The Verdict – Town go top after professional performance at Rochdale

Ipswich Town returned to the top of the table thanks to a Danny Rowe goal just before the hour mark. We take a look at some key moments from our Rochdale win

Top of the League

Town dropped to second place at the weekend after a Wycombe victory and no game for Town due to Bury no longer being in the league. Gareth Ainsworth’s men were three points above Town but played two games more than Paul Lambert’s troops prior to kick-off on Tuesday night. The win has now placed Ipswich back at the summit of the league, but don’t be surprised if the stay is just temporary. Town look certain to postpone next Saturday’s (16th) fixture at Oxford which could see Wycombe retake top spot next Sunday (17th) with a point at Tranmere.

The gap between Town and third place is arguably more important and after Peterborough’s surprise defeat at Shrewsbury last night the gap between us and Darren Ferguson’s men now sits at five points. As well as a five point buffer, Town also have two games in hand on free scoring Posh, things are looking rather good indeed.

1-0 to the Tractor Boys

The famous Arsenal chant, used for their 1-0 wins week in week out, now that could be sung for Lamberts’s men. On the road this year, the Town following, and what a following that is by the way, have witnessed five 1-0 away victories.

As with the previous 1-0 wins at Burton, MK Dons, Gillingham, Fleetwood and now Rochdale, Town have not been at their free-flowing best, but who cares. We have at times rode our luck and chucked bodies on the line but each time Town have held on to the one real decisive moment in the game.

Striker Frustration

James Norwood collected another yellow card in the first half at Rochdale, his fourth of the season. He cut a very frustrated figure alongside his partner Kayden Jackson, who as always was a willing runner throughout the 90 minutes.

However, the strike pair, who have scored seven goals a piece so far this season, at times just need to play closer together. In the first half there was a lot of hopeful high balls for the strikers to compete with which was bread and butter for the experienced Paul McShane at the back for Rochdale.

Knit picking we know, but these two with some real quality service would be scoring every week! The returning to form of Alan Judge will certainly help as will the return of KVY at full-back.

4-4-2 It’s a simple game…

Two banks of four, two wide players, two strikers, everyone knowing their roles, it can be a simple game. Since our back to back defeats against Accrington Stanley and Rotherham, Paul Lambert has gone back to basics with a simple formation but very effective. Two away day wins at Southend and now Rochdale suggest the back to basics approach has worked.

The squad has a more settled feel to it too. It was widely predicted before the game, that James Wilson would come in for Kane Vincent-Young with Luke Woolfenden moving to right back. However, Lambert chose to stick with the partnership of Luke Chambers and Woolfenden with Edwards starting right back. The pairing of Woolfenden and Chambers is the first part of the spine which is now clear to all. Cole Skuse and Flynn Downes are the preferred midfield partnership with James Norwood and Kayden Jackson up top. Add into that Luke Garbutt, Kane Vincent-Young and Alan Judge, perhaps the ‘tinker-man’ has found his formula.

No Downes, no problem!

With the win last night, Town have at least broke one curse! Unfortunately it’s not one of the long running post international games or televised win infront of the nation, Town have won a league game without Flynn Downes.

The fact Town have lost both games the youngster has missed suggests how important Downes has become to Town. Dubbed a future Town captain by some, Cole Skuse has warned fans to enjoy him while we can as the talented midfielder will be bound to a much higher standard than League One, hopefully with Town.

After sitting out last night’s win at Rochdale through suspension, Downes will surely come straight back in for the game against Blackpool. A change to break another record following the imminent postponement of the Oxford game.

Subscribe to our TOTT newsletter to ensure you keep up to date on all things related to Ipswich Town