I’ll take a draw at Ipswich – but the sooner the transfer window closes the better
PUBLISHED: 08:24 27 August 2016
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I would have happily taken a point from the derby had it been offered to me before kick-off.
With City still struggling to reach top form and hit by injuries and the home side being spurred on by the pain of not beating their rivals for seven long years, it was always likely to be a tough afternoon at Portman Road.
There is no doubt that the home side’s early onslaught rattled the Canaries, with even the normally imperturbable Timm Klose looking slightly shell-shocked, but having weathered the early storm and benefited hugely from an incorrect offside decision, they actually looked to have taken the game by the scruff of the neck.
However, the poor goal conceded in first-half injury time effectively killed any momentum and led to a disappointing second half low on quality and creativity rather than a barnstorming finish.
Whilst both sides had chances to win it would be difficult to argue objectively that a draw wasn’t a fair result, and Klose and Ryan Bennett will have few more testing examinations this season than that applied by Daryl Murphy, who makes up for his lack of pace with good movement and tremendous strength.
While we have been rather spoilt by City’s mastery over Ipswich in recent years to the point where Sunday’s draw was almost seen as failure in some quarters, the fact is that, if we can put jingoism aside for a moment, Ipswich under Mick McCarthy are a well-organised side who make the very best of the limited resources at their disposal.
Of course, City didn’t help themselves by regularly giving the ball away, often when under little or no real pressure, and it does worry me a little that Wes Hoolahan and Steven Naismith seem to have a tendency to seek the ball in the same areas leading to a narrowness to some of City’s attacking moves.
However, had City taken their lead into the interval I suspect they may have kicked on in the second half as Ipswich would have had to commit more players forward, but one thing the home side don’t lack is tenacity and while they aren’t pretty to watch, they play to their strengths and don’t over-elaborate, a trap City fell into a little too often for comfort.
In fact, it was a case of extremes for the Canaries as some attacks foundered as a result of one pass too many while others fizzled out as ambitious long balls failed to find their target. Only when they were able to string a decent sequence of passes together did they look really threatening, and that happened all too infrequently, particularly in the second half.
Ultimately, a draw was a fair result and ensured City continued their solid start to the season, with the stylish performance of the second string against Coventry proving there is real strength in depth in this squad.
In normal circumstances we’d all be feeling extremely positive, but with transfer deadline day looming the week has largely been spent analysing Alex Neil’s every utterance and scanning social media unsuccessfully for signs of an incoming striker.
Given the reported links with virtually every living forward in Europe I’m not going to try to speculate as to who may arrive before the deadline, but I suspect that most of you are as heartily sick of the transfer window as me. I just hope the club can get the right deals over the line and we can all move on.
If City can today keep the unbeaten run going into the international break and land the right player(s) before Wednesday I suspect that the world will suddenly seem a much better place for most fans.