No time to dwell on this defeat
City new-boy Zesh Rehman was pulling few punches as he wandered through the rubble of yesterday's derby disaster. The assured performance of the 22-year-old, on-loan Fulham defender was arguably the only bright spot in Ipswich's 2-1 victory.
City new-boy Zesh Rehman was pulling few punches as he wandered through the rubble of yesterday's derby disaster.
The assured performance of the 22-year-old, on-loan Fulham defender was arguably the only bright spot in Ipswich's 2-1 victory - a result that not only saw Town leap-frog over their Norfolk neighbours, but all but ended the Canaries' distant dreams of staging a late charge into the play-off zone. Preston North End are now 12 points distant and with a game in hand. With Ipswich ten points off, it's a fair bet that the two, age-old rivals will be locking horns again next season.
The fact that Rehman had taken to his new surroundings so well was of little comfort to the one-time England Under-20 defender.
“At the end of the day, it's about the three points,” said Rehman, as Jimmy Juan's deflected free-kick and Gary Doherty's 88th minute own-goal wiped out Jonatan Johansson's debut strike and left 150 furious supporters back at the gates of Carrow Road afterwards demanding Nigel Worthington's head.
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“The first goal was deflection, but the second goal was poor - we switched off and got punished,” said Rehman, who finished the game at right-back after skipper Craig Fleming disappeared with a hip injury.
“We just weren't at the races in the second-half and we didn't deserve anything,” added Rehman. “All we can do is pick ourselves up, forget this and look to go again in our next game.”
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The fact that Rehman produced that level of performance in only his sixth game of the season - his first since the back end of October - suggests there may be plenty more to come for the six-foot two-inch defender. The big, big problem for Worthington is getting his growing collection of clearly talented players to gel - both tactically and spirit-wise - into anything resembling a decent team. On that front, Town's FA Youth Cup winning teenagers - aided and abetted by the odd, ageing warrior here and there - were streets ahead of their hosts and thoroughly deserved to return home weighed down with the derby spoils.
“I felt comfortable out there - it was good to just get a game, but for me, the next game can't come quickly enough,” said Rehman.
Whether Worthington shares that opinion is another matter. He may well fancy a good month on the training ground with his collection of decent individuals - trying to work out just who goes where. How, for example, to get the very best out of £2.75 million striker Rob Earnshaw. Expecting him to win a header against the likes of a Jason De Vos as the pint-sized Welsh international is asked to do something with a high punt downfield from Robert Green is not an ideal way forward.
Such discussions may have featured large in a lengthy, dressing room inquest that followed yesterday's shambles. Working out where Darren Huckerby fits in an Earnshaw-led attack is another moot point.
“Rob showed glimpses of what he is all about,” said a down-beat, if defiant Worthington afterwards. “That's when he kept the ball and knocked one down the side or into feet. We have got to do that more often.”
As for Rehman's arrival, that at least worked. “I thought he was outstanding at the back,” said Worthington.