Bank Holiday Blues Held
21st April 2014
We knew before the game that defenders Elliott ward and Charlie Daniels may come into contention, but it was a surprise to see them both start. Elphick and Harte replaced respectively.
Considering that we have looked a little jaded at times recently following the astonishing period of form, some fresh legs were probably welcome.
4-4-2 with Kermorgant and Grabban leading the line as we've seen recently. A far more packed out away end than I anticipated added to the largest gate Ipswich have seen all season, a shade over 20k. So a good setting for the game.
It was clear from the outset that both teams were going to attack. Our midfield of O'Kane and Surman were regularly supported by one of Yann or Grabban dropping a little, and Ipswich did likewise. The midfields traded possession as the two sides probed.
Kermorgant could have scored from Pugh's cross in the best opening chance. But somewhat against the run of play so it felt, Ipswich took the lead.
Skuse crossed from our left, a mix up between Camp and his Centre backs meant no one claimed the ball and Anderson was able to slam home from 6 yards. Soft goal to concede.
Ipswich tails were up and the impressive Creswell forced a good save immediately afterwards. It was looking like Bournemouth would go in to half time on the back foot. That was however, until Cook pulled some magic from nowhere.
The ball swung in from our left, Cook with his back to goal and seemingly too far out to do much - jumped and unleashed a bicycle kick that smashed into the net.
Half time, 1-1 the right score really.
Second half Bournemouth seemed to start brightly, but again were caught on the hop at the back. A simple free kick, all be it well delivered by Creswell, was headed in from 6 yards centrally. We didn't get such a good look, but in that area you'd look for your keeper and centre backs to deal with the problem.
The Ipswich support suddenly sparked into life and for the first time really made themselves heard. They could perhaps sense an important 20 minutes to come - they wanted the win.
It was back to square one for us. Rantie and Smith come on, with us switching to 3-4-3. Kermorgant central just behind Rantie and Grabban looking to get in behind. It was a change of style becoming more direct and looking for knock downs.
Marc Pugh managed to miss probably the clearest chance of the whole game as good work down the right saw the ball cut back across goal. With the entire right half of the goal at his mercy, Pugh leant back and skied the ball into the stand. Deary me.
We prodded and probed, looking for a way in. Twice Rantie appeared too honest, as he was pulled down just outside the box, but tried to stay up and retain the ball only to be dispossessed. Andy D'Urso frustratingly not interested in giving much our way.
Finally a free kick just outside was given, and Ritchie made it count. A deflection taking it past the keeper, 2-2 - sending the away end into jubilation.
We carried all the momentum into the final stages. Grabban was out through but mis-controlled. And then with the last gasp, the ball was swung into Kermorgant, he connected and put it past the keeper... But D'Urso blew the final whistle. Thankfully it landed just wide, because had that gone in and been over time, that would have been unpleasant.
All in all a really good game, probably quite a fair result but the better chances were ours.
On the train back Ipswich fans have been bemoaning McCarthy's tactics and theoretically rebuilding their team over the summer. I'd like to think we came away happier.
Report by Northstandmark
StephenColes player ratings...
What an entertaining game.
I see the stats said we had 24 shots, 4 on target.
Pugh's miss....how did he miss!
Camp 7 - one wonder save from a free kick he pushed onto the post.
Francis 6 - stuck to the task well, his opponent was surprisingly good in the air.
Cook 7 - solid game plus an overhead kick to get on the score sheet!
Ward 7 - looked as though he had never been away
Daniels 5 - rusty and a tad slow and regularly closed down
Pugh 5 - that miss -2
Surman 7 - warming to him, lots of nice passes
O'Kane 7 - worked his socks off
Ritchie 7 - ditto above and was part of many good moves and a sweet free kick.
Grabban 6 - just lacked a little sharpness but never stopped trying
Kermorgant 7 - for a big guy he is really nimble on his feet
replaced Daniels.......Smith 5 - hardly noticed
replaced Pugh........Rantie 5 - quick but not threatening
Our midfield was very good today, very energetic, so MOM was one of them!
Ritchie for his goal or Surman for some cracking passes.....toss a coin.
In All Departments added...
O'Kane was absolutely immense - he even finished at centre half for the last 10 minutes when Ward pushed up and he was bloody good at that too.
So proud of the boys today - we finished the game with 7 or 8 players in their penalty area and they all sank to their knees at the final whistle - they couldn't have given any more.
Great day out - the railway station/away pub/ground all within 5 minutes was excellent.
Certainly another for the 'look how far we've come' list.