Stu says: Five observations following Ipswich Town’s 4-1 home win against Burton
PUBLISHED: 19:05 15 February 2020 | UPDATED: 20:24 15 February 2020
Ipswich Town came from behind to record a much-needed 4-1 home win against Burton Albion at Portman Road this afternoon. STUART WATSON reports.
JUST WHAT THE DOCTOR ORDERED
The doubts had been getting louder after one point from four games saw Ipswich Town slip from first to seventh. Do these players have the minerals to deal with this mounting promotion pressure? Are they as good as we'd all believed? Where were the goals going to come from? This was, therefore, a very timely show of both character and quality.
The Blues came from behind. They scored four. It's no exaggeration to say they could have had double that.
Will Keane spurned a decent chance inside the box early on, then Burton went straight down the other end and scored through Jamie Murphy. A collective groan filled the air. This had the potential to get edgy.
Town stuck to their game. Alan Judge fired against the underside of the crossbar, then Kayden Jackson blazed over after rounding the goalkeeper. The feeling at that point was 'here we go again' as, yet again, good play couldn't be finished off.
Thankfully, before those thoughts could fester, the breakthrough came. Jackson latched onto Keane's fine pass up the line and cut the ball back for Judge to finish on the run at the edge of the six-yard box. That front linked up well all game.
A killer second arrived just before the break in route one fashion. Tomas Holy's giant dead ball kick from virtually the goalline sailed over the jumping Keane, who had sucked the defender in, allowing Jackson to score.
Keeper Kieren O'Hara was hurt in the collision and had to be replaced. This now began to feel like it would be Town's day after all.
With all the talk about storm Dennis, it was Kayden Jackson who proved to be the real menace.
Burton simply couldn't deal with his pace and running of the channels. If they went with him, it left space for Keane or Judge to exploit. If they didn't go with him, then he was getting chances himself.
His head could have dropped after firing over an empty net in the first half, but an assist followed.
Both goals were then coolly taken - the first a clipped finish after a good first touch in the box, the second a stooping header, which he did well to adjust for, following Judge's super cross from wide right.
Jackson really should have finished this match with a hat-trick. A hesitant one-on-one attempt was saved by replacement keeper Ben Garratt's legs after another fine Judge pass. And he'll have every right to be fuming with both Keane and Freddie Sears after they both took on ambitious shots in the box rather than providing him with a simple finish.
That's 11 goals and seven assists for the season now, meaning Jackson has been directly involved in 40% of the 45 goals Town have scored in League One.
It's been an up and down first full season for Alan Judge at Portman Road.
The Irishman hasn't quite been the talismanic figure his CV and early impact pointed towards, but today is a reminder that he possesses class that is above League One level.
He rattled the bar before bagging the all-important equaliser, then produced a stream of dangerous crosses and through balls after the break.
It was a case of being in the right place at the right time for his second goal, seeing a low shot squirm under the keeper after Jackson had been tackled in the box. The linesman ruled the ball had crossed the line before Garratt clawed away. Town were certainly due one of those close calls going their way (and it looked correct).
Judge was withdrawn to a deserved standing ovation in the 71st minute. Getting him playing like this consistently will be vital if Town's promotion push is to gather momentum.
Town had looked really vulnerable down their right side in the first half. Gwion Edwards, back in the team following a two-game ban, was caught out of position when Murphy cut inside to open the scoring. The Welsh wing-back then continued to get caught either too high or narrow.
Lambert responded by switching to a 4-4-2 at half-time. The reshuffle saw Edwards move to right-back, Josh Earl shift across to left-back, Luke Garbutt become a left-midfielder and Judge go from No.10 to right-midfield.
It solved the wide issues and, crucially, Judge remained a creative force out on the flank. Credit to him for playing the role with far more positional discipline than earlier in the campaign. Credit to Lambert for reacting tactically.
PLENTY OF POSITIVES
Teddy Bishop and Freddie Sears both looked sharp when they came on. Bishop forced Garratt into flying save with a bending effort and, although substitute Sears was guilty of being greedy late on, it is perhaps understandable that he saw his name in lights following almost a year out through injury. The fact it was his high press that led to that chance shouldn't be overlooked.
Earl built on a decent full debut at AFC Wimbledon with an impressive display. He was solid defensively and contributed to the attack.
And while Keane may not have got in on the goals or assists, his link-up play was central to this victory. With him, Judge, Jon Nolan and Luke Garbutt all coming into the team the Blues looked a far more creative force.
Oh, and Flynn Downes was excellent again.