The game yesterday against Millwall at Portman Road was memorable for a number of reasons. Both sides were committed to attack and this made for a wonderful spectacle and whilst the Blues were dedicating most of their efforts to the fans and their boss, The Lions wanted a win to boost their play-off hopes.
I was impressed with Millwall and the way they approached the game but equal praise must go to Town for their wholehearted energy and commitment to the cause, in what was essentially a dead rubber.
It proved something too. Even with a depleted squad, Mick McCarthy managed to assemble a team that were not inferior to the opposition and showed technical ability that has been largely in hiding for most of the season.
The positive attacking formation certainly helped and because our defence was seriously exposed at times – especially after the break, it gave keeper Bartosz Bialkowski the chance to show what he is really worth to Ipswich Town football club.
Ironically, it was when we converted to 4-4-2 in the second half that we became more vulnerable at the back but the visitors were very inventive going forward and found gaps and space all over the place and exposed our defensive frailties in the process.
A draw was probably a fair result and the dark atmosphere that has been hanging over Portman Road for some weeks was replaced by a much brighter mood, and both sides were applauded off at the end of a very entertaining encounter.
The introduction of Ben Folami after the break was another positive move from our departing boss and it was no real surprise that Grant Ward got a look in too, as Mustapha Carayol faded discernibly as the game wore on.
Two goals from Martyn Waghorn turned the game on its head but once Millwall equalized they went up a gear and were threatening every time they entered the Town half.
For once manager Mick McCarthy did not have to suffer any crowd abuse and as a consequence, stayed noble silent on the subject afterwards.
He is however, not feeling at all comfortable in his new caretaker capacity and may throw in the towel before the seasons end.
‘I’ve never been in a driver-less car and I never, ever, intend getting in one. But it must be what it feels like. The car’s yours and the responsibility still lies with you but you haven’t really got control over it and I’m not enjoying it, no.’
Perhaps it is fitting to use that apocalyptic phrase ‘the end is nigh’ because it certainly seems that way now.
Frank Weston – Editor of Vital Football