Stu says: Seven observations following Ipswich Town’s 1-0 loss at Brentford
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Ipswich Town lost 1-0 at Brentford in a Championship match this afternoon. STUART WATSON gives his thoughts.
The 72nd penalty that decided this forgettable affair was soft in the extreme.
Jonas Knudsen bumped into Sergi Canos as the pair contested a straight ball into the box. Inexperienced referee Robert Jones – whose pedantic whistling didn’t help the flow of an already poor game – immediately pointed to the spot.
Knudsen’s initial reaction was one of bemusement and then of anger. He was booked for his protests and Neal Maupay converted from the spot.
Both keepers made good reaction saves at either end of the match – Bartosz Bialkowski adjusting superbly to deny Maupay with his legs in the 10th minute and Daniel Bentley keeping out Grant Ward’s fierce volley with four minutes to go.
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Beyond that there were very few chances of note. This was a game of very little urgency or quality. It had a flat mid-table feel about it throughout.
Did Town deserve to lose? Probably not. But you also sensed that could play for days and not score either. How many times have we said that? This was a carbon copy of the 1-0 defeats at Bristol City and Birmingham recently.
Following Monday’s entertaining and open 2-2 home draw with Millwall, Mick McCarthy said: “I loved it, it was terrific, but you can have those exciting games - I will take a boring 1-0 win over all of them. Sorry.”
It was the latest in his long line of hollow apologies this season.
There’s nothing to lose in these end of season dead rubbers, but the Blues boss reverted to ultra-pragmatism mode.
Bersant Celina, Mustapha Carayol, Ben Folami and Grant Ward were all on the bench.
With a back five and a workmanlike midfield selected, there was very little guile or attacking game-plan. Hopeful balls lofted into the channels became increasingly painful to watch.
Freddie Sears was continually asked to chase lost causes. Martyn Waghorn dropped deeper and deeper in an attempt to be involved.
It’s all so predictable. As previously stated; win, draw or lose so many of these games blur into one.
That’s now five blanks in the last six games. Since beating Reading 2-0 at home in mid-December, the Blues have scored just 12 goals in 20 games.
This was another game where Town produced just one shot on target. Only rock-bottom Burton have worse stats when it comes to average attempts on goal per game.
Ipswich are now winless in six with two points gained from a possible 18. This is the club’s worst run of form since Paul Jewell was sacked in 2012. Town are down to 14th in the table. Last season’s 16th place finish, remember, was the worst in 58 years.
To make matters worse, rivals Norwich won 3-1 against Aston Villa and have leapfrogged Town in the standings.
Cole Skuse sat out this one after taking a bang to the head on Easter Monday. Luke Chambers’ season now looks over after he was forced off with cracked ribs.
You can almost name a team, and a pretty strong one at that, out of the long-term absentees now: Dean Gerken, Chambers, Dominic Iorfa, Emyr Huws, Teddy Bishop, Tom Adeyemi, Andre Dozzell, Joe Garner and David McGoldrick.
Adam Wesbter and Luke Hyam have also missed big chunks of the campaign too.
Reaction to McCarthy
Once more, Town’s players gave McCarthy every drop of effort – but that’s never been the criticism.
The fans, having enjoyed Monday’s home game, made it clear they were less than impressed with some more binary boredom.
A small section chanted ‘cheerio, cheerio’ to McCarthy as he went down the tunnel right in front of them at half-time. In the second half, some of the more toxic chants were given an outing.
More worrying was the half-hearted response when the Blues forced two late corners right in front of the away end. Normally that sparks a roar of encouragement, but right now apathy rules.
The dawn of a new era, and a much-needed injection of hope and excitement, can’t come quick enough. Right now everything feels so predictable.
Huge credit to Luke Hyam for producing a mature display on a very difficult afternoon.
It was almost two years ago to the day that Hyam’s early challenge – strong, but fair – unfortunately left Bees winger Alan Judge with a badly broken leg at Portman Road.
This was only Judge’s second start since then. Hyam has only recently returned to action himself after long-term injuries.
Brentford fans greeted every single one of Hyam’s touches with a cacophony of boos. He never once lost his cool thouh. If anything he was probably Town’s most composed player.
The homegrown midfielder is out of contract this summer, but has done himself no harm with some of his comeback displays.