Stu says: Five observations following Ipswich Town’s 1-1 home draw with Nottingham Forest
PUBLISHED: 19:04 16 March 2019 | UPDATED: 20:50 16 March 2019
© Copyright Stephen Waller
Ipswich Town drew 1-1 with Nottingham Forest at Portman Road this afternoon. STUART WATSON gives his thoughts.
Ipswich Town must be wondering what they’ve got to do win a game.
For the sixth time in seven games they drew 1-1. Just like against West Brom and Bristol City in the previous two they came away with a strong argument for deserving all three points.
The first half was a little flat, both on the pitch and in the stands.
Even after Collin Quaner finished off a fine move from close-range in the fifth minute the game failed to ignite.
Forest began to get on top and, in gusty conditions, threatened from long throws and dead ball deliveries. Their leveller came just after the half hour when defender Molla Wague scrambled the ball over the line after Joe Lolley’s corner pinged goalwards off the shins of an unfortunate Jon Nolan.
Then the Blues got lucky when Daryl Murphy had a goal wrongly disallowed for offside in first half stoppage-time.
It was a different story after the break though.
Paul Lambert’s men started fast and built the pressure. It was one-way traffic.
Trevoh Chalobah fizzed a volley inches wide, Nolan put a close-range diving header wide, also had a fine finish controversially disallowed, substitute Kayden Jackson was twice denied by keeper Costel Pantilimon’s legs and the Blues had strong penalty appeals waved away at the death.
Bartosz Bialkowski made a smart double stop at the other end in what was a thoroughly entertaining half of football.
Town may not be winning. But they are sure providing value for money.
BEEF WITH KEITH
This was, sadly, once again the Keith Stroud show.
The referee faced the wrath of Lambert just a few weeks ago when he made two dreadful decisions in Town’s 2-1 defeat at Aston Villa.
And the man who regularly left Mick McCarthy fuming was at his controversial worst once again here.
The first big officiating error of the game actually went in Town’s favour when former Blues striker Daryl Murphy saw a rebound finish wrongly disallowed in first half stoppage-time. Replays showed he was comfortably onside.
Then, after Jon Nolan had slammed the ball in off the underside of the crossbar, Stroud ruled he had not indicated that Alan Judge could take the free-kick quickly.
A string of soft fouls were given against Town as they piled on the pressure.
Stroud then waved away strong penalty shouts at the death when Wague lunged in on Jackson at the far post.
And, to cap it all off, he blew for full-time just as the Blues were preparing to take a corner, ignoring the fact he should have added on 30 additional seconds for the introduction of Toto Nsiala moments earlier.
Many made the assumption that Lambert would be phasing out his loan players and start developing those who will definitely be here next season following his team selection at Bristol City in midweek.
Instead, he once again made five changes to his starting XI and reverted, with the exception of Matthew Pennington for Jonas Knudsen, to the team that had impressed at West Brom the previous weekend.
Fans were disappointed to see the likes of Josh Emmanuel and Andre Dozzell drop out of the team.
There can be no arguments about the way their replacements performed though.
Everton loanee Pennington shackled Murphy brilliantly and further strengthened his claim to be named Town’s Player of the Year.
James Bree produced a string of dangerous deliveries when bombing on from right-back. What a shame he is going back to Aston Villa.
For the second game running though, Trevoh Chalobah – who replaced the injured Cole Skuse in the 41st minute – was the star of the show.
The Chelsea teenager was full of poise and power. He’s matured so much during his debut season in men’s football and looks destined for big things.
Collin Quaner ended his 49 game goal drought thanks to a well-timed run and produced some neat touches in the opening exchanges.
Just like at West Brom the previous weekend, the Huddersfield loanee was overshadowed by second-half replacement Kayden Jackson.
The former Accrington Stanley striker has pace to burn. He makes good runs and gets on the end of great chances. He might just need a run of games to rediscover his shooting boots.
Like all of Paul Hurst’s lower league recruits, the hope is that he can really find his feet towards the end of a difficult debut campaign.
Town may be going down, but they are bloodying a few noses along the way.
They’ve disrupted the promotion pushes of Derby, West Brom, Bristol City and Nottingham Forest in recent weeks. Baggies boss Darren Moore even got the sack.
Week-after-week opposition fans talk about the expectation of ‘beating the likes of Ipswich’ only to end up asking ‘how are they bottom?’
Week-after-week punters complain on social media that Ipswich not losing has ruined their accumulator bets.
For the record, the gap to safety remains at 13 points heading into the final eight games.