Picking the bones from a rare home defeat against Middlesbrough on Friday, it did feel like a game of two halves.
Even the most ardent Ipswich fan can not deny the visitors had much more of the ball over the 90 minutes, and were far more comfortable in possession. Their movement in the final third was good, while in Emilio Nsue and George Friend they had two fullbacks happy to bomb-on and cause us problems.
There is also no getting away from the fact the second half performance was poor — it felt as though we had given up the ghost once we had conceded
But in the first especially, it was us who had the more clear-cut chances. Unfortunately on the night we met a goalkeeper in fine form, Dimitrios Konstantopoulos, who kept out good efforts from Brett Pitman and Luke Chambers. There is also no getting away from the fact the second half performance was poor — it felt as though we had given up the ghost once we had conceded.
Despite a fairly negative phone-in on BBC Radio Suffolk after the game, it’s always important to put a bit of context to the result. Their win put the Teesiders at the summit of the Championship on the night, they are a team which has conceded only 12 league goals, and knocked Manchester United out of the League Cup in their own back yard. And, in David Nugent and Stewart Downing, they have two Premier League players on Premier League wages.
Although it is a point persistently made, it is a valid one — Mick McCarthy has worked wonders on a shoestring to make us a competitive outfit again. I’m adamant there is no one better to potentially take us back to the Premier League.
Saturday sees our third TV match in a row, on the road at MK Dons (12.30pm). Only one point off the play-offs, it’s a great opportunity to get back to winning ways — despite what the doom and gloom merchants may tell you.
n Town have been drawn at home to Portsmouth in Round 3 of the FA Cup. We met at Portman Road at the same stage in the 2007/08 season. A certain Dave Nugent (sigh) netted the winner in a 1-0 victory for the visitors.