The Verdict: Divided fanbase after another Coventry draw
Game of two halves
Town’s second encounter with Coventry at St Andrews was quite literally a game of two halves. The first 45 minutes was possible the most complete performance of the season so far. Away from home, against a Coventry team who had accumulated 23 points out of a possibly 30 at their temporary home, Town blew them apart.
Jon Nolan missed a glorious chance with a glancing header, similar to the one he scored previously at MK Dons followed by Alan Judge failing to get anything on Gwion Edwards’ cross / shot, any contact would have been a goal. Will Keane then deservedly put Town 1-0 with a thumping header from a well worked corner between Judge and Dozzell. Will Keane then nearly doubled his and Town’s lead but he saw a header come back against the woodwork and just before the break Luke Garbutt put a difficult volley wide of the target.
Not only were we creating chance after chance, we were playing some sublime football. From back to front, it was free-flowing, it was quick, it was a joy to watch. The only worry I had at half time was we hadn’t killed Coventry off, surely we couldn’t be that good for 90 minutes, surely Coventry won’t be that bad for 90 minutes. Oh how right I was, the second was certainly a different game entirely.
There was surprisingly only one change from the side which drew with Coventry the pervious Sunday in the FA Cup, with Gwion Edwards replacing Danny Rowe, who has picked up a niggle in his knee. Luke Chambers missed out through a neck injury, KVY still sidelined until February, Cole Skuse only fit enough for a 20 minute cameo of the bench, Norwood suspended after picking up his fifth yellow card against Wycombe, they are key players for Town. Perhaps we lacked those ‘experienced’ heads in the second half.
The conundrum Lambert has with his keepers is an interesting one. Does he have any logic in picking who plays? In honesty, it doesn’t look like it. Will Norris had replaced Tomas Holy at Southend, which seemed harsh, Holy then regained the gloves against at Wycombe after some fine cup displays only to lose the spot in Saturday’s league encounter. Both have saved penalties and then been replaced, both have made very little mistakes for Town, either could start against Bristol Rovers next Saturday.
The turning point in the game was actual something Town had absolutely no control over. Coventry defender Dominic Hyam suffered an injury late in the first half which saw the defender replaced by Jordan Shipley.
That change also signalled a change in formation with Shipley going into midfield and Mark Robins opting for a move conventional 4-4-2 / 4-4-1-1. Striker Amadou Bakayoko moved to the right hand side of midfield which saw Luke Garbutt having to stay more in a defensive role instead of bombing on past Judge at nearly every attack.
Another ‘resurrection’ in the Town ranks
First it was Janoi Donacien, then it was Barry Cotter and now for me it is Andre Dozzell who has got his Town career back on track.
Dozzell starred against Lincoln in the FA Cup first round tie and since that initial game at Portman Road, the Town youngster hasn’t looked back. Playing in a more deeper role, Dozzell again was the catalyst for most good things Ipswich done yesterday. His willingness to continually show for the ball and his desire to play that penetrative pass is something that should be applauded.
After the break it was Dozzell again who looked the most likely to open up the Coventry defence, mixing his game up with balls over the top and slid down the side for Will Keane and co to get on the end of. For me, my MOTM and with Lambert having an embarrassing amount of riches in the middle of the park, Dozzell has done his chances no harm whatsoever.
After all that, Town have now gone three games without a win in the league. Let’s not worry too much about the other competitions, Lambert certainly isn’t!
In those three games, the home draws with Blackpool and Wycombe, followed by this weekend’s draw with Coventry, Town could have quite easily picked up nine points. The cynics out there would also say that we could easily have lost all three games too. Yes that is true, but reflecting now after the initial disappointment from Saturday, I am more than satisfied with where we sit in the league.
Turning round the awful losing habit we had last year shouldn’t go unnoticed, we have actually only lost two league games out of 18. Two points a game is promotion form, Town have played 18 games and sit on, you’ve guessed it, 36 points!