Andy's Angles: Dawkins gets chance to impress as Morris and Nydam return in another Under 23 win
PUBLISHED: 16:11 07 January 2019 | UPDATED: 18:22 07 January 2019
Ipswich Town's Under 23s remain top of the league following this afternoon's 4-2 victory over Bristol City. Andy Warren makes his observations.
Staying on top
The young Blues remain top of Professional Development League South following another impressive victory.
The 4-2 success over Bristol City was perhaps more comfortable than the scoreline suggests, with the youngsters four to the good thanks to a brace each from Ben Morris and Ben Folami before George Nurse and Sam Bell pulled goals back for the visitors.
Both Bristol goals came courtesy of Ipswich mistakes, with Barry Cotter fouling his man to concede a penalty for the first before Tristan Nydam was stripped of possession for the second. But both before and after those two goals, which came 12 minutes apart in the second half, Gerard Nash and Chris Hogg’s side were in full control.
They played a slightly tweaked system to what we have seen of late, with Folami and Morris paired in attack in a 4-4-2, but the same brand of possession-based, attacking football was still there.
Captain Luke Chambers, midfieler Cole Skuse, assistant manager Stuart Taylor and former Blues boss George Burley were all in attendance and will have been impressed with what they saw.
A chance to impress
This game gave Simon Dawkins a first chance to try and impress Ipswich boss Lambert in a match environment.
The winger is a free agent after leaving MLS side San Jose Earthquakes and has been training with the Blues over the last two weeks but is well known to Lambert after the Scot signed him on loan for Aston Villa in 2013.
There is a clearly an accomplished player there, with the 31-year-old former Tottenham youth comfortable in possession and crisp in his passing, but he struggled to make a major impact from the left side of the midfield during the first half.
He was deep in conversation with Ipswich assistant Taylor towards the end of the half-time break and managed played on the front foot throughout the second, with more opportunities to run at his man and some dangerous moments where he provided chances for team-mates.
He had one shot tipped over the bar as his influence grew but, while he performed well, on this showing he perhaps has more to prove if he is to convince Lambert he is worthy of a deal.
The Ipswich boss has stressed, though, that he will not make snap judgements on senior players linked to Under 23 displays.
Morris and Nydam were back in Ipswich blue after returning from loan spells at Forest Green and St Johnstone respectively.
Striker Morris’s brace caught the eye, twisting and turning nicely before finding the bottom corner with the first before picking up on Conor McKendry’s neat header and driving past the goalkeeper for his second. Folami’s goals were just as well taken, with the Austrailian enjoying a chance through the middle having played much of his football wide this season.
Morris was bright throughout, starting up front before finishing the game wide on the right. He figures to finish his season in the Blues’ Under 23s, with Lambert keen to add to his pool of strikers and the teenager unable to go out on loan to an EFL club due to the fact he has already played for Ipswich and Forest Green this season.
Nydam’s spell in Scotland was frustrating, given the fact he made just one start, so it was good to see him back on the field.
He is the same player we saw play 20 first-team games last season - energetic, tenacious in the tackle and comfortable on the ball.
The youngster held his hands up as soon as he lost possession for the second City goal, as he took the ball off the back four before turning into trouble and being stripped by a Bristol forward.
A second loan is likely for the Zimbabwe-born midfielder, with Lambert looking for experience in the middle of the pitch.
Catching the eye
While it’s the players with first-team experience who usually attract the most attention in these games, there are a host of players going about their business in Under 23 football who deserve a mention.
Irish central defender Corrie Ndaba is in the third year of his scholarship, meaning the Blues will need to decide whether he is deserving of a pro deal at the end of the season, and his progress has been rapid.
He’s strong, quick, good positionally and comfortable on the ball, all while being a vocal presence as he captains the side.
Brett McGavin is a central midfielder who plays a similarly understated role to Cole Skuse, while Bailey Clements continues to progress well after signing his first professional contract earlier this season.
All three played well in this game, while goalkeeper Harry Wright once again showed how talented he is with his feet as he turned defence into attack with pin-point accuracy on a number of occasions.
His father, former Town keeper Richard, would be proud.