Rampant Rams, Webster worries and a few positives - six observations from Ipswich Town’s loss to Derby
PUBLISHED: 20:21 30 December 2017 | UPDATED: 20:33 30 December 2017
© Copyright Stephen Waller
Sports writer Andy Warren looks at some of the talking points coming out of Ipswich Town’s home loss to Derby.
Rams should have been out of sight
The visitors could, and probably should, have had the three points well and truly secured before half-time.
Sam Winnall’s opener was the Rams’ first real attempt on goal but, from that point, they began to slice their way through the Ipswich defence, seemingly at will. The striker was unchallenged after escaping the attention of Jonas Knudsen to head down and home, with the Rams finding space in the final third from then after.
Indeed, it should have been 2-0 less than a minute after the goal as Luke Chambers and Adam Webster left the ball for each other, allowing Vydra clean through on goal to fire over the top. He really should have scored.
Chambers, Knudsen and Jordan Spence all needed to make last-ditch blocks or clearances to keep it at 1-0, while the Blues struggled to create through midfield at all in the opening half.
Winnall’s stunning second ultimately won it, but the tight scoreline certainly flatters Town. The Rams threatened after the break, too, with the direct running of Vydra worrying the Town defence whenever he got on the ball.
McCarthy admitted post-match his side were beaten by the better team and was honest in his assessment, but a much-improved display will be required if they are to get anything at Fulham on Tuesday night.
Blues made a game of it
The Blues gave Derby a game of it in the second half, and for that they deserve some praise.
However, they were thoroughly out-played for the first hour and, in truth, never really looked like forcing an equaliser as they chased the game in the second.
Derby could have been out of sight by the break as their slick, one-touch, football opened the Blues defence up time and again, with Ipswich’s long balls forward in the first half simply coming straight back at them.
It was better in the second half, with Celina getting more time on the ball in a central role behind Martyn Waghorn and Joe Garner, and with Dominic Iorfa striding forward from right-back. He wasn’t able to be much of a threat once he reached the box, though.
McCarthy brought on David McGoldrick to try and unlock the Rams’ defence but, while his introduction did move the Blues up the field, his touch wasn’t there.
Garner’s header brought belief, both on the pitch and in the stands, but that was all the Blues could manage as they were beaten by a better side.
A Winnall stunner – but he almost wasn’t on the pitch
McCarthy described Winnall’s strike as a ‘bomb’ while Rams boss Gary Rowett said it was up there with his side’s best of the season so far.
It was as true a strike as you are likely to see as the forward, who played ahead of both David Nugent and Chris Martin, took aim from the edge of the box and fired into the back of the net.
Rowett admitted post-match that he very nearly didn’t select the striker and that he had changed his plans ’15 times’ in the lead-up to the game. He will be glad he did, while McCarthy will be envious of the options his Derby counterpart has throughout his squad.
As if Ipswich needed any more injury worries.
With eight midfielders already out, McCarthy now has a worry over defender Adam Webster, who limped out of this game after suffering an Achilles problem.
McCarthy says it is too early to know just how bad it is at this stage, but did admit the problem could ‘rumble on’ in the coming weeks.
He has to be a doubt for Tuesday’s visit to Fulham, with Tommy Smith an able deputy while Dominic Iorfa could also come into the side, shifting Jordan Spence to centre-back.
Derby’s run continues
The last seven matches between these two have been won by the away team.
Ipswich’s record at Pride Park sees them unbeaten since November 2006, but the Rams have been just as impressive at Portman Road. They have now won four on-the-spin against the Blues in Suffolk, including twice this calendar year in games where they have been far the better team on both occasions.
The Blues trailed the play-off places by five points heading into this clash and that’s how it stays.
They’ve dropped a position to 11th as a result of scores across the Championship, but defeats for Middlesbrough, Sheffield United and Leeds mean McCarthy’s men have not lost too much ground as we turn into 2018.
They are level on points with Tuesday’s opponents, Fulham and, as Luke Chambers said in the lead up to the Derby game, they can’t afford to drop further behind the play-off pack.