Derby County 0 : Ipswich Town 1 – 13th September 2016

Well. There are times when you walk away from a football match angry, times you walk away in tears & times when you walk away with a sense of elation but this was really quite bizarre. I didn’t know what to think. And still don’t. Probably the best performance I’ve seen from the team since McClaren’s first season & we lost the game. They had one shot on goal. And scored from it. We were mugged.
Team news was quite promising really. Butterfield in for the injured Russell. Butters is no winger (but then again, neither is Russell) but he did well & gave us more control when we were in possession. And he did tuck in quite a bit which I think helped make the numbers up in central midfield. 
The fact that Ince didn’t get in the side probably indicates he’s out of favour with Pearson. There’s no room in a central role for him now we play with 2 up front & Hughes is creator in chief. And he’s been preferred on the wing to someone who will have hardly ever played there. The other change was significant. Shackell out after his awful performance on Saturday & in came Pearce to make his debut in central defence, over a year after signing for us. He impressed throughout on the pitch & in also his post match interview. I can see him staying in the side for a while now. He was solid, professional & had much better distribution than I’d been led to believe. Only a couple of times did he succumb to Shackell-esque lumps upfield.
I expected Ipswich to be more combative & regimented but, as Spicy Kev said during the game, they were surprisingly open. I think this helped us to be honest. Didn’t help us to score, of course, but did help us retain possession & keep knocking the ball around well. But you’ve got to give credit to the players, Saturday must have been traumatic & it must have took a lot of guts to go out there & put on a performance like that. We were a bit less fluent after their hammer blow of a goal but we kept plugging away, playing some decent football at a good tempo.
I’m not going to focus on exactly what happened during the game but we got the ball into their box pretty regularly & created enough to have won easily. Ipswich defended resolutely throughout & the amount of last ditch tackles & blocks they put in were amazing. 
What about Carson & that goal? Well, Varney had put himself about a bit since he’d got on the pitch & he unleashed what seemed to be (from our viewpoint in the SW Corner, at least) a fantastic strike from outside the box. Again, from where we were watching, Carson appeared to have pulled off a great save. We were gobsmacked to see it drop into the back of the net. Had it been that hard a strike?
As I’ve already said, that goal did knock our confidence a bit but to our credit we got back on it and kept plugging away. It was not going to be our night though. I’ve said before that I have no problem with booing the team if they’re not performing. I applauded the team off the pitch at half time & full time. They’d played well. If the boo boys aren’t happy, they can always stay at home & watch their football from their armchairs.
A few thoughts on some individual performances  then..
Olsson – a mirror image of his performance on Saturday. Effective in defence but poor in attack.  His attempts on goal & final ball into the box were poor. Unfortunately, with Fozzy out & Max Lowe seemingly relegated to the reserves, the only player left to challenge Olsson is Baird. Hmmm..
Keogh – another heroic captain’s performance, including the trademark barnstorming forward charges. Time for leadership & time for him to cement a new, better partnership with Pearce. 
Christie – another one for barnstorming runs & looks to be linking well with Anya. Final ball not perfect yet though.
Anya – in my biased view he’s been a joy to behold in the two games so far. Effervescent & energetic, he just won’t stop running. I reckon he’s revelling in playing as a winger at last. Beat his fullback & got to the byline many times. Reckon his name will be going on the back of the shirt I buy in a few weeks.
Vydra – still looks a bit rusty but showed some good signs & could have had a goal in the first half. Shows a lot of strength in holding off defenders when receiving the ball in the penalty area. Nice to see players who can do that without flapping their arms about & falling over all the time. 
Wilson – this lad may need a bit more patience from us I think. Tended to float around ineffectually on occasion but had periods when he linked up well with others & had a cracking strike on goal in the first half. Will get better with more games. 
Bryson – best game for a while I think. Covered a massive amount of ground, as you’d expect, but had a number of shots on goal which would led to goals with a bit more luck.
Hughes – simply brilliant in that first half & nearly as good in the second. Dribbled the ball through players just as he did when he first got in the side. Was at the centre of everything creative we did & put himself about a bit too. Long may it continue.
Nice to see Pearson stay on the touchline & show his appreciation of the players when they trudged of the pitch at the end. I only hope they managed to retain some togetherness & team spirit in the dressing room afterwards. I didn’t relish Pearson’s job in talking to the team after that result. 
What next then? I have to say I think I underestimated what a dysfunctional squad we had & the task that faced Pearson when he came in. I assumed his authority, frightening reputation & motivational skills would have an immediate impact on the performance of certain players. Apparently not. It seems that is going to be a long process, with the players who don’t respond being shipped out (where possible). That might take several transfer windows. I just think that the 4-3-3 system was too ingrained in the squad, meaning the transition from that failed way of playing will be long & probably hard. 
Time to be patient then. 

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2 responses to “Derby County 0 : Ipswich Town 1 – 13th September 2016

    • Cheers, Peter. I think I’m just to old to get angry anymore. Perhaps I’m a bit more phlegmatic about these things given my old age. Are you still doing your blog?

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