High expectations, returning heroes and aerial dominance make our list of talking points following Ipswich Town’s 2-2 draw with Bristol City
PUBLISHED: 13:32 27 September 2015 | UPDATED: 09:33 28 September 2015
Â© Copyright Stephen Waller
We round up a few of the talking points following the 2-2 draw between Ipswich Town and Bristol City
Expectations are high at Portman Road
A play-off place last season and exciting additions to the squad have created an air of expectation around Portman Road which hasn’t been present for some time.
That expectancy is a good thing, it shows Mick McCarthy and his team have done an excellent job of revitalising a football club in need of direction, but it does bring pitfalls.
There was every expectation of a routine win over a lowly City side yesterday, but things didn’t work out like that. It’s a horrible cliché but no game is easy in the Championship, although this was the type of game which needs to end in three points if you’re going to be genuine promotion contenders.
It’s not a disaster by any means but a run of just five points in five games has brought lofty expectations back down to earth following a dream start which had the Blues top after four games.
They still sit seventh, level on points with Reading in third, but improvement is needed quickly if they are to keep pace at the top.
The Blues were out-battled in the air
Bristol City are a big side and used their size to their advantage at Portman Road. Aden Flint was a mountain at the back and had Daryl Murphy covered for much of the afternoon, before the Irishman was withdrawn, while Nathan Baker was perhaps the visitors’ star man as he blocked whatever came his way. At the other end of the pitch, former Norwich striker Aaron Wilbraham gave Tommy Smith and Christophe Berra a tough afternoon as well, as the Blues came off second best in an aerial battle they seemed happy to be involved in at times.
Ipswich Town’s glorious past was on display, even if the present wasn’t so glorious this time
It was great to see club legends Arnold Muhren and Frans Thijssen back at Portman Road yesterday, as part of a feature for a Dutch football magazine. The duo were key figures in the club’s most decorated period and enjoyed many wonderful afternoons and evenings on the Portman Road pitch.
The pair were introduced to the fans before kick-off and caught up with former teammates John Wark and Mick Mills after the game, in what was a wonderful reminder of the club’s glory days.
How much would these two be worth in the modern day transfer market?
Mick McCarthy showed his loyalty to his players
The Ipswich boss had a wide range of selection decisions to make going into yesterday’s game but stayed loyal.
Bartosz Bialkowski, Jonathan Parr and Kevin Bru all played well enough in the loss at Old Trafford on Wednesday to have real claims for the goalkeeping, left back and central midfield positions, but McCarthy opted to stick with the players who had been a regular part of his Championship teams this season.
New winger Tommy Oar certainly did enough to force himself onto the bench, but that would have been harsh on Larsen Toure following his good performance against Birmingham in the league.
While it’s certainly fair to question whether McCarthy’s loyalty was well-placed or whether he’d have been better off making changes, it’s hard to argue with the methods of a boss who is one of the most respected man managers in the game.
Saying that, the Blues chief now has options at his disposal. Is it time to shake things up?
You can’t take anyone for granted in the Championship
Ipswich boss Mick McCarthy has often described the second tier as ‘bonkers’, with games like yesterday’s perhaps forming part of his evidence. This was no end-to-end thriller by any means, even though there were four goals, but maybe it does qualify for McCarthy’s ‘bonkers’ category.
City came into the clash with just one win all season, an equally bonkers success away at Middlesbrough, making Ipswich heavy favourites. That only increased when the Blues took the lead a minute into the second half, but the team who now sit bottom of the table, who in truth hadn’t shown an awful lot of attacking intent since the game’s early stages, found two quick goals to take the lead.
This was yet another example of not being able to take anything or anyone for granted in this division.