Sunday Snap: Town’s shower scene, Evans’ celebrations, a fashion show and Rovers’ funny appointment
Ipswich Town beat Bristol Rovers 2-0 yesterday. Andy Warren looks back at the events surrounding the game.
This is a brave new world for everyone involved with Ipswich Town and football in general, and nothing exemplified that more than the scenes after the final whistle yesterday.
Coronavirus protocols meant the Blues were not in the Memorial Stadium’s away dressing room but were instead housed in a cider bar at the back of the Thatchers Terrace – an area of the ground usual packed with fans before, during and after games.
Naturally there are no showers meaning, in the minutes after securing victory, the Ipswich players shuffled one-by-one, with nothing but towels round their waists, out into the stands, round the pitch and down to the changing rooms to clean off.
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On display were a few awkward grins, a host of tattoos of various quality and one player wearing nothing but a pair of pants, complete with a giant ice pack shoved down them, applied to the most tender of all the areas.
I pity any club going to Bristol Rovers in December or January, with winter at its most bitter.
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Eat my goal
This will have been a special day for Jack Lankester – one that would have seemed so far away as he battled two nasty back injuries over the last 20 months.
But, 609 days on from his last competitive appearance, he was back with a bang as his excellent cross forced Max Ehmer into an own goal before a nice ball into the path of Jon Nolan (who may or may not have been the man with the previously mentioned ice pack), for the midfielder to slot home.
This was just Lankester’s 12th appearance for the Blues, with his only goal coming at the very start of 2019 against Millwall, and, as he trudged around the pitch in his towel, joked he wanted to claim Ehmer’s own goal as his own, given the cross was heading towards the net before being diverted home. The club did use his goal gif to celebrate, after all.
He’ll have a hard time getting that one past the dubious goals panel, but that shouldn’t downplay just how impressive this cameo appearance was.
Two assists in the space of nine minutes did the job for the Blues. You have to believe there’s plenty more to come from the 20-year-old.
A happy man
Town owner Marcus Evans was in attendance once again, with the supremo kicking every ball as one of the only supporters in the ground.
Evans spent plenty of time talking to boss Paul Lambert and general manager Lee O’Neill, while also offering elbow bumps to every member of the Town squad prior to kick-off.
The Town owner was sitting a few rows in front of the press box during this game and is clearly invested in his side’s fortunes as well as being all-aboard the rollercoaster ridden by thousands of fans every weekend.
His relief was plain to see when Nolan wrapped up the game, with Evans slapping his hands together and punching the air.
Whisper is quietly, but Town are top of the league. We all know the table counts for little at this stage, but if you’re going to be anywhere in it, you may as well be top.
You only have to roll back three years for the last time the Blues opened a season with two successive league wins, as Mick McCarthy’s men beat Birmingham and Barnsley to get off to a flying start.
But you have to go back significantly further to find the last time Town achieved two wins without conceding, with that coming in 1993/94 courtesy of wins over Oldham and Southampton.
The good news is win number three followed back then, with another clean sheet in a 1-0 success over Chelsea.
Rochdale aren’t quite the same proposition as Chelsea, but the same result will do just fine.
Town’s new away kit, admirably made using sustainable materials, has certainly split opinion since its launch earlier this summer.
But those who love it are going to have to wait a little longer to see it in competitive action for the first time.
Rovers’ Blue and white quarters mean Town’s silver and aqua number was unusable in this game, meaning instead they reverted back to last season’s Barcelona-style away kit with the current Carers Trust sponsor.
For those who, like me, care deeply about these things, the kit was worn not with last season’s maroon shorts, but with dark blue clash ones which include yellow adidas stripes and a red flash. I’m a fan.
Sadly there was no return for the yellow socks which made a one-off outing at AFC Wimbledon earlier this year. They were a thing of beauty.
So, when will the new kit make its first appearance?
Unless it’s worn ahead of schedule, on a day when Ipswich could easily wear blue, there’s every chance it won’t see action until the visit to Peterborough on December 19. Here’s my guess, though. Plymouth away, earlier that month, will be the kit’s debut.
PS: Tomas Holy’s blue and black keepers kit is lush.
Not a laughing matter
There was a new face on the Rovers bench this weekend following the appointment of a new goalkeeping coach.
We can confirm that the new coach is in fact David Coles, formerly of West Ham, rather than 80s comic Bobby Davro, as social media seemed convinced it was.
The name game
On the subject of Bristol Rovers’ goalkeepers, Is there a better pair of goalkeeping names in League One than the Gas duo of Anssi Jaakkola and Jordi van Stappershoef? The answer, is no.
There’s only one...
Viewers on iFollow and BBC Radio Suffolk listeners were treated to the tones of Marcus Stewart during this game, as he took on co-commentary duty alongside regular commentator Brenner Woolley.
But how many goals would Stewart, a Bristol boy who played for and then coached Rovers either side of his Town spell, have scored had he been on the pitch in his heyday?
A fair few is the answer, with Gwion Edwards’ skip round the goalkeeper and subsequent shot, the Welshman’s cut inside onto his left foot and then Oli Hawkins late header exactly the kind of chances he used to gobble up.