Joy of six for Ipswich
Ipswich Town 4 Wimbledon 1TWO wins in four days, and it is all looking much better now.Ipswich Town passed a critical week with credit, making it six points in 91 hours after this hammering of a poor Wimbledon side.
By Elvin King
Ipswich Town 4 Wimbledon 1
TWO wins in four days, and it is all looking much better now.
Ipswich Town passed a critical week with credit, making it six points in 91 hours after this hammering of a poor Wimbledon side.
All of a sudden the defeats again Wigan, West Ham and West Brom look to be less severe as all three clubs sit near the top of the table.
And even Crewe are proving hard to beat at Gresty Road as Saturday's win over Nottingham Forest proves.
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When an amazing run of league fixtures against sides beginning with W concludes at Watford on Saturday, a win against another lowly side will see Town rise to mid-table – with everything still to play for.
Take Town's financial position and multiply it a number of times and this is the current Wimbledon situation.
However good or bad the board was at Wimbledon, the club's fortunes have certainly not been helped by the arrival of the current consortium.
Since then life for the once-famous party poopers has taken a dramatic turn for the worse – a lesson here for Ipswich fans perhaps.
Better the devil you know, and all that.
A move to Milton Keynes will be the making or final breaking of the Dons, and we wish them well.
Like Walsall they have played a timely and welcome part in Town's revival, offering fragile opposition just waiting to be beaten.
Full marks to the Blues for getting the job done, and excuses can be found for the errors that led to both recent wins being more nerve-wracking than they should have been.
If Ipswich learn how to keep clean sheets then this could still be a season to remember. Not since Richard Wright found a perfect relationship with his back four in the promotion year and first season back in the Premiership have Town been strong at the back.
If Kelvin Davis and company can find the same understanding then points will continue to flow – and probably in sufficient numbers to see the Blues make a steady rise up the First Division table.
But, to be honest, this is not looking likely with too much edginess and too many errors being displayed at the back.
Manager Joe Royle appears correct when he says that he has enough firepower at his disposal.
But the goals must not be nullified by mistakes at the other end.
Darren Bent has now got into the swing of things again, and he was a constant threat on another glorious sun-kissed afternoon.
Alun Armstrong also has a big part to play if he can stay healthy, and his workrate and craft were often too much for the rather raw Dons defenders to cope with.
Pablo Counago was thirsting for a goal, and who could deny him his moment of satisfaction from the penalty spot to seal the three points?
The Spaniard has looked a class act during his substitute appearances over the last week, and if he can turn on the style away from Portman Road as well then Ipswich have a trump card in their pack.
And the fourth front man, Dean Bowditch, must not be forgotten. The 17-year-old has forced his way into the first team squad on merit and continues to make a man-size contribution when asked.
And more good news. Royle's high reputation for delving into the loan market has been confirmed by the arrival of Chris Bart-Williams and Alan Mahon.
They both needed games under their belts – particularly Mahon – to regain match fitness after lengthy spells in reserve or Second Division football.
Bart-Williams has added grit to the midfield and the Charlton player has combined well with skipper Jim Magilton.
Irishman Mahon is not the type to suffer from a lack of confidence, and his effervescence is there for all to see.
He provides much needed pace and a left foot that can open up defences at a stroke. And his keenness to run at the heart of defences makes him a crowd pleaser as well.
Mahon delivered three expert crosses with his educated left foot that led to Town's first three goals.
Would Wimbledon's brittle defence have been opened up by the Town side that began the season? This is one for Town fans to ponder on.
Jermaine Wright made a mess of too many things in the opening half, but by the final whistle he had done enough to justify his place.
He has bags of experience now at this level and after an uncertain couple of years can – like Armstrong – become a big player again.
Magilton's legs at 34 may not be so fresh, but the former Northern Ireland captain still has a dominant role to play.
He doesn't suffer fools easily and couples his desire to have his team mates performing at their top level with an astute use of the ball when in possession.
With a bit of pacing by Royle, Magilton can last the distance and still be a significant player come next May.
While the midfield and attack appear to now be up to scratch it is the defence where question marks still lie.
Fabian Wilnis is having a consistent campaign, while Matt Richards on the evidence of the last two games can stand in for Chris Makin well enough.
Georges Santos had another sound game at the heart of the defence while Drissa Diallo did well enough in his short stay.
Richard Naylor had an eventful first period, scoring, being booked for a tackle that could have brought a red card, and then making a mistake that led to the Wimbledon goal.
But in the second period he settled down well, admittedly against a toothless visiting attack.
It is collectively where the worries are, and if Royle and his head man Willie Donachie can cure these ills and stop the flow of bad goals then the first month of the season will have been little more than a blip.
Touching bottom was a shock. It appears to have fired Town into gear.