Stu says: Five observations following Ipswich Town's 1-0 home defeat to Swansea City
PUBLISHED: 19:02 22 April 2019 | UPDATED: 10:34 23 April 2019
© Copyright Stephen Waller
Ipswich Town lost 1-0 at home to Swansea City this afternoon. STUART WATSON gives his thoughts.
Paul Lambert made seven changes to his team three days on from a 4-0 drubbing at Preston.
This performance was far better, though that is damning with faint praise.
Wayne Routledge's 57th minute rebound finish, after Daniel James' long-ranger had come off the inside of a post, was enough to secure Swansea victory.
The Welsh side, who had lost their previous seven games on the road, looked a team who could go up another gear or two.
Daniel James, who gave Town nightmares with his pace to burn, spurned an early one-on-one chance following a Toto Nsiala lapse in concentration. Dean Gerken made a decent save from James after the break. You could see why they have won games at a canter this season. You could also see how they have been punished by better sides.
Ipswich, by contrast, seem to be running on empty at the end of a torturous campaign.
Town will be Keane
Town have badly lacked a focal point to their attack this season.
Jon Walters' injury harmed them massively in that regard. Ellis Harrison, who now has a back problem, has struggled to stay fit. Kayden Jackson's qualities do not make him suited to the lone striker role.
Will Keane was starting to hit his stride before suffering a hamstring injury at Wigan towards the end of February. He's provided a reminder of what the Blues having been missing sine returning to action over the Easter weekend.
He instantly gave the team a presence when stepping off the bench at Preston. Four days later he dropped into some nice pockets of space, produced some neat touches and gave something for others to feed off of.
Town will be keen to sign him up when his contract at Hull expires this summer.
Keane is a clever player. He's never been prolific though. Town could really do with an out-and-out goalscorer.
Even when they haven't played particularly well, the Blues have created chances under Lambert. They had 18 attempts on goal at Preston and another 15 here today. Few were on target though.
Keane stabbed against the post in the first half after a corner was not cleared. Collin Quaner was twice denied one-on-one by keeper Kristoffer Nordfeldt after stepping off the bench, the offside flag already raised in one instance.
Alan Judge has been revelation since signing for Ipswich Town in January. The announcement of him signing a two-year deal was rightly hailed as a major coup.
The Irishman has, understandably, begun to look a little jaded in recent games though.
He's gone from two years out with a broken leg followed by plenty of bit-part football, to playing 90 minutes week-in, week-out.
Adrenaline probably helped him produce the all-action displays which saw Blues fans quickly take him to their hearts.
The problem with him playing wide left is that, by his own admittance, he will always drift inside to his favoured central role. And that can leave the full-back exposed.
A pre-season will do him the world of good.
After that Town could do with finding a way of making him the centre piece, literally, of their team in League One.
A thank you
Given there's potential for a Leeds promotion party at Portman Road on the final day of the season, Town decided to carry out their traditional 'lap of appreciation' following the conclusion of their penultimate home game of the campaign.
A good number of the 17,247 crowd stayed behind to wait for the squad to re-emerge from the tunnel.
There was warm applause as they walked around the perimeter and then a nice moment as Lambert instructed his players to stand and face the North Stand.
'They've watched us all season, so it was our turn to watch them,' was his explanation afterwards.
This has been an emotionally draining campaign for all invested in Ipswich Town. Somehow, the shared struggle has formed a stronger bond between club and fanbase.