Andy's Angles: Five observations following Town's battling 1-1 draw with Aston Villa
PUBLISHED: 11:41 19 August 2018
© Copyright Stephen Waller
Andy Warren gives his thoughts on the Blues 1-1 draw with Aston Villa.
Hurst gets his answers
Paul Hurst is still waiting for his first win as Ipswich Town manager. But, in many ways, this will have felt like one.
Hurst left his players with plenty to ponder following his comments after Tuesday night’s defeat at Exeter and, in the main, he got answers to many of those questions this afternoon.
No Ipswich player could be accused of not giving 100 per cent in this one, particularly once down to 10 men after the dismissal of Tayo Edun, with each and every player chasing, closing down, putting themselves into 50/50 challenges and playing positively to the end.
Experienced heads Luke Chambers and Cole Skuse led from the front, with the latter putting in his best display of the Hurst-era, while there was much more support of lone-striker Ellis Harrison prior to the dismissal of Edun.
Jon Nolan made things tick in midfield, while Janoi Donacien had his best game in an Ipswich shirt at right back.
Things became ragged once the hosts were reduced to 10 men, which is to be expected, but they didn’t simply shut up shop and looked to attack where possible and search for a winner of their own. Villa will be disappointed not to have created more of their own, given their advantage both numerically and in terms of possession.
They were rightly applauded off at full-time, with Hurst receiving a big reception as he showed his thanks to the fans before exiting down the tunnel.
They may not have got the win, but Hurst certainly won’t be questioning his players’ character after this one.
It was always going to be an uphill task following Edun’s red card after 40 minutes.
It was a harsh dismissal, too, with both of the Fulham loanee’s two yellows highly debatable.
The first came for a late tackle on Ahmed Elmohamady, as the youngster put his leg in as the Blues looked to break, before the second came for a foul on Axel Tuanzebe just before the break.
Referee Tim Robinson let a number of similar tackles go without even the punishment of a free-kick during a first-half littered with debatable decisions, while Edun’s tackles were punished by yellows.
By nature he’s a niggly player, as he looks to win the ball back from players physically bigger than him, and he was given a last warning prior to his second yellow.
Still, his dismissal was harsh.
His departure fired up the crowd who played a major part in ensuring the Blues kept their tempo high and kept their visitors out.
Robinson, naturally, was booed as he left the pitch at the end of both halves.
It’s throw joke
Those connected with Ipswich will have been watching the World Cup last 16 clash between Croatia and Denmark with envious eyes, as Jonas Knudsen’s long throws caused problem after problem for the Croatian defence. Indeed, it was from one such throw the Danes opened the scoring after less than a minute of a game they would ultimately lose on penalties.
But they have threatened little or no damage in an Ipswich shirt throughout the full-back’s time in Suffolk.
It’s finally born fruit, though, with his lofted hurl into the box tempting Villa goalkeeper Orjan Nyland to come and drop, allowing Trevoh Chalobah to fire home.
Given Paul Hurst enjoys an inventive set-piece, you get the impression we may be seeing a few more of these going forward.
Waiting in the wings
Grant Ward and Freddie Sears had both been given the opportunity to impress in wide areas during the first three games of the Hurst era, with neither able to take their chance.
The pair were back on the bench for the start of this game, with Gwion Edwards returning from injury and Edun given his starting chance on the left against Villa.
Sadly that chance lasted just 40 minutes before his harsh dismissal, meaning another change will be needed for Tuesday’s visit to Derby.
Jordan Roberts didn’t even make today’s matchday squad, having not impressed sufficiently in pre-season, while it’s clear Hurst is yet to be sold on either Ward or Sears.
With a little less than two weeks left of the window for loan signing, another winger must be high on the boss’s shopping list.
Thunder and lightning
Hurst has the ability to switch up his attack and provide his opposition with different tests.
We’ve yet to see the best of Ellis Harrison and Kayden Jackson, but their differing qualities are clear to see.
Harrison is the thunder, putting his body through the ringer for the duration of his performances, not giving his markers a moment to rest and looking to bring others into play.
He still needs more support from midfield and wide areas, though.
Jackson, a substitute is the lightning, with his pace likely to scare any opponent.
We’ve not seen it in full force yet, but the prospect is exciting.