Stuart says: Barnsley 1 Ipswich Town 2 – Seven observations as Blues’ super subs strike
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Super subs David McGoldrick and Martyn Waghorn both scored as Ipswich Town secured a come-from-behind victory at Barnsley this afternoon. STUART WATSON analyses what went right for the Blues at Oakwell.
FIRST TIME IN 15 YEARS
The last time Town won their opening three games of the season was back in 2002, the first year after relegation from the Premier League. This year, more than most, the Blues desperately needed a fast start to blow away the ill-feeling which surrounded such a forgettable 2016/17 campaign.
MICK TRUSTS KIDS
A criticism levelled at Mick McCarthy last season was that he didn’t give the kids a fair run in the team. The likes of Andre Dozzell and Josh Emmanuel would start one week and then be out of the squad the next.
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The Blues boss has always insisted that if they are good enough and the situation is right (i.e. not a relegation battle) then he will play homegrown talent.
Teenage midfield duo Flynn Downes and Tristan Nydam kept their places in the starting line-up having impressed in the 2-0 Carabao Cup win at Luton Town in midweek.
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The easy option would have been to drop Nydam and start Bersant Celina or David McGoldrick, but McCarthy trusted in his dynamic duo.
This match was a learning curve for both of them. Nydam – who took all the corners and free-kicks – couldn’t get into the game and was substituted at the break, while Downes was a lot quieter and went off injured in the 77th minute.
BOLD AT THE BREAK
Having won their opening two games with a wing-back system, it was understandable why McCarthy stuck with it.
Barnsley – playing a 4-1-4-1 system – dominated the opening half though, getting plenty of joy down the flanks.
Last season McCarthy’s first thought would have been to make his side harder to break down. Today, he introduced forward duo McGoldrick and Martyn Waghorn off the bench at the interval and switched to a 4-4-2.
McGoldrick partnered Joe Garner up front, while Freddie Sears and Waghorn were on the left and right wings respectively.
Town started the second half on the front foot, built momentum and their super subs both got on the scoresheet.
McGoldrick and Waghorn took their goals expertly. The former swivelled to convert a difficult left-footed volley inside the box, following Jonas Knudsen’s cross.
Waghorn took a touch out his feet and dragged his shot back across the keeper, the ball going in off the base of the foot of the post, following Garner’s through ball.
The duo’s all-round performances were good too.
There was a trademark bodyswerve from McGoldrick which almost carved open a one-on-one and fine flick in the lead-up to Waghorn’s goal.
Waghorn provided an instant lift with his direct running and energy. He produced a raking crossfield pass moments before McGoldrick’s leveller.
BART’S STILL THE MAN!
Town were up against it for much of the first half and had their big Pole in the goal to thank for not being further behind at the break.
Bartosz Bialkowski made smart stops from Tom Bradshaw and George Moncur inside a frenetic opening six minutes.
Most crucially of all, he made a fine double stop a minute before the interval when keeping out Moncur’s one-on-one and getting up to deny Ryan Hedges’ angled follow-up.
And when Barnsley pushed for an equaliser in the closing stages, he was there to tip sub Ashley Barnes’ shot around the post.
Town can lay claim to having the best keeper in the Championship.
JOE’S FIGHTING SPIRIT
Blues fans have fallen in love with striker Joe Garner. The summer recruit from Rangers plays with passion, aggression and a fighting spirit. It lifts the fans and his team-mates when the going gets tough.
One moment epitomised his all-action display. With the scores level he chased what looked a complete lost cause to force a throw-in by the corner flag right in front of the travelling army of supporters. They chanted his name with gusto and for the next five minutes he wanted to battle everyone and everything.
In the first half he produced a lunging block on the line. Right at the end he was there making defensive headers in his own box just like Daryl Murphy used to.
The ex-Preston man looks an absolute snip at £750k.
This Town squad may be fewer in numbers, but it looks to have more depth in terms of quality.
Mccarthy had game-changers to call upon from the bench in the form of McGoldrick and Waghorn.
Celina, so impressive at Luton, was an unused sub. Tommy Smith, Adam Webster, Emyr Huws, Tom Adeyemi, Teddy Bishop and Luke Hyam are all to come back into the equation.
That bodes well for the relentless Saturday-Tuesday action ahead.