Stuart says: Seven observations from Ipswich Town’s home 1-0 defeat to Norwich City
- Credit: Picture: Steve Waller
Ipswich Town’s misery in the East Anglian derby continued with a 1-0 defeat to Norwich City at Portman Road this lunchtime. STUART WATSON analyses the match.
Blues boss Mick McCarthy said pre-match that he was happy for this to be a ‘rip-roaring, ultra-competitive’ derby.
Town – lining up with an attack-minded 4-3-3 system - played with intensity from the first whistle, pressing high, smashing into tackles and picking up the bits and pieces. New-look Norwich, whose team had little experience of this fixture, looked vulnerable under such an onslaught.
Whenever the intensity levels dropped slightly, however, Norwich’s talented front players of James Maddison and Wes Hoolahan linked up well.
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Town looked more likely to smash the door down, City more likely to pick the lock.
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Not that long ago it was Danny Haynes who was dubbed the ‘Canary crusher’ by Town fans for his repeated derby scoring exploits.
Danish left-back Jonas Knudsen took on that mantle last season by netting in both of the 1-1 draws and joked last week that maybe he’d score a winner this time around. He would, he said, take a shot at any opportunity.
Less than five minutes played and that opportunity arrived. Ivo Pinto made a hash of dealing with Joe Garner’s sweeping low cross at the back post, Knudsen pounced and unleashed a fine outside of the boot effort on the angle. The crowd held their breath, Angus Gunn was well beaten, but the ball came back off the inside of the post.
Following two years of injury frustration, David McGoldrick has been back at his talismanic best at the start of this season.
There are times when the talented forward tries too much though. In the 16th minute he fired over from long-range with Knudsen bombing down the left. Moments later he ran into traffic just when it looked like the Blues could attack in numbers.
And it was him who wasted a gilt-edged chance to break the deadlock in the 40th minute when heading Martyn Waghorn’s free-kick delivery over from an unmarked position just six-yards out.
Less than 10 minutes after the restart, McGoldrick glanced a diving header just wide. This one was a much tougher chance, but at that stage you wondered whether the Blues would be left to rue missed opportunities.
All so wrong down the right
It’s felt like the right-hand side has been Town’s Achilles heel for some time now. The hope was that shifting captain Luke Chambers inside this season would address that. It hasn’t.
Dominic Iorfa had a torrid time in the 1-0 defeat at Sheffield United last weekend and was replaced by Jordan Spence at right-back. Spence proceeded to have an absolute nightmare.
He looked a nervous wreck from the first minute. He dived into tackles rashly, was booked in the 31st minute, got beaten in foot races and gave the ball away sloppily under little pressure.
It was no surprise that Norwich’s goal came from a left-sided attack.
Another sloppy goal conceded
Mick McCarthy prides himself on his sides being hard-working, organised and tough to beat. They’ve conceded some really sloppy goals this season though. That’s now 18 leaked in 12 Championship games.
In Town’s defence, Cole Skuse had just returned to the field after receiving treatment at the time of James Maddison’s 59th goal. They still should have done much, much more.
Spence backed off Yanic Wildschut, the ball was worked inside and Maddison was left in acres of space to side-foot home. It was all too easy.
There was a horrible sense of inevitability about the result from that point onwards. Town had run out of energy and ideas. The atmosphere went flat. The game drifted. We’ve seen this situation far too often at Portman Road in recent years.
Misery in numbers
Town have now not beaten Norwich in nine meetings (D3 L6). The insufferable sound of chirping Canaries gets even louder.
A win today could have reignited the feelgood factor at Town, in the short-term at the very least. Defeat may well see the mood return to the toxic levels of last season.
Town were eight points ahead of Norwich not so long ago. They are now four points behind their rivals. Daniel Farke’s men, unbeaten in nine across all competitions, move into the top six and have a League Cup tie at Arsenal on Tuesday night.
The Blues won their opening four in the league, but have now have lost six of their last eight to drop to 11th. Their two wins in that spell came against the division’s bottom two sides – Bolton and Sunderland.
And there’s a tough-looking run of fixtures on the horizon, starting with quickfire away trips to Burton and Cardiff.