Stu says: Season in a nutshell and gallows humour as Town are on brink - thoughts from Brentford defeat
PUBLISHED: 10:56 11 April 2019 | UPDATED: 12:19 11 April 2019
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Ipswich Town lost 2-0 at Brentford last night to take a step nearer relegation. STUART WATSON gives his thoughts on the game.
Season in a nutshell
Don’t take chances, defend dreadfully – Town’s entire season was summed up in less than a minute of action.
Collin Quaner raced away one-on-one following Andre Dozzell’s perfectly-weighted through ball. Instead of going low and hard with his shot, he attempted a dink beyond keeper Luke Daniels and the ball came back off the left-hand post.
Brentford went straight up the other end and the clinical Neal Maupay rifled home, despite being forced wide, for his 25th goal of the campaign.
That was in the 20th minute. Eight minutes later, Flynn Downes slipped horribly on the halfway line and that led to Said Benrahma presenting Ollie Watkins with a simple far post tap-in.
Brentford came into this game with a +20 goal difference at Griffin Park. In 2019, they’ve put five past Blackburn and Hull, as well as three past Stoke, QPR and Derby.
This always had the potential to get messy.
Town were dragged all over the place by the buzzing Bees’ constant movement.
Bartosz Bialkowski had to stick out a leg to turn a Watkins shot around the post not long after the opener.
Maupay constantly found pockets of space when drifting into the left channel. The Frenchman fired narrowly wide from the edge of the box, while Luke Chambers had to dig out a dangerous low cross from Benrahma.
Thomas Frank’s men could have been out of sight come the break. After the restart, Benrahma swept a first-time effort against the bar, Maupay fizzed a fine effort inches wide, while Watkins poked just the wrong side of the near post.
Thankfully they took their foot off the gas slightly after that. Substitutions subsequently saw the game drift somewhat.
Town could have actually nicked a goal back towards the end, but Judge shot across the face of goal from a good position inside the box.
This was more 4-1-4-1 than 4-3-3 from Town. Four of that five-man midfield were homegrown youngsters. All of them are best playing through the middle.
Andre Dozzell played in an unfamiliar right-side role, with Trevoh Chalobah sitting behind a central two of Teddy Bishop and Downes. Judge, back at is former club, was again wide left.
For all the excitement surrounding a team being built around academy graduates, this was perhaps a timely reminder that they will need some street-wise, experienced footballers around them going forwards.
It was perhaps an example of not knowing what you’ve got til it’s not there with Cole Skuse absent.
Dark humour and fake news
More than 1,600 Town fans packed the charming two-tiered away end at Griffin Park. Just like at Bolton last weekend, they were determined to have a good time.
You’d be forgiven for thinking Ipswich had scored the opener such was the immediacy with which the Blues fans turned up the volume. A blue smoke bomb was even let off as an act of defiance.
When the second goal went in, again right in front of the travelling army, a rendition of ‘everything is gunna be alright’ was given it’s now usual hearty rendition.
Then came the dark humour.
Up went the cry of ‘let’s pretend we’ve scored a goal’. Those fake celebrations, which were very realistic, were followed by chants of ‘1-0 to the Ipswich’.
In the second half there were songs about ‘going on a League One tour’ and ‘going down; straight back up’.
Brentford fans looked utterly bemused by it all.
Town went into this game knowing four results had to go against them for an ‘r’ to officially appear next to their name.
Come half-time three quarters of that equation were in place, with Reading and Wigan winning at Norwich and Hull respectively.
In the end, Wigan went on to lose, Norwich secured a point, while Millwall also drew at home to QPR.
At least it meant those chirpy Canaries couldn’t lay some perverse claim to being the ones that put the final nail in the coffin.
Town have to beat Birmingham at home on Saturday to stand any chance of prolonging the agony. Even that might not be enough for it to be mathematically over.