Finally, it comes together: Imps 5-3 Ipswich Town

This was never going to be 5-3 again. Courtesy Graham Burrell

Yesterday was quite difficult for me personally. Still in the grip of flu, I had to make the tough choice not to attend the game. I want to be better for the New Year and an afternoon in the cold wasn’t the wisest choice. 

It is a decision I may live to regret. Thanks to iFollow I watched every minute of the game and had the benefit of instant replays and the like as well, so perhaps my enjoyment of the match was different from the usual experience. Instead of 10,000 fans watching a sensational and enthralling game of football, I got my dog and the chance to watch the goals back instantly. Given the quality of some of those goals, that was a real pleasure.

I’ve missed two league games this season and in the course of doing so missed 14 goals; five for us (yesterday) and nine against. In the games I have seen, I’ve witnessed 11 goals, ten for us and just one against. Basically, I stay away and there are goals galore, not all for us though. I’m hoping very much to be there New Year’s Day for a boring 1-0 win…..

Anyway, on to yesterday. Usually, I go through the game step by step, talking about chances and key incidents and then perhaps touching on a goal or a decision which turned the game. To do that for yesterday’s game would be impossible because we registered more shots on target than we have in the last six league matches according to Soccerbase. I counted at least one before the opening goal and once the net started bulging it was incredibly hard to keep track at all.

Ipswich are no slouches by the way. They’re struggling at the moment and Paul Lambert seems to want to get out before a complete collapse ensues, but they’ve got very good players capable of turning a game in an instant. What we had to do was keep it tight, nick a goal and then let our strong defence do the rest. That seemed like the game plan, especially with an unchanged side being named which meant the same resilience we saw against Oxford United, a game in which I felt we matched a promotion-chasing side.

One aspect of recent matches that has frustrated fans has been conceding the first goal. Do that, and we seem to lack the confidence to get back into a game. Get the opening goal ourselves and we usually defend resolutely, as seen at Burton and against Tranmere. However, to score within just a few minutes of the game starting presents a different prospect and that’s the scenario we found ourselves facing. Harry Anderson, a player who thrills and frustrates in equal measure, was clearly on it yesterday. He took a great ball in his stride and fired a confident finish to set up a real encounter.

Courtesy Graham Burrell

I felt after the goal, the first goal that is, we sank back a little. Maybe it is because this was Ipswich’s first team, the full monty as it were. Norwood, Edwards, Jackson, Judge, the whole lot. They have quality in abundance and played their part in a thrilling, end to end first half. Norwood and Luke Garbutt had efforts for the visitors, Joe Morrell managed to curl one into the arms of Will Norris. This, all inside the first fifteen minutes.

Believe me, the atmosphere was electric even down a computer screen. My plan had been to have to game on in front of me and maybe get a game or two of FIFA in, but I didn’t get the PlayStation on. The engrossing encounter clearly had goals in it from the first ten minutes and to look away for a second was to miss something crucial.

I’ll touch briefly on the referee, a first-year official who wanted to let football be the winner. I felt he perhaps went easy on their lads in the first half, certainly the opening fifteen minutes. It seemed to me Ipswich had this notion we were still the robust, angry side from a couple of years ago and came to match fire with fire. One or two tackles were borderline and I felt an early yellow card might have tempered some rather tough challenges. I suppose there’s also a school of thought that the best games are the ones where the ref allows a bit of aggression as it fires players up.

Courtesy Graham Burrell

I’m sure he got the free kick right that led to Ipswich’s first leveller. I know Michael Hortin felt it was soft if it was Morrell’s challenge that earned it, but the clip just before from O’Connor was perhaps worthy of punishment. If giving a free kick away was not punishment enough, Luke Garbutt’s excellent strike certainly did for us. 1-1 and at that stage I wondered if we’d missed our big chance.

If that was my worry, it certainly wasn’t the managers. The players kept on it and we were handed a boost when right back Donacien went off, with Gwion Edwards slotting into his position. That left one player out of position and when he got a booking within a minute or so of moving, he was left on very thin ice. That was crucial by the way; it pulled their defence out of shape and helped push the pendulum back in our favour.

Just before the break, Harry had an effort come off the post and you felt that perhaps that was warning enough of our intent in the second half. Giving up a lead hadn’t affected us as much as I feared and with their enforced change we took control once more. That control was emphasised moments before the break with a move of real quality.

Courtesy Graham Burrell

Neal Eardley’s ball into the channel wasn’t unlike the old John Beck balls into danger alley, only it was a precise pass that found Tyler Walker. I’m not quite sure what brought Will Norris off his line so urgently, but Walker kept his composure to lob a truly spectacular finish into the back of the net. It was a sumptuous finish, one requiring balance, poise and technical ability which the Forest man has oozing from every pore. With barely any time left for the restart, both managers had their team talks changed dramatically and as the fans filtered away for their half time beverages, it was the red part of the ground with smiles on their faces,

Me? I lit the wood burner, poured another glass of summer fruits juice and began to wonder how I could possibly sum up a thrilling first half. If only I could foresee what was up next.


  1. Great game and good result. I thought Ipswich were disappointing but then they are in terrible form – 2 points from the last 18! They are actually currently playing worse than us.
    Peterborough have only taken one point from the last 9 so maybe we can turn them over on Wednesday. Hope so.
    I notice that Michael Appleton has a great home record – 3 wins and one draw in the League. With all the home games we have in hand this promises much


  2. Yes, there was a gesture from Wilson, but then why boo when his name was announced? No booing and there would be no gesture.

  3. I felt positive and believed that we will get something out of this game. But to say that I didn’t expect scoring 5 goals would be a massive understatement…
    I won’t get carried away as we are still in the relegation battle but few more games like that and MA will make me a believer..

    • Relegation battle??? We are only 10 points behind Ipswich and 9 behind Peterborough who are in the playoff positions, so you could say most of the league are in a relegation battle because a short run of consolidating wins or losing can change these positions for many teams. It’s far too early to be talking about the Imps being in a relegation battle. Take a reality check and look again in April!!!

  4. Diana says it for me. I’ll add that it was a great show of confidence, application and hard graft.(Let’s see this each and every time please!) Lots of good touches, deliberative tackling, much more accurate long passing plus some good long balls to confuse the opposition defence. BUT please Michael, stop them farting about trying to short-pass the ball out of defence, especially when surrounded by opposition forwards. Even Premiership players occasionally come to grief doing this.Clear the ball out of danger, preferably to a suitably-positioned midfielder or forward to take up, hopefully launch an attack and wrong-foot their defence. (Hear what I’m sayin’ Mr Bostwick?)
    If we get only one point on Wednesay, that’ll suit me. 3 out of a possible 4 will do. Like Diana, a few more games like Saturday’s and I too will become a believer (and change from a miserable, moaning old sod. That’ll please my Coop Stand cronies!)

  5. A very good article as always, I ca’t even explain how I felt after a game which I thought would be a low scoring affair ending up 5-3. Ipswich haven’t conceded 5 in a league match since losing 5-1 to Reading in September 2015 so it’s something their fans are not used to either. In just under 4 weeks times we play them again this time at Portman Road and it will be interesting to see where both teams are then.

    It’s a quick turnaround for us as we play Peterborough tomorrow who have suffered two heavy defeats and with talk of Marcus Maddison possibly moving on and with players carrying injuries having to play I’m sure Michael O’Connor, Harry Anderson and Michael Bostwick will be licking their lips but I’ve learnt after the previous match that not everything goes as planned. let’s just enjoy the ride for now.

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