Sunday Snap: Hundred up, football friends, Holy plays the pain game and an overdue confession
Ipswich Town drew 1-1 at MK Dons yesterday. Andy Warren looks at the events surrouding the game.
Master 1-1 Apprentice
All square in the first meeting of master and apprentice.
Paul Lambert’s the master, managing 560 games in English football, many of which saw him take charge of apprentice Russell Martin, who played under the Town boss at both Wycombe and Norwich.
Martin’s managed just 29 games but has made a decent start to life in the dugout, with this result surely a pleasing one.
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On another day, though, he could easily have been celebrating a victory over a manager who led him to two promotions in two seasons at Norwich, given his Dons side were the better team for long spells of this game.
But, as Lambert stressed in the build-up to the contest, it’s wins that truly count, rather than playing good football and dominating matches.
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Made to wait
In the build-up to this game, forward Freddie Sears admitted he might hand free-kick duty over to a team-mate at Stadium MK, also dangling the news that captain Luke Chambers fancies set-pieces.
Sadly, we didn’t get a chance to see if the skipper was the chosen one in this game, given the Blues never had a free-kick within shooting range.
Andre Dozzell took set-pieces from deep, given the need for Chambers to be in the box, but we’ll have to wait and see whether he gets the chance in the next game.
I wasn’t fortunate enough to witness it myself but I’m led to believe Chambers has once stood over a free-kick and fired it high and wide into the stands in Ipswich blue. But, you know what, I honestly wouldn’t put it past him to find the top or bottom corner and celebrate wildly.
I don’t think the skipper gets enough credit for his crossing ability, so why not a threatening free-kick?
Six years after his debut against Fulham in August 2014, Teddy Bishop has finally reached his Ipswich Town century.
We all know the injury trouble Bishop’s faced along the way and, while he didn’t have his best game against the Dons, it’s been so good to see him be able to express himself and show us all the talent we all know he possesses.
He may still have only completed 90 minutes on three occasions, but it’s really beginning to look like those fitness concerns are well and truly behind him. He’s begun to add goals, too, with two already in the league this season.
I can only begin to imagine the sheer amount of mental strength required over those dark times, so all credit to him for making it happen and not giving in.
So, 2,244 days on from his debut, here’s to the next hundred.
The Jon Nolan ice pack award
This week’s award, newly named in honour of the outrageously big ice pack applied to Jon Nolan’s groin at Bristol Rovers, goes to Town keeper Tomas Holy.
The Czech keeper, who had a mixed bag of an afternoon at Stadium MK, took a painful blow in the second half as he spilled Scott Fraser’s shot and then blocked Callum Brittain’s effort with his most tender area.
The scream travelled to all corners of the ground but thankfully he was fine to carry on.
It was a case of friends reunited all over the pitch at Stadium MK.
It started in the dugout, where Lambert was of course going head-to-head with Martin, with the Town boss also enjoying a good catch-up with Dons’ Lasse Sorenson, his former Stoke player, at full-time.
Lambert also enjoyed a lengthy chat with fellow Celtic alumni Alan McInally, who also played in Germany don’t you know, after their post-match interview for Sky Sports, having also spent a good period of time in discussion with owner Marcus Evans and general manager Lee O’Neill. It was almost as if speaking to the local media wasn’t at the top of his priority list.
Aside from Lambert, both Stephen Ward and Alan Judge were clearly pleased to see former Ireland team-mate Richard Keogh, Luke Chambers and Dons boss Martin clearly know each other from the football wedding circuit, while the Shrewsbury branch of the Football Friends club hosted a meeting between former Shropshire team-mates Toto Nsiala and Carlton Morris.
An ode to a legend
I make no apologies for what is to follow. In my heart of hearts, this week’s Sunday Snap should really have begun with this item.
In many ways it feels good to get this off my chest.
It was once again an honour to be in the presence of greatness during this game, witnessing a man who has become an icon (in the mind of me and plenty of Dons fans) doing what he does best.
This was game number 764 of Dean Lewington’s MK Dons career, a remarkable achievement given the club has played just 866 times in its entire history. That means Lewington has played in 88% of the Dons’ matches, having been with the club when it moved from Wimbledon.
He’s played more times for Dons than Mick Mills did for Ipswich (741). Remarkable.
He’s a player I’ve had a strange fascination with for several years, verging on an unhealthy one.
He’s become known simply as ‘The Dean’ in my circle of friends and we’ve imagined stories of he and Dons owner Pete Winkleman getting up to all kinds of mischief in Milton Keynes. Two lords of the manor, two lads, living it large. I hope they are reality and not simply a fantasy.
I’m not sure what it is about him. Maybe it’s simply an admiration of his commitment to one club, the fact he’s still playing every week at 36, his barrel chest, his beautiful ginger locks or the fact he was sent off for violent conduct the first time I was lucky enough to see him play live, back in 2012.
A union between a club not always accepted by the football community and a player like Lewington is a perfect marriage. It’s like he’s the leader of a band of outlaws.
There was a brief moment where buying a ‘Lewington 3’ shirt from the Dons’ club shop yesterday. Thankfully Stuart Watson talked me down.
During a podcast we recorded with Dean Bowditch in January I couldn’t resist asking his former MK Dons team-mate all about him. The former Town man couldn’t have spoken more highly of the left-back and suggested he may just carry on playing forever.
I hope he’s right. He should be enshrined in bronze somewhere.
My name’s Andy Warren and I’m a Dean addict.
It feels good to get it out in the open.