Andy Angles: A six-goal thriller, Bishop’s brace and pushing for places - observations as U23s draw
PUBLISHED: 16:32 10 December 2018 | UPDATED: 18:48 10 December 2018
Ipswich Town’s Under 23s drew 3-3 with QPR at Playford Road this afternoon. Andy Warren cast an eye over the Young Blues.
Six goals, all of them in the second half of an entertaining game to keep the Blues top of the league.
That was what those gathered at Playford Road were treated to as Ipswich Town’s Under 23s drew 3-3 with QPR this afternoon.
It’s been an impressive season for Gerard Nash’s men thus far, with their fightback against nearest challengers Rangers enough to keep them two points clear at the top of the Professional Development League Two South table.
They had to do it the hard way as they found themselves both 2-0 and then 3-1 down, 65 minutes in, but a brace from Teddy Bishop rescued a draw in a game packed with chances as he first fired home from the edge of the box before finding the net after good work from substitute Shane McLoughlin.
Though Bishop’s goals saved the day, it was Danny Rowe who perhaps had the most promising display as the left-footed winger cut in from the right time and time again, hit the post twice and had a hand in two of Ipswich’s three goals.
Ipswich: Wright; Cotter, Nsiala, Donacien, Kenlock; Dozzell, Bishop, El Mizouni (McGavin 75); Rowe (Brown 70), Folami, Drinan (McLoughlin 75)
The midfield creators
The sight of Teddy Bishop and Andre Dozzell playing alongside each other in an Ipswich Town midfield will have brought plenty of smiles at Playford Road.
Both performed well in this game, showing flashes of just why they are valued so highly and why such close attention has been paid to their respective battles with injury.
Aside from his two goals, both of which were taken well, Bishop showed his ability to drive out of midfield and looked to get forward whenever possible from the centre of midfield.
He played the full 90 minutes and still had a spring in his step at the final whistle – a major plus for a young man starved of minutes in recent years. Whether he is ready to start against Wigan remains to be seen, though.
Dozzell sat a little deeper, where he prefers to be deployed, and was able to sweep the ball out to team-mates while also looking to get forward when possible.
Injured midfielder Cole Skuse watched this game, but it seems a stretch to ask Dozzell to play in the veteran’s deeper midfield role in competitive football just yet.
The wide men
Jordan Spence and Jonas Knudsen have started each of Paul Lambert’s six games in charge of Ipswich Town, but their performances have increasingly been placed under the microscope as the Blues continue to concede poor goals.
Barry Cotter and Myles Kenlock occupied the full-back positions for the Under 23s and, despite their qualities, Spence and Knudsen seem certain to start against Wigan this weekend.
Cotter made such an impact in Mick McCarthy’s final game in charge against Barnsley in April but injury has hampered his progress since, while Kenlock has had injury trouble of his own.
The latter found things difficult at times during this game, often finding himself on the wrong side of his man and being caught out before dragging down Paul Smyth to concede a penalty.
Toto Nsiala and Janoi Donacien formed an experienced central defensive pairing for this game as the duo, who appear to be battling it out for a place on Lambert’s bench, got a chance to impress.
Under 23 football is not an environment that plays to Nsiala’s strengths, given his ability in the air and on the ground, with the emphasis mainly on technique and fluid football.
The former Shrewsbury man was comfortable when dealing with balls over the top but found things a little harder when QPR attacked at pace, as they did for their first and third goals.
Donacien was signed by Paul Hurst as a right-back but is seen very much as a central defender by Lambert and looked calm and composed throughout this game.
But, like Knudsen and Spence, you would expect Luke Chambers and Matthew Pennington to keep their places going forward.
The Wright stuff
Harry Wright was praised by Lambert last week for his distribution and that talent was in evidence here.
The young goalkeeper, son of Richard, is quick to try and release team-mates when in possession and got his side moving with a string of quick throws to the flanks, while also showing his ability to hit his full-backs with angles balls.
Most notably, though, was how comfortable he was in open play as he quickly found Dozzell in the middle of midfield, while he also made a number of good saves to keep the score down before Ipswich found their equaliser.
His one area of weakness on this showing was dealing with crosses into the box, as he was caught under high balls on a couple of occasions as QPR attackers looked to latch onto the ball.
Wright has travelled with Lambert’s first-team squad in recent weeks and has played his part in the warm-ups before senior games, which is all a vital part of the teenager’s development.