Date: 11th December 2017 at 4:55pm
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At the Riverside Stadium on Saturday we defended well but not well enough and the usual culprits were responsible for some inept marking and a collective failure to clear their own lines.

Middlesbrough came into this match on the back of three defeats from their last four games so confidence was at a low, as former Blues Striker Alan Armstrong alluded to before kick off.

But perhaps because we have done rather well recently at stealing points from opponents who have had the bulk of possession, manager Mick McCarthy reverted to his safety first approach from last season, which re-emphasised his personal mantra, that a point away is always a good point.

That is indeed a good point provided you get one and on this occasion we were found wanting defensively again and at at the worst possible moments in the game.

To concede just before the break and again just afterwards, knocked the stuffing out of Town and I guess it is very easy in hindsight to see how this situation could have been avoided.

I would however agree with a number of other journalists and supporters, who suggest that given the frail form that the Boro were in, we should have gone for the jugular from the off.

Instead we played a waiting game and there was a certain inevitability about the end outcome. We are great at going forward but our defending is still a cause for serious concern.

Mick McCarthy set his stall out for a point and ended up with nothing and it was a similar story at Villa recently, when we lost to an identical socreline.

Once again, the hosts were lacking confidence before we played them and once again, their spirits were lifted because we played a game we seem no longer especially good at and that is defending.

And McCarthy said afterwards that both goals were avoidable.

‘They`re all good goals when you score them. We lost the ball up the pitch when we should have stuck it in behind them on 44 minutes. Then we didn`t stop the cross. We`d been able to certainly nullify most of their threats and we may still have been able to do it, if we hadn`t given a stupid goal away on 51 minutes.’

But how many more stupid goals will Town concede this season before the penny drops? Luke Chambers is a good captain in the sense that he has a big mouth and is totally committed to the cause but his overall performances at the back certainly leave a lot to be desired. He was reinstated for this one and it showed.

Adam Tanner is far and away a better prospect but we need another old head at the back with a bit more football nous in my view.

This defeat was avoidable as all defeats are but we were up against the bookies favourites to return to the Prem at the first attempt – having spent in excess of 43 million smackeroos, so the odds were against us from the start and so it was to prove.


Frank Weston – Editor of Vital Ipswich

 

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