Stu says: Five observations after Ipswich Town lose 3-2 at home to Bristol City
- Credit: Picture: Steve Waller
Ipswich Town lost 3-2 at home to Bristol City tonight. STUART WATSON gives his observations.
Ipswich Town twice led through superb Freddie Sears goals in the 32nd and 58th minute respectively either side of a horrible Bartosz Bialkowski own goal.
They were playing well. Bristol City came into this game on the back of four straight defeats. It felt, for all the world, that this would be lift-off for Paul Lambert and the start of the great escape.
Just like against Preston and Reading, however, they managed to not get the job done. And this time they didn’t even have a point to show for it.
Town switched off to allow Jamie Paterson to equalise just seconds after getting their noses back in front. Five minutes later, an unkind deflection led to Famara Diedhiou heading home what proved to be the winner.
After some favourable results on Tuesday night, the gap to safety could have been cut to three. Instead, it remains at six heading into away games against Nottingham Forest and Stoke.
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No doubt about it, this is a major body blow that Town will do well to recover from.
‘OH FREDDIE, FREDDIE…’
There was a time not so long ago that Freddie Sears looked devoid of confidence during a lengthy goal drought. Well it’s safe to say he’s got his mojo back again now.
The 29-year-old has scored four goals in Lambert’s first four games.
It just goes to show he can be an attacking threat, as well as a bundle of energy and defensively diligent, playing wide left.
There just seems to be so much more conviction about him in the final third again. His crucial opener was evidence of that.
He barely broke is stride when taking Cole Skuse’s diagonal pass beautifully on his thigh before driving inside and carefully placing a side-footed finish inside the far post.
His second was equally impressive. When Skuse’s shot was blocked on the edge of the box he took one touch and rifled a low shot inside the bottom corner.
OWN WORST ENEMY
It’s fair to say that the main area of concern among fans was where the goals were going to come from.
Well Town have scored seven in Lambert’s four games and still not managed to win.
That’s because they keep shooting themselves in the foot defensively.
Yes, Bristol City’s winner came after Lloyd Kelly’s low cross took a nasty deflection up off Luke Chambers’ heel to leave Diedhiou with a simple headed finish.
However, Bialkowski’s own goal was not good. The Polish international pushed Kelly’s low cross straight into the on-running Diedhiou and then, losing his bearings, ended up clawing the ricochet into his own net when the ball was actually going comfortably wide.
Equally as bad was the second equaliser. It came just second after Sears had raised the roof. The Robins had down well to dig out a cross from near the corner flag, but Paterson should never have been afforded that much room to score from close-range.
And so the wait for a home win goes on.
Ipswich Town have now gone 233 days and 11 matches without a victory in front of their own fans (1-0 against Barnsley in Mick McCarthy’s final match).
It’s an unwanted club record run that can’t now be halted until Wigan visit in little more than a fortnight’s time.
This match was played in front of a crowd of 13,726 – a stark reduction of more than 9,000 from the home game against West Brom (for which ticket prices were heavily reduced) five days earlier.
Town have actually only won two games at Portman Road this calendar year (the other a 1-0 against Leeds back in January).
No other team in the Football League or National League is without a league victory on home soil this season.
Lambert has injected fire into players and fans alike with his touchline energy.
When Gwion Edwards crashed into a tackle his momentum took him into the Bristol City technical area and a collision with Robins boss Lee Johnson.
Lambert and fitness coach Jim Henry (a former Scottish judo champion) raced across mouths frothing and fingers jabbing.
It geed up the crowd after an edgy start and also served as a message to Town players that their boss has got their backs.
The way in which Lambert and his new backroom team have instilled such togetherness in such a short space of time is remarkable.
The concern is that such positivity could dissipate if that first win doesn’t come soon.