As we look to a new life in Division One, there is at least some hope that manager Paul Lambert is getting the dynamics of his right. Yesterday, the Blues played once again with a diamond formation and apart from another horrendous piece of defending that put us on the back foot again, we came away with a deserved draw that possibly deserved more.
If it had not been for that outrageous miscommunication which occurred just before half time between keeper Bartosz Bialkowski and centre-back Jonas Knudsen, I think we could have gleaned all three points here and much the same could be said of our weekend fixture at Portman Road between Town and Derby. That would have been six points from two home matches instead of the paltry two. In the grand scheme of things, it matters not.
All things considered though, and for a club that is rock bottom of the Championship, events are not what we have come to expect. For a start, the Town fans are totally behind everything that Paul Lambert is trying to do and given our desperate plight, this is an extraordinary situation, as our manager has alluded to on a number of occasions. Yes, there are some supporters who are becoming increasingly cynical but they are clearly in the minority still and the goodwill that has been bestowed on a former Norwich boss, is both charming and admirable and Lambert is fully aware of this.
The other peculiarity of our current predicament is the way the team is playing. For a side, in our position, you would expect heads to drop when we go a goal down – especially the way it transpired yesterday and its terrible timing, just before the interval. If anything, however, the opposite was true and this speaks volumes for the way the players have bought into the Lambert school of football philosophy. Playing the diamond formation has turned us into a side that is aesthetically pleasing on the eye, and Lambert’s exudes positivity in everything he says and does.
Big changes are afoot for next season and a lot of the loan players will have departed to pastures new again. I will particularly miss Mathew Pennington, who has been a revelation in the club colours as a centre-back and Will Keane, and to a lesser extent perhaps James Bree will also be sadly missed. They have all played their part this season and have given the squad a greater sense of purpose.
It was wonderful yesterday to see our very own Teddy Bishop play so well again and play the full 90 minutes until tactically substituted in add on time. How good he looks again, and let us hope he can remain injury free for the rest of this campaign. Alan Judge was also impressive again and he really does suit playing at the head of a diamond and not out on the wing.
Ipswich Town: Bialkowski (captain), Bree, Pennington, Knudsen, Kenlock, Chalobah, Nolan (Edwards 8o), Bishop (Nsiala 90), Judge, Quaner (Jackson 63), Keane. Unused: Gerken, Skuse, Dozzell and Dawkins.
Stoke City: Butland Edwards, Batth (captain), Martins Indi, Clucas, Woods (Adam 81), Allen, Etebo, Ince (Shawcross 88), McClean (Afobe 76), Vokes. Unused: Federici, Bauer, Williams and Bojan.
Referee: Scott Duncan from Northumberland.
Away Support: 1,138