Sunday Snap: The Ginger Pele, a grumble, Chambers’ muted fist pumps and a moment you may have missed
PUBLISHED: 06:00 13 January 2019 | UPDATED: 09:31 13 January 2019
© Copyright Stephen Waller
Andy Warren takes a snappy look back at the events and talking points surrounding Ipswich Town’s 1-0 victory over Rotherham United.
When you sign a player with nearly 300 Premier League appearances and 50 international caps to his name, this is exactly the kind of debut you would hope for.
James Collins was a rock at the back for Ipswich, showing all the calmness, experience, poise and ruggedness needed given the Blues’ perilous situation.
He got his head on ball after ball and helped organise the Ipswich defence throughout his first competitive appearance since last May and, perhaps, took some of the pressure off of captain Luke Chambers, who has carried an incredible amount of leadership weight throughout this season.
If Ipswich can keep him fit, the ‘Ginger Pele’ figures to be a vital piece of the puzzle as Paul Lambert’s men look to play their way back into this fight.
Under the radar
Collins grabbed the headlines while captain Chambers impressed alongside him, but Matthew Pennington put in an excellent display at right back.
He played there during much of his loan spell at Leeds last season, to mixed reviews, but on this showing at least he is more than capable of playing on the right of the Ipswich defence.
The Blues have lacked consistency from that position this season and Pennington was imperious, particularly in the air as he tucked inside to help deal with the aerial barrage during the second half. He got his head onto ball after ball during the closing stages of the game.
A right-back is still surely on Lambert’s transfer agenda, but Pennington has proved he can fill that hole.
Could have done more
Prior to this game, Collin Quaner had played just 37 minutes of football this season. At times it showed.
The positives were that he looked to connect well with team-mates and showed a willingness to make quick lay-offs and bring others into play. Those relationships will come in time.
He looked, understandably, short of match fitness during his 65 minutes on the field and had little to no sight of the opposition goal.
The Blues have spent considerable money in covering a large part of the German’s wage until the end of the season and we saw enough in this one to believe there is more to come.
As the game edged into stoppage time, so hearts moved into mouths as the Blues looked to hold on.
There was an audible gasp when the ball skipped off the turf, brushed Collins’ leg and flew towards the Ipswich goal, but thankfully it struck goalkeeper Dean Gerken in the chest rather than hitting the back of the net.
The damage another heartbreaking goal could have done doesn’t bear thinking about.
One to forget
When captain Luke Chambers disappeared over the South Stand advertising hoardings just 10 minutes in, you feared he could have done himself some serious damage.
The skipper was ushering the ball out of play and had no option but to head down a relatively steep decline towards the front row of the stand, clattering into the gate and landing on the concrete steps.
He later received treatment for a left wrist injury but, given he talked about playing on at Brentford with broken ribs and sternum last season, this was never likely to seriously impact his game.
Fortunately he needs his right wrist for the post-match fist pumps which, it must be said, were a little muted on this occasion.
Thing you may have missed
Well after the crowds had left Portman Road, one pocket of fans remained in their seats and looked to be having an excellent time.
Manager Paul Lambert met with members of the Blue Action group again this week, keen to get their input to help improve the atmosphere inside Portman Road.
They were joined by some of the Fortuna Dusseldorf fans, who again made the trip to Suffolk, with chants of ‘we are staying up’ sung out inside the stadium.
Lambert and his players whipped the crowd up nicely at full-time and, when he says the supporters have a major part to play between now and the end of the season, he’s right.
James Collins won 12 aerial battles during the game – the same amount as the starting Rotherham back four combined.
The blues against the reds, that’s how football should be.
So why oh why did Rotherham wear their away kit in this game?
‘A short clash’ is usually the reason given for such crimes. Ipswich wore blue shirts and switched to blue shorts for the game at the New York Stadium – would it have been too much to ask for Rotherham to have done the same and worn red?
A win’s a win and it’s something to be celebrated, given this was just the third of the season, but it’s now all about backing it up.
It took nine games for Ipswich to win again after success at Swansea earlier this season while one point was claimed from a possible 12 after victory over Wigan.
Lambert’s Ipswich can’t afford for either scenario to happen again.