Winners and Losers: Stock exchange, problem positions and playing catch-up
- Credit: Steve Waller - www.stephenwaller
Ipswich Town were beaten 5-2 at home by Bolton Wanderers on Saturday. Andy Warren looks at the weekend's winners and losers.
Not too many ‘winners’ emerge from a 5-2 home loss.
But there were some decent individual performances from Ipswich players in this game.
Macauley Bonne received his awards for winning Town’s goal and player of the month awards for August prior to the match and was celebrating again just five minutes into the game, after tapping home the opener. He led the line well throughout, too.
Bonne’s opener was supplied by Wes Burns, with the Welshman able to threaten whenever Town get him the ball with room to run at his left-back and space in behind to try and reach and exploit.
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He provided both of the Ipswich goals doing exactly that. Town need to get him involved in that way as often as possible.
Then there’s Sone Aluko, an attacker of great pedigree who had not come out of the blocks particularly quickly at Portman Road. That’s largely down to an injury suffered early in his debut against Newport.
But he was effective in this one, both on and off the ball. He figures to be an asset.
It’s clear midfielder Sam Morsy is highly regarded by Town boss Paul Cook, who gave the Egyptian the captain’s armband at both Chesterfield and Wigan.
But anyone who invested in metaphorical Morsy stock since his arrival in Suffolk would be experiencing quite the metaphorical windfall following Cook’s post-match comments.
“I know the personnel in the building,” the Town boss said. “I know the players we’ve got to come in. I know the characteristics of the Samy Morsy-type, for example.
“Everything that we lacked today will be there times 10 from him. There will be no performances like that when he’s in the team.”
No pressure, then.
Maybe, just maybe, this weekend’s miserable result may have an impact on the side Cook fields tomorrow night in the Papa John’s Trophy.
The Town boss has already stated new signing Morsy will make his debut against West Ham’s Under 21s at Portman Road and that a strong side will be fielded, but the temptation must be there to go even stronger than first planned.
Ipswich Town need to win a football match. We know that. And tomorrow’s game is a golden opportunity to do just that.
Licking their lips
Once West Ham’s kids have been and gone, Teddy Bishop and Lincoln City are next up for Ipswich Town when League One action resumes.
And, following a five-star performance of their own, winning 5-1 at Cambridge this weekend, they will be buoyed by the prospect of facing an Ipswich side on the other end of a miserable result.
Man who used to be in the middle
For Bolton Wanderers fans, one man springs to mind every time they discuss either Ipswich Town or Portman Road.
Referee Barry Knight, the man in the middle for that joyous play-off final second leg at Portman Road in 2000, remains a villain at the stadium formerly known as the Rebook, following an evening when he awarded three Ipswich penalties and sent off two Wanderers players.
Manager at the time, Sam Allardyce, still hasn’t forgiven Knight who, he says, held a grudge against his side.
"He could have done untold damage to this football club that will be felt over the next two years,” Allardyce said. “You just don't know how long it might take us to get into a position like this again.” He hasn’t backed down from his view, even with the passing of 21 years.
But, following Wanderers’ first win in Suffolk since a 2-1 success in 2001, two-goal star Dapo Afolayan may be the man that springs to mind when Bolton heads think of Suffolk.
Barry will be relieved.
Town’s promotion chances
There are 40 League One games remaining and nothing is won or lost at this stage.
But you can’t argue the Blues haven’t done harm to their chances of automatic promotion during the first six matches of the campaign.
At this early stage, the Blues are already 12 points behind leaders Sunderland, 10 behind Wigan in second and nine further back from the five teams (four of which Ipswich have played) who occupy positions 3-7.
Town have games in hand on a few of those but they are also seven points shy even of a place in the top half of the table as things stand.
This is not where we expected Ipswich to be at this stage. Cook’s men desperately need to find a foothold soon.
Getting the hook
It was hard not to feel for Kane Vincent-Young as he left the field after 21 minutes of the game.
On a booking, firmly on the back-foot thanks to Dapo Afolayan’s threat and having given a penalty away, Cook took decisive action and quickly brought on Janoi Donacien to take Vincent-Young out of the firing line. He simply didn’t look right.
It was absolutely the right decision, with Cook ensuring the departing man received a huge hug and a calming word as he left the pitch.
What happens to him from here remains to be scene, but it’s not impossible Donacien gets a run in the side in the coming days and weeks.
It’s not ideal to concede five goals on your debut for your new club.
But that’s the situation Christian Walton and George Edmundson found themselves in this weekend.
Goalkeeper Walton wasn’t particularly culpable for any of the Bolton goals, though did have a few shaky moments, while central defender Edmundson’s debut went downhill following a solid start.
Both have much more to give than we saw in their first games for the Blues.
The 10 men
Ipswich haven’t worked out how to use their No.10s so far this season.
This match saw Conor Chaplin return for the first time since the opening day but, just like in the game with Morecambe, found it difficult to influence the game as the Blues struggle to threaten through the middle of the pitch. He had moments, but far too few of them.
We’ve also seen Louie Barry, Joe Pigott and Scott Fraser have a stab at the role and, while the latter is a No.10 specialist, even he has found the going a little tough.
Cook needs to find a way to make this role work as soon as possible.
But without doubt the biggest concern coming out of this game is one which had already emerged during the early weeks of the season – the Ipswich Town midfield.
Morsy is waiting in the wings, of course, but the issues encountered by Lee Evans and Rekeem Harper are worrying.
The two midfielders’ job in Cook teams is to help form a defensive ‘box’ with the two centre-halves, give the full-backs freedom to roam forwards and to get the team moving by switching play and moving the ball around the field. They are not doing any of those jobs well enough.
Tom Carroll looks likely to start against West Ham on Tuesday and a good performance could see the former Tottenham and QPR man force his way into the league side.
It’s clear from Cook’s comments, though, that the eggs are firmly in the Morsy basket.