Ryan Tunnicliffe Loan Watch 2013-14: October At Ipswich Town

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By Dan George (Ipswich Town supporter)

How’s it going? Firstly apologies for the double whammy of reports, error on my part. I’ll try and keep it interesting so you don’t feel as if having it wade through two of these is too much of a chore! Not that it should be anyway.

Our October to most football fans would be seen as bizarre, abnormal possibly even a crisis. But to a someone who’s supported their team for 12 straight seasons in the wackiest league on the face of this planet, I can’t really say I’m surprised. We took 3 points from 4 games with a lot more left behind on the way through this crazy month. And I have to say, Tunnicliffe is starting to become the talk of unrest amongst Town fans, but I’ll get onto that in a bit.

Derby County 4-4 Ipswich Town – Tuesday, 1 October 2013

Derby were managerless, we were bang in form, and 4-1 up at half time! Surely this is where we secure our first away win of the season and continue our surge into the top 6. Only this is Ipswich, it’s never straight forward, despite goals from Daryl Murphy, Aaron Cresswell, Christophe Berra and Murphy again you always fancy another goal is needed just to be safe with Town. Tunnicliffe had a big hand in two of the goals through hard work and one particularly excellent cross. After the restart Derby pull one back in about 20 seconds, my exact words at the time to my mate were “here we go” and a team two goals ahead all of a sudden turn into something so poor it would rival n0rw7ch at the moment!

You know a third is coming, the home fans are behind their team, Derby are playing well (a stark contrast to the first half), and the goal eventually does come with 20 minutes remaining, through good play with young Will Hughes heavily involved.

And then Town dig in, surely they can’t hold onto this? Surely they can’t? That’s right they can’t, on 88 minutes some timid school boy defending from a Derby corner allowed their captain to equalise and send them nuts. I won’t repeat my words at the time because if there is life after death I’m pretty sure writing what I said won’t get me a good one!

But there was still time for Derby to win and they should have if it wasn’t for goalkeeper Gerkan, who actually claimed a cross, which surely would have lead to a fifth. Town had their own chance to grab a dramatic winner. Substitute Frank Nouble fed Daryl Murphy whose feet (not for the first time this season) let him down and the chance was squandered as the ball was sent into orbit.

Sheffield Wednesday 1-1 Ipswich Town – Saturday, 5 October 2013

A winless Sheffield Wednesday presented Town with another opportunity to break our away duck and gain ground on the land of milk & honey that is the top 6 of the Championship. I always back any team that has endured a  previous tough result to do well in their next game through sheer reaction. When Town starting brightly I thought I’d be proved right, McGoldrick was playing well which is usually a good sign for us. October’s Championship player of the month played a superbly weighted pass to put through on goal (the invisible winger) Paul Anderson, who tucked home what seemed a massively important goal at the time. It felt huge because the encounter was always going be a tight affair with our ever increasingly negative tactics away from Portman Road. Six minutes later Wednesday levelled when Antonio headed home from 6 yards out.

The only other notable pieces of action in the entire game came when Cole Skuse rattled the post from 35 yards and Jermaine Johnson hit the bar late on for the Owls. Everything in between was void of quality and I imagine a bore if you had no emotional attachment to either club.

I hoped for a backlash after the result at Derby and we looked getting one but ultimately dropping four points from winnable positions isn’t quite good enough.

Apart from Tunnicliffe’s lobbed pass to McGoldrick, who played in Anderson for goal, he was missing for large parts of the game and was very quiet. Again, I don’t need to tell you that I think he’s wasted on the left wing.

Ipswich Town 0-1 Burnley – Saturday, 19 October 2013

Despite the disappointment of two away draws a home game to this season’s Championship surprise package still looked a mouth watering tie. For all our struggles away from home we’re still a good side at home with a good record. By Mick McCarthy’s own admission ourselves and Burnley look evenly matched on paper, one striking (see what I did there) difference is they have two top strikers, while we have one (the last bit was my admission).

In a tight affair where both teams cancelled each other out with the three “top” strikers on show rather fluffing their lines. Missing opportunities when it really mattered was becoming a rather annoying theme for Town. Both teams created opportunities, but like all top teams they find a goal when needed, just as Burnley did in the 80th minute. A deep cross from the right was met by the head of Arfield, who made a late run into the box.

And that’s what we need, I’m not suggesting that should be Tunnicliffe, but any midfielder for all I care when the strikers are having an off-day.

Again, the Manchester United youngster was quiet. Quite often he’s shown down the line putting him onto his very weaker left foot, which in his own words is “a bit a swinger”. I’ve said previously our left side is very strong and clearly this is being picked up on by other teams, thus starting to nullify us down that side.

Bolton 1-1 Ipswich Town – Saturday, 26 October 2013

It’s cold, the Reebok is empty and two teams are clogging the utter horse manure out of each other, yep, it’s another classic from two of the Championships not so finest teams.

Must be said that pretty much all of this month Mick McCarthy has been strongly linked to the Ireland job, even so that I really thought he was off at one point, probably not helped by the fact he repeatedly refused to rule himself out, WHY!!? Mick said that the speculation hasn’t affected results at all, but reviewing the games back like I am, it’s hard to see how they didn’t affect results.

Anyhow back to Bolton! Great work from Murphy who created an opportunity for Tunnicliffe and from 4 yards out, he must…. straight back to the keeper, oh Ryan. I’m sure he’ll get a goal soon, the lad was gutted after, he held his head in hands for about 5 minutes. That was the only chance of note in the first hour. Like the second half at Derby and pretty much entire Wednesday game this was a dour affair, no creativity or someone willing to put their foot on the ball and craft something. When it looks like 0-0 is firmly on the cards, Kamara curls a free kick in for Bolton from 30 yards. I thought that would be that, but following five minutes of Bolton domination after their opener Town equalised through a quick counter. A clearance from a Bolton defender fell to McGoldrick in space, his first shot was blocked but he hammered the rebound from the edge of the box.

Tunnicliffe was finally shifted into the centre when Jay Tabb replaced Luke Hyam (whose form is becoming somewhat of a concern). 70 minutes of bombing up and down the wing and Ryan is still a bundle of energy in the centre and you can see the team trusts him with the ball. All of a sudden there’s a link between defence and attack, someone willing to carry the ball.

Yes, he’s not having the best of games but straight away you know it’s natural for him. Cole Skuse is a good midfielder, a Championship Michael Carrick if you will, puts a foot in, picks an excellent pass but he won’t cover 30-40 yards at full tilt launching a counter will he?

Tunnicliffe in the centre should be the way forward but I know the change is unlikely for the moment. Mick is loyal to his players and at 21 he clearly has a long term plan for Hyam and to be fair he is a player who hasn’t let his manager down to date, so I can’t see it changing unless something drastic happens in November.

For those interested you can check out Ryan’s interview with the club’s YouTube channel on life with The Tractorboys so far below. Also all the goals from our games if really want to knock yourself out! Worth noting the build up I bang on about from Cresswell and Ryan down the left.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q3_LLXvxtIs&w=400&h=300]

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Dan is a member of the TWTD forum.
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