Taking a look back at an up-and-down 2015 for Ipswich Town

Ipswich Town v Norwich City FC.
Sky Bet Championship.
Paul Anderson scores for Town taking them to

Ipswich Town v Norwich City FC. Sky Bet Championship. Paul Anderson scores for Town taking them to 1-1 in the first half. - Credit: Archant

Alex Mitchell takes a look back at Ipswich Town’s 2015 and hands out his end of year awards.

Alex Mitchell has named Daryl Murphy as his player of the year for 2015

Alex Mitchell has named Daryl Murphy as his player of the year for 2015 - Credit: Archant

Town’s 1-0 win at Brighton last Tuesday brought their 2015 efforts to an end in what could be described as an up-and-down calendar year. There were highs, including Town finishing in the play-offs, and definite lows, (let’s not mention the second leg) but overall it was a year that fans can be satisfied with.

In the 46 games the Tractor Boys played, they picked up 71 points, a tally that would usually see a team finish around 8th place in the Championship.

January and February saw Town get 2015 off to a slow start. Town won four out of nine games in the league, including defeats against Derby, Brighton, Rotherham and Reading. Highlights of this period would be either the 5,000 strong Ipswich away end at Southampton in the FA Cup, or Daryl Murphy’s brace away at Fulham which kept Ipswich in the hunt for automatic promotion.

March began rather nastily with defeats at Norwich and Leeds, a draw at home to play-off rivals Brentford, followed by a 4-1 humiliation at Middlesbrough on Sky, before two wins to end the month lifted our promotion hopes once again. My moment of the year occurred in March, as Richard Chaplow ran through and scored in the 96th minute at Watford, sending myself and 2,000 other Town fans into delirium.

Freddie Sears picked up the signing of the season award

Freddie Sears picked up the signing of the season award - Credit: Archant

Town began April back in the play-offs, and when it mattered most Ipswich’s home form was strong enough to see us end the month three points in the top six with only one game to go. Wins against Blackpool, Cardiff and Nottingham Forest, and a 1-1 away draw at play-off rivals Wolves saw a strong end to April.

May saw Town’s season come to an end in bleak fashion. Derby losing 3-0 at home to Reading was the only reason Town finished in the play-offs as we limped to a 3-2 defeat at Blackburn, and that meant for an East Anglian derby in the play-offs. Eventually, after a hard-fought first leg, Norwich were too strong and beat us 4-2 on aggregate, with Christophe Berra having to watch from the dressing room after receiving his red card.

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Despite this defeat, it had been a fantastic season that Ipswich fans could be proud of, with Mick McCarthy’s team of free agents and not wanted players, going up against multimillion pound squads.

Dean Gerken is Alex Mitchell's most improved player

Dean Gerken is Alex Mitchell's most improved player - Credit: Archant

The summer was good in terms of transfers, with Town beginning the 2015/16 campaign with a better squad on paper than the one that began a year before. Brett Pitman and Jonathan Douglas brought good experience to the team and acquiring Ryan Fraser on loan was also an exciting addition.

August began with a 2-2 draw at Brentford, and yes Ipswich should certainly have won the game, but after reflecting on what happened at Griffin Park I was excited about the season ahead. Three straight wins in the league had Town in top spot, before a 3-2 defeat at home to Brighton halted what had been an excellent start.

September was a disappointing month. A 5-1 thrashing away at Reading (again on Sky!) came out of the blue and home draws against Birmingham and Bristol City were also fairly poor. A trip to Manchester United was probably the highlight of the month, not because of the result obviously, simply the occasion.

October was a month Town fans would rather forget. Two defeats, three draws, one goal in five games, three points from a possible 15, and a 95th minute Liam Trotter equaliser for Forest. In fact, I’d rather not talk about it. It was awful.

Richard Chaplow's late winner at Watford was Alex Mitchell's moment of the year

Richard Chaplow's late winner at Watford was Alex Mitchell's moment of the year - Credit: Archant

November was much better, with Murphy finally finding his shooting boots in a 5-2 win at Rotherham and a 3-0 win at Charlton. A 2-2 home draw against Wolves was the only disappointment, but that wasn’t enough to stop McCarthy and Murphy picking up manager and player of the month respectively.

December saw Town play six games, winning four and losing two. Town matched a record that had stood since 1976 when they won 1-0 at Brighton, their fifth straight away win, but losing at home to both Middlesbrough and Derby was highly frustrating.

Overall, as you can see, it was a year of ups and downs, and Town will be hoping for a better start to 2016 to really cement their promotion push.

ALEX MITCHELL HANDS OUT HIS AWARDS:

PLAYER OF THE YEAR: For me it’s a choice between Daryl Murphy, Freddie Sears and Cole Skuse. Skuse is a player that we cannot really function without, and Freddie’s energy and creativity cannot be matched, but with 17 goals in the calendar year, I’ll go with Murphy.

SIGNING OF THE YEAR: As he was close for Player of the Year, I think this has to be Freddie Sears. He scored 15 goals for Town during 2015, and he never stops running and trying his hardest for the team.

MOST IMPROVED: I think Dean Gerken gets this award. I was one that questioned Gerks getting that no.1 spot back, but especially in the current season, he’s been fantastic with some very important saves recently.

MOMENT OF THE YEAR: Richard Chaplow vs Watford. That feeling was incredible. Paul Anderson against Norwich is a close second, but there’s just something about a last-minute winner that you cannot beat.

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