Sunday Snap: Chalobah's progress, Toto time and the 'non-factor' return of former boss Keane
PUBLISHED: 07:15 17 March 2019 | UPDATED: 12:08 17 March 2019
© Copyright Stephen Waller
Andy Warren takes a look back at Ipswich Town's 1-1 draw with Nottingham Forest.
The progress Trevoh Chalobah has made during his debut season in adult football has been remarkable.
It’s been a pleasure to watch.
He began the campaign as a player who could pick a superb pass one minute and look an accident waiting to happen the next. You watched with excited eyes and with your heart in your mouth.
But he’s matured in front of our eyes as the season’s gone on, embraced the responsibility placed on his shoulders and looks as if he’s been playing at this level for years.
He added new drive to the Ipswich midfield during the second half of this game, breaking up play, winning the ball back and bursting forward to set his side on the attack.
Where he will be playing his football next season we don’t know, that will be for parent club Chelsea to decide, but what is clear is that this young man has a big future in the game.
Under the radar
Chalobah’s impact on the game earned him the ‘star man’ nod on this occasion but there were plenty of Ipswich Town players who impressed in this game.
Gwion Edwards looks back to his dangerous best, Matthew Pennington returned to the side and was a rock at the back and Alan Judge was again here, there and everywhere.
But Myles Kenlock, who has now started Ipswich’s last seven games as he bids to earn a new contract, was another who put in a good display.
He had a heavy workload, with Forest right-back Tendayi Darikwa getting forward well behind dangerous wideman Joe Lolley at a time when he was offered little protection be marauding left winger Alan Judge.
Kenlock was given added support when Edwards was switched to the left for spells throughout the game, with the academy graduate defending well and managing to get forward on a few occasions to support the attack.
He has surely done enough for the Blues to take the 12-month extension option in his contract at the very least.
Could have done more
Kayden Jackson has made an excellent contribution in the Blues’ last three games and was unfortunate, and perhaps within his rights to be a little surprised, to be on the bench for this game.
His pace worries defences, stretches them and forces them to think differently.
He did so again this time out, offering a threat through the middle and in the channels. He’s timing his runs better than he did at the start of the season and knows when to hold his position and when to go.
Jackson got in behind on two notable occasions, forcing saves from the Forest goalkeeper but will be disappointed not to have found the net. It was the same story at West Brom last weekend.
Perhaps a regular run of games will help him find his range and a new level of consistency in front of goal.
Oh, and he should have had a penalty late on.
We all know how good Teddy Bishop is on the ball and how he looks to drive towards goal and get Ipswich Town moving forward.
But it’s his all-round game which has been so encouraging since his return to the team.
He’s throwing himself into tackles, winning the ball back and thwarting danger in his own third – as shown by one superb running tackle as he chased back into the right-back position in the second half.
He’s lasting longer in games than he has before and maintaining his performance levels for longer periods.
He’s looking durable, although I still find myself holding my breath a little as I wait for him to emerge from challenges.
Keep this young man fit, and he could be the envy of the 23 other League One teams next season.
I love Toto Nsiala’s duel role.
On the one hand he’s a central defender who is growing into his role in the Ipswich side as the season goes on, making good progress and adapting well to what he’s been asked to do.
He was perhaps unlucky to lose his place after a good performance at Bristol City, although replacement Pennington was excellent.
But his role as a chaos-causing battering ram is also wonderful to behold.
He came on in the final moments of the victory over Rotherham in January and contributed two good blocks and one diving header when the ball was on the floor as the Blues held on to win.
He was then thrown on against Stoke last month as Ipswich attacked a late corner, confusing the Potters’ defence and dragging opponents out of place to leave Will Keane in space to head home the equaliser.
So it was with great optimism he came on in this one, as Ipswich had a late free-kick. Alan Judge’s effort flicked off the wall, forcing a corner, which had you dreaming of another late, late show.
Sadly, referee Keith Stroud had other ideas and Nsiala’s 12 seconds on the field led to nothing. Maybe next time.
This is a late addition to the Snap.
On the subject of Toto, there was a brilliant tweet on Sunday morning in which a Town-supporting father posted that the defender had stopped to sign an autograph for his daughter, before taking her programme into the dressing room and returning with the entire squad’s signatures.
That’s a classy touch.
He’s by no means the only Town player to do such things - Ipswich fans tweet every week about how players have made young supporters’ days by signing autographs and posing for photos.
It’s great that Ipswich players recognise how much joy they can spread with such simple acts of kindness.
Collin Quaner became Ipswich Town’s 350th league goalscorer when he finished off a superb team move to give the Blues a fifth-minute lead.
He also brought a personal run of 49 games without a goal to an end, dating back to Huddersfield’s 1-1 draw with Derby on Easter Monday 2017 (the same day the Blues beat Newcastle 3-1 on a memorable day at Portman Road).
Granted, the German has been a substitute for much of that run and also spent a lot of time playing on the right wing, but he would still have been delighted to get back on the scoresheet.
This was Roy Keane’s first return to Portman Road since making gestures at supporters on the way off the pitch following a 1-0 home loss to Nottingham Forest in January 2011.
He very much took a back seat on this occasion.
All eyes, and a pack of photographers’ lenses, were focused on the Nottingham Forest dugout as the former Blues boss walked along the same touchline once again before taking his seat alongside boss Martin O’Neill prior to kick-off.
He spent little time in technical area, refrained from any touchline spats such as the one he had with John Terry in midweek and, aside from a few ‘Keano, Keano what’s the score?’ chants, he was pretty much a non-factor.
Maybe some things are best left in the past.