Andy's Angles: Bishop makes his point with superb display and three goals in 5-0 Under 23 win
PUBLISHED: 16:08 28 January 2019 | UPDATED: 17:35 28 January 2019
Ipswich Town's Under 23s beat Millwall 5-0 at Playford Road this afternoon. Andy Warren makes his observations.
YOUNG BLUES STAY ON TOP
Another game, another win for a young Ipswich team dominating their league this season.
The Blues’ Under 23s are now 10 points clear at the top of the Professional Development League Two South table thanks to this 5-0 victory, ahead of a visit to second-placed Crystal Palace next Monday.
Teddy Bishop stole the show with a hat-trick, while Tristan Nydam and Aaron Drinan also netted in what was a ultimately a comfortable victory for an Ipswich side also including Andre Dozzell, Simon Dawkins and Jordan Spence.
There were nervy moments, as Millwall twice hit the woodwork and forced a string of saves from goalkeeper Toby Egan, including a penalty following a Barry Cotter foul, but the hosts were always in control.
Ipswich Town: Egan; Emmanuel, Cotter (Webber 63), Spence, Clements; Nydam (McGavin 75), Dozzell, Bishop; Brown, Dawkins, Drinan
It’s been a long old road for Teddy Bishop.
The hamstring injury he suffered against QPR on Boxing Day 2017 was the latest in a string of blows to the talented midfielder but he’s back fit, is training regularly and, on the evidence of this display, is close to being the player we all know he can be if his body allows.
His three goals were well-taken, particularly the second which saw him combine superbly with Bailey Clements and Dozzell, turn his man inside out and fire home, but it was his all-round display that was the most encouraging.
The midfielder looked to drive through midfield whenever possible and was full-blooded in challenges as the play broke down in the middle of the field.
There was no evidence of injury holding him back as he played the full 90 minutes.
Paul Lambert says he won’t ever make first-team decisions on players based on Under 23 performances but this display from Bishop surely can’t be ignored.
Bishop is out of contract in the summer, so it’s a real boost that he will be able to prove he is deserving of a new one on the field rather than spending time in the treatment room.
A TALE OF THREE RIGHT BACKS
The Ipswich Town back four in this game included three players hoping to catch Paul Lambert’s eye for the right-back role currently held by Matthew Pennington.
It was Josh Emmanuel who got the nod to play in his favoured position, as he made his first Ipswich appearance since being recalled from his loan at Shrewsbury, with Barry Cotter and Jordan Spence paired in the middle of the back four.
Emmanuel grew into the game in the first half as, after a bit of a slow start, he got on top of the battle with Millwall winger Mason Saunders-Henry. He got forward well, too, knocking the ball past his man on a few occasions and delivering dangerous balls into the box. That’s what his game’s all about, but it remains to be seen if Lambert has been suitably impressed.
Cotter has been some distance from the first-team picture since catching the eye in Mick McCarthy’s final game in charge of the Blues but has improved in the Under 23s as the seen has gone on.
He was incredibly vocal in this game, in which he switched to the middle of defence and dominated his man in the air as he showed excellent spring when leaping from the ground before being replaced on the hour mark.
Spence started every one of Lambert’s games in charge but has not been seen since the FA Cup loss at Accrington. He was calm and composed throughout this game and offered words of encouragement to his younger team-mates.
You sense, though, the right-back shirt is Pennington’s for the time being.
MORE MINUTES FOR SIMON
Simon Dawkins is still playing catch-up having not played competitive football since the tail end of 2017, prior to signing for the Blues earlier this month.
The winger is neat and tidy in everything he does, protects the ball well and looks to use it effectively.
He was a little quiet, though and had few opportunities to run at his man while also firing a couple of shots over the bar.
With Harry Wright taking a break for this game to give a knock to his knee a rest, it was 18-year-old Toby Egan who played between the sticks for the young Blues.
His penalty save from Lewis White was good, but the highlight was a stunning second-half double stop as he blocked a well-hit volley before getting to his feet to claw the rebound away.