Papering over the cracks?

Andrews

It’s less than 24 hours since I and many thousands of other Ipswich fans witnessed a comeback bigger than Lazarus on live television against Barnsley.

Understandably, I was a bit delirious after seeing an astonishing forty five minutes in which Town scored five goals. For a brief period, they were exhibiting the skills and finesse of Real Madrid and Barcelona, who followed Ipswich on the listings later that night.

But, now that we’ve had a night of celebrating a memorable win and also pinched ourselves on the Sunday morning to realise it did actually happen, let’s disect what’s gone on since mid-October to see the club go on their worst run in sixteen years.

Saturday’s 5-3 win at Oakwell was a bit of a farce when you break it down. At half-time, Ipswich were 2-0 down and probably should’ve been behind by more. They looked rudderless, low on confidence and devoid of ideas. We probably all thought Paul Jewell had 45 minutes left in charge of the club as he trudged off down the tunnel in front of the travelling supporters.

Whatever he said at half-time or perhaps, whatever some of the players said, worked a trick.

Here is where I put the dampners on the win again. Keith Andrews and Danny Collins scored the first three of the five goals in that comeback. Both will soon end their loan spells at the club and when they do, will leave huge holes in an already fragile line-up.

Added to that was the indecision shown by another loan signing, David Stockdale. When you’re away from home, on a terrible run of form with a leaky defence in front of you, the last thing you need to do is give away a silly penalty. The defending for Barnsley’s second goal was also non-existent and schoolboy-esque. First Carlos Edwards failed to track his man and then Lee Bowyer wanders off the post to allow Ricardo Vaz Te the chance to head past a stranded keeper.

In a 45 minute window, that summed up the problems Ipswich have had over the last eight games. The defence is bar far the worst in the division, there are some creaking bodies out there in terms of age and despite some signs of talismen emerging – Andrews and Collins head this list – we are yet to find someone who can organise and lead this team consistently.

Saturday’s three points were a huge relief, but it’s hard to ignore the rapid descent since Ipswich’s previous win some 55 days earlier. Paul Jewell still has an immense job on his hands convincing a large element of supporters he is the man for the job and that his team selections show signs of progressive, solid football and not a collection of big names who look good on paper.

There’s a long way to go to pull ourselves out of the mire and I sincerely hope we didn’t just witness a flash in the pan on Saturday evening.

OK, so I’ve dished out some negatives in this blog, now for some positives. What a response by 11 players in blue and white in the second half at Barnsley and some well-crafted goals to boot. Considering Barnsley have been on a tremendous run recently, their capitulation was even more astounding.

Jason Scotland had possibly his best 45 minutes in an Ipswich shirt. His hold-up play and confidence to run at defenders with the ball was exemplary. He capped off a fine performance with the last goal and was my man of the match.

Alongside him, Michael Chopra continued his knack of scoring important goals and his finish for 4-2 oozed real confidence and belief.

So, for now the nightmare is over. We can all look forward to the next game with a bit of excitement, rather than trepidation. Christmas certainly came early at Oakwell, but let’s hope it can continue for a few more weeks yet.

UP THE TOWN!

Written by Adam Williams, We Are Going Up’s Ipswich Town blogger

Adam tweets at @adam_j_williams

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