, who is nursing a slight ankle problem, was replaced by Flynn Downes just after the hour.
Don’t forget that Jack Lankester is to come back from injury, while the likes of Luke Woolfenden, Idris El Mizouni and others will be in the mix next season too.
That’s what provides hope that brighter days are ahead.
DELAYS THE INEVITABLE
The gap to safety remains at 13 points thanks to Millwall’s home win against West Brom today.
Relegation to League One could still be confirmed on Wednesday night, but it seems highly unlikely given that it would take four results to go against the Blues.
Paul Lambert’s men would need to lose at Brentford, while Millwall (at home to QPR), Reading (at Norwich) and Wigan (at Hull) would all need to win.
After that, Town host Birmingham at Portman Road then face Preston (away on Good Friday) and Swansea (home on Easter Monday).