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Stuart Watson’s Sunday Verdict: Why Ipswich Town are just like Indiana Jones

PUBLISHED: 13:32 17 December 2017 | UPDATED: 13:52 17 December 2017

Martyn Waghorn and Luke Chambers after Town's 2-0 win over Reading.    Picture: STEVE WALLER     WWW.STEPHENWALLER.COM

Martyn Waghorn and Luke Chambers after Town's 2-0 win over Reading. Picture: STEVE WALLER WWW.STEPHENWALLER.COM

© Copyright Stephen Waller

There’s an iconic scene in Raiders of the Lost Ark where Indiana Jones watches his adversary display an array of fancy sword skills before giving him a withering look, whipping out his gun and shooting him dead.

Ruthless Ipswich Town are the Hollywood hero in that analogy at present, making a mockery of the possession obsession.

Reading were the latest team to come to Portman Road, enjoy the lion’s share of the ball – 72% – only to leave with their tails between their legs, as Town ran out 2-0 winners.

Nottingham Forest had 71% of the ball and lost 4-2, Preston had 64% of the ball and lost 3-0, Sheffield Wednesday had 68% of the ball and were fortunate to escape with a 2-2 draw, while Brentford had 65% of the ball and lost 2-0.

Only struggling Sunderland and Bolton have produced less shots on goal per game than Ipswich (10.6), but only league-leaders Wolves have scored more than their 37. Talk about clinical.

Ipswich Town have the second worst possession stats when ity comes to home games in the Championship so far. Data courtesy of WhoScored.com Ipswich Town have the second worst possession stats when ity comes to home games in the Championship so far. Data courtesy of WhoScored.com

It’s a reminder that only one stat matters – who puts the ball in the net the most.

Direct football can be painfully dull and predictable to watch when executed poorly, as Town fans can testify from the not so distant past. Watching a team pass it sideways across the back four can be equally as boring and ineffectual though.

There can be a lot of snobbery about style of play, but ultimately it’s about playing to your strengths and doing what you do well.

Town – up to eighth and just two points adrift of the play-off places with almost half the season gone – are certainly doing that right now.

Ipswich Town have the third worst number of shots per game in the Championship, but only leaders Wolves have scored more than their 37 goals. Data courtesy of WhoScored.com. Ipswich Town have the third worst number of shots per game in the Championship, but only leaders Wolves have scored more than their 37 goals. Data courtesy of WhoScored.com.

Martyn Waghorn presses from the front, Joe Garner roughs up centre-backs, Bersant Celina provides some trickery, while Callum Connolly has been a revelation in midfield.

Bravo Mr McCarthy. With a clutch of bargain buys he has transformed a stale, one-paced team into one that maintains a sense of anticipation through a mixture of dynamism, fluidity and aggressive edge. Summer signings have now provided 26 of the 37 goals scored.

At last, the long trip to Suffolk holds a sense of trepidation for Championship opposition again. Not because the walls of Portman Road have been fortified, but because of the significantly upgraded troops and firepower in residence.

TOWN’S HOME FORM COMPARISON

2017/18: P11 W7 D1 L3 F22 A11 (currently 8th)

2016/17: P23 W8 D10 L5 F30 A24 (Finished 16th)

2015/16: P23 W9 D8 L6 F28 A24 (Finished 7th)

2014/15: P23 W15 D5 L3 F40 A18 (Finished 6th)

Former Ipswich Town player Georges Santos joined Andy Warren for a special edition of the Kings of Anglia Podcast.

Joe Garner turned home to finish off a superb Ipswich Town move as the Blues rescued a draw at Bolton.

Town fan Karl Fuller looks back at Town’s draw at Bolton and why one of Mick McCarthy’s after-match comments was not needed

The answer to the question Mick McCarthy posed after his side’s 1-1 draw at Bolton is undoubtedly ‘no’.

Terry Hunt says a feeling of togetherness between fans and the club appears a million miles away at Portman Road right now.

Player watch: It’s fair to say Ipswich Town’s two Friday signings split opinion when they were unveiled.

Ipswich Town drew a scrappy Championship match 1-1 at Bolton Wanderers this afternoon. STUART WATSON gives his snap observations.

Joe Garner netted an 82nd equaliser as Town draw 1-1 with Bolton at the Macron Stadium.

- Here is the selection of tweets from Town fans

How impressed and who had more to give? Andy Warren hands out his player grades after Town’s 1-1 draw at Bolton.

Ipswich Town boss Mick McCarthy admitted that this afternoon’s scrappy 1-1 draw at Bolton Wanderers was ‘the worst game I’ve seen for a long time’.

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