Saturday 28 November 2020

Ipswich Town 0 v Charlton Athletic 2

Normal service was resumed this afternoon at Portman Road. Lee Bowyer's boys dusted themselves down and put the Tractor Boys to the sword. It was a competent and no-fuss display in which we got gradually stronger and rarely looked in trouble after taking the lead.

The questions all week were about what changes would be made in defence and which ones up front following the debacle at Burton. Bowyer told us on Thursday that he would go again with Pratley and Gunter at the back because no-one else was fit enough to start in central defence and the pairing proved him right. Pratley had one of his better games and the pair were not seriously troubled. Maatsen and Matthews anchored the backline and Ben Watson played in front of them to help subdue Ipswich. 

Upfront, we did the change many have been craving with Anneke starting and Bogle on the bench. That worked even better with Anneke putting in a man-of-the-0match performance. He won nearly everything thrown up to him and for once was able to flick-on, lay off or go himself, far more convincingly than we have seen up until now. It's been said he has struggled to gain full fitness but perhaps we are seeing that now for the first time. Ironically, of course, it was substitute Bogle who was on hand to open his scoring account with a back post tap-in but he won't mind. It was heartening to see all of the players making their way over to congratulate him. I promise to lay off him for now, as long as he isn't preventing Anneke starting. 

I should also say that the midfield looked far more settled and competitive today. Watson played at the base of the diamond with Shinnie, Morgan and Williams and it worked. the opening goal came from an Anneke knock-down into the path of Shinnie who forced a reverse ball through two covering blue shirts into the path of Morgan who couldn't miss from ten yards out. Morgan clearly relished that goal and although Town continued to try to play football after it, we were a yard and a touch ahead of them.

The only negative was seeing Smyth taken off on a golf cart having twisted a knee. That looks like he will join the injury list for a few weeks at least and maybe longer. He had also played his part harrying the Ipswich back-line who never settled. 

The win takes us into third place with a game a hand. With lowly MK Dons, Shrewsbury and Wimbledon up next we really do have a chance to consolidate our position at the top end of the table.

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