Date: 6th April 2016 at 4:18pm
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It is now 273 minutes since the blues scored but worse still, this blank ended all hopes of a play-off place against a side struggling at the very foot of the championship table.

The inquest can now officially begin and for the first time since manager Mick McCarthy took over, we are going backwards in the league table and the natives are getting restless.

It could be argued that he did too well last season when we were seen by many to have exceeded all reasonable expectations but the sad truth is that we were punching above our weight, little else.

As I have said many times before, if you are winning then drab football is just about excusable but if there is one thing that we have been consistent at, it is playing this sort of game.

It could be argued too that we have been spoilt over the years with coaches that have wanted to entertain. For what it is worth even Paul Jewell fell into that category – although we were on the receiving end of a lot of those high scoring games sadly.

The George Burley era yielded a team that produced good attacking football and this from an ex-player who was a defender!

The difference perhaps is that Burley was more of a wing-back rather than the McCarthy mold of dogged centre half.

As a person I quite like Mick McCarthy but as a manager he would have been way down the list of preferred choices and yet we must give credit where credit is due and his diligent application and pragmatical style was the reason we did not fall further down the league pyramid and against all the odds as well. He knew how to scrap for points. The problem however is that he is still doing it!

Let us be absolutely fair to Mick McCarthy and say that our decline is not entirely his fault. Throughout the season we have lost some key players and only now are we witnessing the return of two of them, in Teddy Bishop and David McGoldrick – who will do well to make the Irish squad for France judging by last night’s showing because time is against him.

The other big let down is owner Marcus Evans. He may be the Howard Hughes of football but does that mean he takes no interest in the club at all? Why did he not help our manager in the transfer window – or was that stubborn Mick again blindly arguing that he could not get any better than he had?

Whatever the reasons, most of us felt in January that we would suffer by not investing and so it was to prove.

The other nail in Mick’s coffin was his insistence of playing players out of position. Luke Chambers is a passionate captain but he will never make a wing back and he has admitted it is not his where he wants to play but will do a job for the club.

It is any surprise that Freddy Sears has not scored in twenty games when he is an out and out striker and not someone that should be providing crosses from the wings. Last season he was prolific but that was running through the middle which is his strength.

Then we have that ultra defensive midfield which inevitably involves Cole Skuse and past his sell-by date Jonathan Douglas who at 34 really is going backwards!

This lack of goals and flair in the midfield put greater pressure on our forwards and a lack of goals this season from our defensive pairings just exacerbated the situation.

Goals win games and although McCarthy reluctantly decided to re-introduce Bartosz Bialkowski when Gerken got injured, all it did was to ensure that our defence was a bit more capable and little else. It is nice to keep clean sheets but we have to score at the other end to make a real difference!

For the record, just under 18,000 attended last night’s game at Portman Road and this included a fair few hundred from Charlton Athletic who really should have won this game.

As for Town, there is little more to be said. We will not make the play-off’s even if we were to win our remaining matches so now it is time to blood the youngsters and move on – with or without Mick McCarthy, who stopped the rot before the rot stopped him perhaps?

I even got money back for a free bet from William Hill because they said no one likes a bore draw and how right they are!

Ipswich Town: Bialkowski, Chambers (captain), Smith, Berra, Knudsen, Skuse, Douglas, Pringle (Varney 47), Feeney, Sears, Pitman. Subs: Gerken, Foley, Hyam, Bru, Bishop (82), McGoldrick (66)

Charlton: Pope, Solly (c), Fanni, Teixeira, Fox, Diarra, Cousins, Gudmundsson (Motta 19 (Makienok 86), Lookman, Harriott (Vetokele 74), Sanogo. Subs: Henderson, Suk-Young, Lennon, Jackson. Referee: Oliver Langford (West Midlands).

Attendance: 17,787 (Charlton: 552).

Frank Weston – editor of Vital Ipswich


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