Stuart says – Five observations following Ipswich Town’s 2-1 win at Burton Albion
PUBLISHED: 18:41 28 October 2017 | UPDATED: 18:52 28 October 2017
Bersant Celina’s last-gasp free-kick goal secured Ipswich Town a 2-1 comeback win at struggling Burton Albion this afternoon. STUART WATSON anslyses the action on and off the pitch.
Celina the hero
When super sub Bersant Celina bent home the 89th minute free-kick winner in front of the travelling Town fans there was pandemonium.
The confident Kosovan chucked his shirt into the crowd and stood topless, chest puffed out after a posy Cristiano Ronaldo-style celebration.
Blues supporters, who had been chanting his name throughout the second half, went absolutely potty. They had seen their team toil, trail to Ben Turner’s header (57), but find a way back through Martyn Waghorn’s strike (66).
These are scenes that will live long in the memory.
Here’s the background…
Not long after he was told he’d be on the bench again, the Manchester City loanee tweeted last night: “2 months until New Year. Can’t wait.”
Given he has voiced his frustration at a lack of game-time previously and liked several fans’ tweets calling for him to play, it’s not hard to reach the inference that he is counting down the days until a mid-season recall.
McCarthy has said there is no problem with the skilful attacker’s work-rate and attitude, but has limited him to just two league starts.
Today, both Grant Ward and the transfer-listed Kevin Bru came on ahead of him.
He may have been inconsistent. He may try his tricks in the wrong areas. He can get fans off their seats and do something out of nothing though.
That’s why the Blues supporters demanded, with increasing noise, to see him introduced as Town toiled at the Pirelli Stadium.
They finally got their wish in the 84th minute, ironic cheers greeting his late introduction.
You couldn’t have written the script.
Torturous and toxic
Mick McCarthy said on the eve of this season that his job was ‘getting the top three songs in the Ipswich hit parade ruined and below number 40’.
Unfortunately, all of the old songs climbed back into the top 10 during a torturous first hour for Town.
When David McGoldrick’s tame angled shot was dropped upon by the keeper in the 35th minute there were ironic cheers followed by chants of ‘we’ve had a shot!’
The travelling Blues fans then gave renditions of ‘Mick McCarthy, your football is s**t’ and ‘Mick McCarthy, get out of our club’.
When McCarthy reacted to going 1-0 down in the 57th minute by replacing Tristan Nydam with the previously exiled Kevin Bru the call was ‘you don’t know what you’re doing’.
After Celina score the winner, the chant was ‘shall we pick the team for you’.
Charity begins at home
In recent years there has always been a sense that if a team or player was suffering a dry spell in front of goal then Ipswich were the ones it always seemed to end against.
When centre-back Ben Turner headed home Matthew Lund’s corner in the 57th minute it represented Burton’s first league goal in more than nine hours. It was their first from open play in almost 10.
McCarthy was dismissive of the ‘keyboard warriors’ who have criticised his tactics of late in the build-up.
Having lined up with three different formations for the previous three defeats – 4-2-3-1 against Bristol City, 3-5-2 at Sheffield United and 4-3-3 against Norwich – he made it four here.
The starting system could best be described as 4-2-3-1. Tristan Nydam and Cole Skuse sat deep, David McGoldrick was an advanced midfielder, with Freddie Sears, Joe Garner and Martyn Waghorn up top.
After a disastrous opening 20 minutes, in which Town barely strung three passes together, it required yet another early tactical tweak.
McGoldrick, strangely, was pushed wide right. Waghorn played in the hole. It became a 4-2-3-1 but did little to invigorate the Blues.
Time-and-time again aimless punts forwards were gobbled up by Burton’s back three.
McCarthy was like a coiled spring on the edge of his technical area in the first half.
He continually barked at Jonas Knudsen to get wider and deal with advanced right-wing back Lucas Akins. He hollered at his midfielders to close down quicker. He unleashed a tirade of profanity at the referee after an innocuous foul on Martyn Waghorn.
In the lulls, he was in constant conversation with assistant Terry Connor. The tension and frustration was palpable.
A classic, sweary, belligerent, confrontational post-match press conference followed. He appears to have given up in his battle to win back hearts and minds.