Stu says: Eight talking points from Ipswich Town’s 2-2 draw at Hull City

Jordan Spence celebrates his late leveller in Saturday's 2-2 draw at Hull. Photo: Pagepix

Jordan Spence celebrates his late leveller in Saturday's 2-2 draw at Hull. Photo: Pagepix - Credit: Pagepix Ltd

Ipswich Town drew 2-2 at Hull City in a Championship match this afternoon. STUART WATSON highlights the key talking points.

Unchanged

Mick McCarthy rarely tinkers with a winning side, so it was no real surprise to see him stick with the same team which started the 3-0 home win against Preston prior to the international break.

The free-scoring front four of Martyn Waghorn, David McGoldrick, Bersant Celina and Joe Garner were protected by holding midfielders Cole Skuse and Callum Connolly.

With this the first of five games in a busy 15 day schedule though, expect some squad rotation in the near future. The fit-again Emyr Huws, who has three Under-23 outings under his belt following a troublesome Achilles injury, wasn’t in the 18 today but may well be on the bench for next Wednesday’s visit of Sheffield Wednesday or the quickfire away trips to Aston Villa and Derby.

David McGoldrick scores during the first half for Ipswich at Hull Picture Pagepix

David McGoldrick scores during the first half for Ipswich at Hull Picture Pagepix - Credit: Pagepix Ltd

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Didn’t go for the kill

David McGoldrick scores during the first half for Ipswich at Hull Picture Pagepix

David McGoldrick scores during the first half for Ipswich at Hull Picture Pagepix - Credit: Pagepix Ltd

It was a dream start. Allan McGregor made a fine save to keep out Joe Garner’s glancing header. From the ensuing corner, the ball fell loose in the box and David McGoldrick picked his spot for his eighth goal of the campaign.

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Hull, who had lost three on the spin prior to the international break, suddenly looked very edgy. A string of home players gave the ball away under zero pressure. The crowd’s protests chants against the club’s Egyptian owners’ intensified.

McCarthy’s men were energetic and organised, it was a decent first half performance, but perhaps they could have pushed a little harder for a killer second when the opposition was on the ropes.

Ipswich celebrate David McGoldrick's first half strike at Hull Picture Pagepix

Ipswich celebrate David McGoldrick's first half strike at Hull Picture Pagepix - Credit: Pagepix Ltd

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Achilles’ heel

There was little Town could do about the 34th minute equaliser. Polish winger Kamil Grosicki produced a neat trick on the turn, his low cross took an unfortunate deflection off Adam Webster’s trailing leg and that allowed Jarrod Bowen to ram the ball home at the far post.

Hull equalise during the first half with a goal from Bowen Picture Pagepix

Hull equalise during the first half with a goal from Bowen Picture Pagepix - Credit: Pagepix Ltd

Hull’s second, scored in the 51st minute, definitely goes down on the ever-growing list of soft goals conceded though.

Luke Chambers misjudged a long ball, headed it straight up in the air and was then crowded out as it dropped out the sky. Nouha Dicko profited with a cool one-on-one finish.

It was a real bodyblow considering Town had started the second half positively enough, with Jonas Knudsen’s low cross blocked behind and Celina’s fierce effort palmed away within seconds of the restart.

Bartosz Bialkowski is beaten by Nouha Dicko for Hull's second goal Picture Pagepix

Bartosz Bialkowski is beaten by Nouha Dicko for Hull's second goal Picture Pagepix - Credit: Pagepix Ltd

• REPORT: Hull City 2 Ipswich Town 2

Fighting spirit

All of a sudden, the Tigers’ tails were up. Grosicki and Dicko both fired just wide and Town got fired up.

Martyn Waghorn wins a second half penalty at Hull after tangling with Stewart Picture Pagepix

Martyn Waghorn wins a second half penalty at Hull after tangling with Stewart Picture Pagepix - Credit: Pagepix Ltd

Joe Garner plays on the edge at the best of times and he got about as close to the line as you can get. First the striker was booked for a robust aerial collision with Michael Hector. Seconds later he won a foul, but then tried to aggressively wrestle the ball out the arms of Hector in order to take the set-piece quickly. A long talking to from the referee followed.

Connolly and Knudsen were also cautioned for late tackles.

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The referee points to the spot at Martyn Waghorn appeals for a second half penalty at Hull Picture P

The referee points to the spot at Martyn Waghorn appeals for a second half penalty at Hull Picture Pagepix - Credit: Pagepix Ltd

Paying the penalty

Town were offered a get out of jail free card in the 74th minute when Waghorn danced inside from the right and was tripped just inside the area. Penalty given.

McGoldrick’s effort from the spot lacked conviction though – it was too central and at the right height for McGregor to keep out.

David McGoldrick holds his head after having a second half penalty saved at Hull Picture Pagepix

David McGoldrick holds his head after having a second half penalty saved at Hull Picture Pagepix - Credit: Pagepix Ltd

At that stage you began to think this wasn’t going to be the Blues’ day...

Late drama

There’s a spirit, togetherness and never-say-die attitude about this Town group that is reminiscent of the play-off season of 2014/15.

Jordan Spence celebrates his second half equaliser against Hull Picture Pagepix

Jordan Spence celebrates his second half equaliser against Hull Picture Pagepix - Credit: Pagepix Ltd

They kept going to the end and got their rewards in the 88th minute when Kevin Bru’s deep free-kick was flicked on by Webster and Jordan Spence instinctively stuck out a foot to divert the ball in off the base of the post.

Incredibly, it’s the ninth time Town have scored in the 88th minute or later this season.

There was still time for a hart-in-mouth moment as Hull missed a sitter in stoppage-time. David Meyler bent in a sumptuous cross and fellow substitute Adama Diomande somehow put his close-range stooping header the wrong side of the far post.

Jordan Spence celebrates his second half equaliser against Hull Picture Pagepix

Jordan Spence celebrates his second half equaliser against Hull Picture Pagepix - Credit: Pagepix Ltd

A draw!

This was Town’s first stalemate in 25 games across all competitions – just shy of a club-record run.

They’ll take it. Yes, you can make an argument that this was a missed opportunity against out-of-form opposition, but it feels more like a hard-earned away point gained given how the game panned out.

Ipswich Town fans seemed content with a point at Hull. Picture: PAGEPIX LTD

Ipswich Town fans seemed content with a point at Hull. Picture: PAGEPIX LTD - Credit: Pagepix Ltd

Skuse impressive

A final word on Cole Skuse.

Everyone knows what he brings to the party. A real players’ player, the unsung hero, the man who sits deep in midfield, covers the gaps, intercepts, tidys up messy situations and recycles the ball in fuss-free fashion. He’s the insurance policy. He allows others to play. He’s consistent and durable.

That’s not to say there shouldn’t be a debate over his value to the team. Is all of the above enough? Should central midfielders be able to do a bit of everything? Should they be able to weigh in with at least the odd goal, assist or positive pass? Just as a flair player can be a luxury, so can an out-and-out holding player.

McCarthy dismissed such a debate as ‘pub talk’ last season when Town played some of their best football of a dire campaign during a spell when Skuse was injured. It’s a debate which reared its head again recently when Town looked a more positive team after Skuse limped off, with the score goalless, in the first-half of the 3-0 home win against Preston.

Well here at the KC Stadium, the former Bristol City man – now in the final year of his Blues contract – did it all. He was here, there and everywhere from the first whistle. He popped up in his own box at the vital moments. He pressed energetically in the final third too.

It was a display to keep a lid on that debate for a while. More of that please Cole.

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