By Dan George (Ipswich Town supporter)
Good Morning, Good Afternoon and Good Evening Stretford End Arising. Well well well, What can be said about Ipswich Town and August? **Insert frustrated/disappointed sigh here** August has been a long tough month for us Tractor Boys. From my point of view I’m pretty pleased that my season preview was fairly accurate in regards to how we’ll line up!
Mick McCarthy has started the central midfield pairing of Luke Hyam and Cole Skuse in every game, with Jay Tabb on the left and captain Carlos Edwards on the right, meaning your lad Ryan has had limited opportunities, and when he has it’s mostly been selected as left sided midfielder. However, he has impressed, which I’ll expand on in the short match reports compiled below.
Reading 2-1 Ipswich Town – Saturday, 3 August 2013
3127 travelling fans took the longer than usual (blooming roadworks) trip around the M25 for the season curtain raiser at Reading. After 15 minutes the journey was forgotten, as Jay Tabb, who was a Reading player for four years but failed to score a single goal at the Madejski, opened the scoring. For the next 30 minutes Town pressed Reading all over the pitch, passed the ball crisply and carved chance after chance, then on 45 minutes Garath McCleary cut back and whipped a fantastic ball toward the far post for Le Fondre to bundle home. After the equaliser The Royals dominated, Royston Drenthe was electric and keeping him at bay deserved a point. We were 10 minutes away from a good start to the season then some bald headed fella for Reading (Danny Guthrie) hit a shot from 35 yards that took a massive deflection leaving Scott Loach stranded and the Bald fella celebrated like he’s Messi.
Stevenage 2-0 Ipswich Town – Tuesday, 6 August 2013
Hyam and Skuse continued in central midfield in what was a weakened team. Tunnicliffe was cup tied. A case of less said the better?
Ipswich Town 3-0 Millwall – Saturday, 10 August 2013
After the sickening defeat at Reading and the no show at Stevenage, an emphatic win at home was the perfect tonic. After 45 minutes of huff and puff and typical Championship football (hoof ball) we came out looking rollocked. Whatever was said at half time quickened up our passing and there was extra snap in every tackle. Then around the 60 minute mark, the superb Aaron Cresswell (best left back in the Championship) surged down the wing beating two players before driving a low cross, which was turned in by Millwall’s Shane Lowry.
This set the tone for the remainder of the second half. Town got better, Millwall got worse, very worse. Five minutes later Paul Anderson swung in a free kick from the corner flag for set piece specialist Tommy Smith to head home and with virtually the next attack Town killed the game off with a third. Young right back Elliot Hewitt broke down the right, fizzed in a waist high ball for Anderson to head home on his debut.
Then on 80 minutes something you’re actually interested in happened! Jay Tabb made way for Ryan Tunnicliffe. With the game won the situation was the perfect scenario for the Manchester United man to make his debut and he certainly imposed himself on the game. It was an energetic box-to-box performance and you could tell he wanted to play as a centre midfielder as he constantly drifted into central areas to pick up the ball and dictate things. With four minutes remaining a sublime back-heel through ball from David McGoldrick sent Ryan through on goal to surely make it four; he waited for the ‘keeper, the ‘keeper waited for him resulting in a feeble effort easily saved by the ‘keeper.
QPR 1-0 Ipswich Town – Saturday, 17 August 2013
Our fourth game of the season was an away visit to QPR and another late sickening winner for the home team.
Mick’s bargain bucket of a team held their own against an expensive QPR team and if not for a lack of cutting edge we could easily have been at least one up before half time.
A QPR team made up of many millions were put to test by Mick’s bargain bucket of a team, and if it wasn’t for our lack of a cutting edge we’d have been at least one up before half time. During half time arguably Town’s best player Cole Skuse was replaced by Ryan Tunnicliffe, who was clearly out to prove a point. He went through Joey Barton like a train within two minutes of the second half and this set the tone for the half, with the bullish Hyam and Ryan mainly chasing around Barton and Karl Henry.
Ryan tried to be creative, looking to pass and run forward whenever possible but ultimately to no avail. It was a game of few chances and 90 minutes of reminding Rob Green of how he let his country down. Unfortunately, a rare moment of magic came from Joey blooming Barton, who switched a quick free kick 55 yards on a plate for Shaun Wright-Philips, who glided across the surface and gave Tom Hitchcock (who?!) an open goal.
Ipswich Town 1-2 Leeds United – Saturday, 24 August 2013
Playing well and losing is not my idea on fun. I’ve not seen an Ipswich team play as well as the first 30 minutes against Leeds for a long, long time. The ball was moved quickly and Aaron Cresswell & Elliot Hewitt bombed forward with pace and caused real problems for Leeds down either flank.
As well as the problems caused down either flank David McGoldrick’s touch, link up play and movement caused issues down the centre for Leeds highlighted when he found himself 35 yards from goal, he powered away from two Leeds players before powering in a low drive to finally get the strikers’ off the mark for the season.
Just as all seemed well and rosy in the garden five minutes later Ross McCormack fired a nothing shot into a crowd of bodies and low and behold it falls to Luke Varney, who from seven yards out and an open goal equalised, which completely knocked the stuffing out of us. Leeds then dominated up ‘til half time as we endured intense pressure. The half time whistle couldn’t come soon enough and we hoped the interval would bring a change of fortunes, however five minutes into the second half McCormack fired in a low drive from 30 yards which deflected off Luke Chambers and under Scott Loach.
Leeds then sat back and were happy to settle for a 2-1 win. A flurry of late corners allowed Ipswich to impose an element of pressure, but to no avail. Tunnicliffe did come on for the last ten minutes on the left wing, often desperate to get hold of the ball, at times so desperate he drifted into central midfield severely reducing width and support on the left flank for the attack minded full back Cresswell. Despite his positive runs it wasn’t Ryan’s best game for Town.
Birmingham City 1-1 Ipswich Town – Saturday, 31 August 2013
A start for Ryan! On the left side of midfield, but he deserved it. Personally, I thought he should have started in the centre, but it was positive thinking from Mick McCarthy, which is better.
This positive thinking was good thinking for an hour, when Christophe Berra gave Town an early lead on 15 minutes and we continued to press, dominate and looked threatening on every break, but once again it a lack of goals in the side proved to be our achilles heel. Tunnicliffe was willing on and off the ball but didn’t really make the impact most of us were expecting; he did influence proceedings a lot more when he was switched to the centre, but Birmingham started to get the upper hand.
The running theme of our season continued as Chris Burke cut in from the right and looked to place a low shot in the far corner, of course someone managed to block the effort, but the ball looped up and ended up in the net. Of course it does.
Birmingham continued to press, but they lacked quality on the day so were unable to find the winner, as did we, and that was that.
So as I said **Insert frustrated/disappointed sigh here**. We’ve actually played quite well thus far, excluding two thirds of the Leeds game. Obviously playing well and failing to earn points gets you nowhere in any league, something that only can be rectified with goals. For us and like most teams it’s about scoring when on top. David McGoldrick is a very good Championship striker but he is unlikely to score 20 goals, Daryl Murphy is 10 goal target man at best, Frank Nouble is raw and Paul Taylor (cost us £2.5m from Posh last year) is just coming back from a year out.
As for Ryan I think he’s done well, like I said in the pre-season prep piece, he wouldn’t start straight away but he’s taken his chances when given one. Our first two home games in September against Middlesbrough & Yeovil are very winnable and I’d like to see our best central midfielders in Ryan and Skuse start both games in the hope of kick-starting the season.
Dan is a member of the TWTD forum.