The Verdict: Time to stick together, as Town limp out of cup
A slightly later verdict than usual, we take a look back on Tuesday night’s FA Cup defeat at the hands of Coventry City.
At 18:45 the phone buzzed with the twitter notification from the Official Ipswich Town Twitter feed, the team news was in. To my surprise I saw Norwood and Jackson upfront, the likes of Judge, Skuse, Edwards and Woolfenden all in the side. The bench was strong too, Downes, Dozzell, Keane, Nolan and Garbutt all waiting in the wings. Optimism at the highest! Starting in a conventional 4-4-2 against a Coventry side who also put out a very strong line-up, this was set up for a fascinating cup tie.
Lack of creativity
One thing which was quite apparent early on is the lack of creativity in the side, with only Alan Judge the one who has that creative spark in the side. The only real chances in the match for Town were from Holy’s distribution to the forward players, nothing really ‘through the lines’ of midfield to attack. James Norwood cut a very frustrating figure upfront who, alongside partner Kayden Jackson, was feeding on scraps. Emyr Huws and Cole Skuse were over-ran in midfield and even after a slight alteration to a narrow diamond in midfield, in truth that did very little but expose our full-backs even more. In my opinion, we missed the likes of Downes and Dozzell getting on the ball from the back four and getting the ball to the strikers with quality. Sometimes the absence makes the heart grow fonder, that was definitely the case with the Town academy pair.
Dump the rotation
Hopefully with Town getting dumped out of the cup, Paul Lambert can also dump his rotation policy with the focus being firming on the league. Over the last three home games against Blackpool, Wycombe and Coventry, Town clearly add the better team on paper, but failed to win any of the games. While all three opponents had smaller squads, they were all a more polished, slick outfits who all knew each others roles and responsibilities in their respective sides. While Lambert has an embarrassing of riches, that does not always mean quality. Now is the time to pick your best eleven and stick with it, as I have not seen a side yet who would be able to cope with an inform Town side.
Lambert pulls no punches
How refreshing was it to hear and see Lambert finally speak his mind after the game. Usually he dodges some pretty tame questioning, but after Tuesday’s defeat the Town manager certainly didn’t hold back. Lambert described the performance as “the worst in my time here….In over a year that’s the worst performance we’ve turned in.”. Now Lambert has to rally his troops ahead of a big game on Saturday when Town entertain fifth place Bristol Rovers.
Focus on the league…
The old saying now rings true, Town can now focus on the league. Yes, we have a third round Leasing.com trophy game at Exeter to negotiate early in 2020, but apart from that, promotion is now our only focus. The 1-0 win at Rochdale, Town’s last league victory, seems a very long time ago. Town started the season on fire, winning 10 of their first 14 games in all competitions. But that form has dipped dramatically with only three victories (excluding penalties) in 13 (D6 L4). Time to regroup, together.