Dave Gooderham: 'I fear opponents are starting to work us out a little'
PUBLISHED: 06:00 28 November 2019 | UPDATED: 11:18 28 November 2019
In his latest column, Dave Gooderham discusses the controversial home draw with Wycombe and his concerns about the task ahead for Town.
A little over 12 hours after Ipswich Town's goalless draw at home to fellow promotion contenders Wycombe, the feelings are still raw. It would be easy to decry the performance of the man in the middle.
Should he have given Ipswich a first half penalty? I'm not sure. Was Kayden Jackson interfering in an offside position when Luke Chambers' header found its way into the net? Definitely not, although I wasn't sure at first.
Did Chambers then tug his man outside the area before Young pointed to the spot. Definitely again, although the Town skipper would have then been facing a red card and suspension rather then 'benefiting' from the new double jeopardy rule.
Will any of the above moments, or indeed any performance from any man in the middle, stop Ipswich from getting promoted at the end of the season? Certainly not.
Of course, someone could easily get in touch and say if Ipswich lose out by a point or two, we can blame a Tuesday night home draw with Wycombe, in November, and an inept referring performance. But I'm not having that. To quote a certain man in the home dugout, nothing is ever won in November. Nor lost.
If Ipswich don't go up, it would be wrong to put the blame on match officials. Of course, Chambers' goal should have stood and Tomas Holy should not have been needed to perform late heroics from a spot kick.
But if we just miss out on promotion, I would look at why we didn't accrue enough points for automatic promotion. And the reason would sit with the players and the manager, not a referee.
MORE: 'I always stay out of penalties at training, I hate it... I'm not that type of keeper' - Hero Holy and his unusual spot kick routines
Taking that analysis, it is clear that Ipswich are not going to have everything their own way in their pursuit for an instant return to the Championship. At one stage this season, it looked like it might be a canter - Town didn't need to be at their best to claim three points, however narrow, against seemingly inferior opponents.
But Blackpool and Wycombe are clearly made of sterner stuff. As I am sure, Peterborough, Coventry and improving Portsmouth - to name a few - are also. League One is looking a very difficult league to get promoted from, as Sunderland fans would testify.
Two points from the last two home games is not exactly easing any nerves even though the performance against Blackpool and the first half against Wycombe was encouraging.
The second 45 minutes on Tuesday night was more typical of League One fare. Neither side giving an inch, a little lacking in quality, and overall a war of attrition. It was not easy on the eye and I am now starting to wonder whether it will be this season.
It's easy to say that Ipswich's squad should, on paper at least, be romping this league. But it is the first X1 rather than the strength in depth that I am starting to worry about.
We look pretty solid and our defensive stats are good. Jackson and James Norwood look a threat, together. But I fear opponents are starting to work us out a little.
We need a little more creativity in the centre of the park to break down teams, who will often park the bus, never mind who is behind the wheel. Tuesday night's game, for me, was crying out for Alan Judge in the centre of the park, his coveted position, but Lambert opted to stick with Jon Nolan for the duration.
The manager's subs have raised eyebrows lately with some suggesting they are too late. It's a difficult one to call as there is a 'risk versus reward' mentality.
MORE: 'This is a big club to referee... It's not Mickey Mouse football' - Lambert fumes at officials after goalless home draw with Wycombe
And Lambert did bravely change Ipswich's formation and shape late on against Wycombe. But I couldn't help thinking that a 3-5-2 was made for Judge, especially as the second half progressed against tiring opponents.
But it was not to be as we move on to more cup football. Coventry v Ipswich throws up images of Houchen v Osgood for two former FA Cup winners.
Only this time, it will probably mean wholesale changes, when I would like to see the likes of Chambers, Jackson and others start getting more football and more momentum.
If not, they will have another 11 days to wait. Which is clearly frustrating for everyone.