Stu says: Seven observations following Ipswich Town’s 1-0 loss at Brentford

PUBLISHED: 18:04 07 April 2018 | UPDATED: 11:30 08 April 2018

Freddie Sears is hauled to the floor at Brentford Picture Pagepix

Freddie Sears is hauled to the floor at Brentford Picture Pagepix

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Ipswich Town lost 1-0 at Brentford in a Championship match this afternoon. STUART WATSON gives his thoughts.

Martyn Waghorn tries an overhead kick in the Brentford penalty area Picture PagepixMartyn Waghorn tries an overhead kick in the Brentford penalty area Picture Pagepix

Soft spot-kick

The 72nd penalty that decided this forgettable affair was soft in the extreme.

Jonas Knudsen bumped into Sergi Canos as the pair contested a straight ball into the box. Inexperienced referee Robert Jones – whose pedantic whistling didn’t help the flow of an already poor game – immediately pointed to the spot.

Knudsen’s initial reaction was one of bemusement and then of anger. He was booked for his protests and Neal Maupay converted from the spot.

The Ipswich medical team work on an injured Luke Chambers at Brentford Picture PagepixThe Ipswich medical team work on an injured Luke Chambers at Brentford Picture Pagepix

MORE: ‘It hinges on a poor decision’ – McCarthy

Familiar tale

Jonas Knudsen cannot believe that the referee has awarded a penalty against him at Brentford Picture PagepixJonas Knudsen cannot believe that the referee has awarded a penalty against him at Brentford Picture Pagepix

Both keepers made good reaction saves at either end of the match – Bartosz Bialkowski adjusting superbly to deny Maupay with his legs in the 10th minute and Daniel Bentley keeping out Grant Ward’s fierce volley with four minutes to go.

Beyond that there were very few chances of note. This was a game of very little urgency or quality. It had a flat mid-table feel about it throughout.

Did Town deserve to lose? Probably not. But you also sensed that could play for days and not score either. How many times have we said that? This was a carbon copy of the 1-0 defeats at Bristol City and Birmingham recently.

PP017 Brentford v Ipswich41 fansPP017 Brentford v Ipswich41 fans

MORE: Northstander - ‘I am only a fan, but the whole thing is beyond me’

Painful viewing

Following Monday’s entertaining and open 2-2 home draw with Millwall, Mick McCarthy said: “I loved it, it was terrific, but you can have those exciting games - I will take a boring 1-0 win over all of them. Sorry.”

Tristan Nydam back in the starting eleven at Brentford Picture PagepixTristan Nydam back in the starting eleven at Brentford Picture Pagepix

It was the latest in his long line of hollow apologies this season.

There’s nothing to lose in these end of season dead rubbers, but the Blues boss reverted to ultra-pragmatism mode.

Bersant Celina, Mustapha Carayol, Ben Folami and Grant Ward were all on the bench.

With a back five and a workmanlike midfield selected, there was very little guile or attacking game-plan. Hopeful balls lofted into the channels became increasingly painful to watch.

Mick McCarthy leaves the pitch at Brentford Picture PagepixMick McCarthy leaves the pitch at Brentford Picture Pagepix

Freddie Sears was continually asked to chase lost causes. Martyn Waghorn dropped deeper and deeper in an attempt to be involved.

It’s all so predictable. As previously stated; win, draw or lose so many of these games blur into one.

MORE: Chambers season could be over after rib injury

Luke Hyam directing things in the midfield at Brentford Picture PagepixLuke Hyam directing things in the midfield at Brentford Picture Pagepix

Damning stats

That’s now five blanks in the last six games. Since beating Reading 2-0 at home in mid-December, the Blues have scored just 12 goals in 20 games.

This was another game where Town produced just one shot on target. Only rock-bottom Burton have worse stats when it comes to average attempts on goal per game.

Jonas Knudsen at the fianl whistle after the loss at Brentford Picture PagepixJonas Knudsen at the fianl whistle after the loss at Brentford Picture Pagepix

Ipswich are now winless in six with two points gained from a possible 18. This is the club’s worst run of form since Paul Jewell was sacked in 2012. Town are down to 14th in the table. Last season’s 16th place finish, remember, was the worst in 58 years.

To make matters worse, rivals Norwich won 3-1 against Aston Villa and have leapfrogged Town in the standings.

MORE: Player ratings from Griffin Park – Bialkowski and Hyam pick of the bunch

Callum Connolly shows his disappointment on the final whistle at Brentford Picture PagepixCallum Connolly shows his disappointment on the final whistle at Brentford Picture Pagepix

Major caveat

Cole Skuse sat out this one after taking a bang to the head on Easter Monday. Luke Chambers’ season now looks over after he was forced off with cracked ribs.

You can almost name a team, and a pretty strong one at that, out of the long-term absentees now: Dean Gerken, Chambers, Dominic Iorfa, Emyr Huws, Teddy Bishop, Tom Adeyemi, Andre Dozzell, Joe Garner and David McGoldrick.

Adam Wesbter and Luke Hyam have also missed big chunks of the campaign too.

MORE: Brentford 1 Ipswich Town 0 - match report

Reaction to McCarthy

Once more, Town’s players gave McCarthy every drop of effort – but that’s never been the criticism.

The fans, having enjoyed Monday’s home game, made it clear they were less than impressed with some more binary boredom.

A small section chanted ‘cheerio, cheerio’ to McCarthy as he went down the tunnel right in front of them at half-time. In the second half, some of the more toxic chants were given an outing.

More worrying was the half-hearted response when the Blues forced two late corners right in front of the away end. Normally that sparks a roar of encouragement, but right now apathy rules.

The dawn of a new era, and a much-needed injection of hope and excitement, can’t come quick enough. Right now everything feels so predictable.

Credit Hyam

Huge credit to Luke Hyam for producing a mature display on a very difficult afternoon.

It was almost two years ago to the day that Hyam’s early challenge – strong, but fair – unfortunately left Bees winger Alan Judge with a badly broken leg at Portman Road.

This was only Judge’s second start since then. Hyam has only recently returned to action himself after long-term injuries.

Brentford fans greeted every single one of Hyam’s touches with a cacophony of boos. He never once lost his cool thouh. If anything he was probably Town’s most composed player.

The homegrown midfielder is out of contract this summer, but has done himself no harm with some of his comeback displays.

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