I’ve sat here for a while now watching the game back from yesterday on iFollow, assessing the key incidents and readying my article. Looking down at my notes (yes, I make notes) I would probably have six paragraphs to write.
Why? This game was no classic, not by any stretch of the imagination. In order to try to fill my mind with reaction to reaction, I went on social media. That ruined my Sunday morning good and proper. ‘This player was rubbish’, ‘that player needs dropping’, ‘we need to seriously sort our away form’ etc etc. If you want any more, you can find it easy enough. Two words came to my mind: knee jerk.
I’m not going to pull the game apart too much, not chance by chance anyway. It was one of those encounters that, in my opinion, could easily have gone either way but ultimately didn’t go our way. If Tyler Walker had realised he was onside in the first half, it’s 1-0 Lincoln. If him and John-Jules had 15 games together and not three, we maybe create slightly better chances. After all, Ipswich were poor at the back. I said they’d be going with five defenders, two wing backs, but at times it looked like a flat back three and nothing more. They were indecisive and rushed all the time and if we’d been on form it could have been two or three-nil before half time.
I felt they did threaten going forward but I wouldn’t swap our front two for theirs. Will Keane and Kayden Jackson have played higher up and should bee tearing this division up, but I felt they were average at best. They didn’t cause us untold problems, their threat came from the likes of alan Judge, one of the few Ipswich players with any urgency in the final third.
It was an even first half, not in terms of possession, but Ipswich are a classic ‘possession for possession’s sake’ side. We let them have it, let them fail to hurt us and I think if we’d gone in at half time level then we would have come away with something. The home side might have got more nervous, maybe committed more forward and left that fragile defence a little exposed. Instead, they got their goal and that was that as far as they were concerned.
If it was at all possible, they came out even more intent on just passing the ball around. FIFA players will know all about this; you go 1-0 down on a rivals game and your opponent just plays it around the back looking to bore his way to a win. That was Ipswich all over, they knocked it around, occasionally probed, but kept us quiet in the meantime.
I thought referee Lee Swabey was a bit inconsistent too; he’s never really stood out before (FGR away in 2017/18, Northampton away last year, Rotherham away this year) but some of his decisions were a little baffling. He didn’t do anything that affected the outcome of the game and he did, to the best of his abilities, let the game flow but he certainly could have booked a couple of their lads if Joe Morrell’s yellow was a benchmark. Also, did he miss a penalty in the first half? It’s inconclusive from what I’ve seen and given how many we miss, it’s no guarantee of a goal, but across the afternoon I felt he had an error in him. He didn’t make it as far as I could tell, perhaps just one of those days for him, just like it was for us.
Still, aside from one late half-chance, did we really look like scoring at all? Nope. That’s three games now where we’ve gone away, got beaten 1-0 and perhaps could have got something more from the game.
But, that’s exactly where we can start to take a little heart from yesterday. That win sent Ipswich Town top of the division. When they got the three points they celebrated like they’d won the FA Cup or something. Lincoln City, a side who have been hammered on social media for being crap away, went to a former UEFA Cup winner and the hosts were relieved to win in the end. They were you know; they were relieved. Not because we battered them, not because we played well but because we can, when we turn up and turn it on.