Wycombe Wanderers 1-0 Ipswich Town: Five observations
Ipswich Town lost 1-0 at Wycombe Wanderers yesterday. STUART WATSON reflects on the action.
After a rather fragmented and scrappy start to this game, Ipswich began to figure out the puzzle.
Wycombe’s threat down the left was stopped and Town began to break the lines.
Conor Chaplin’s cutback was blocked behind after Sam Morsy’s drive. Freddie Ladapo put a shot wide from the edge of the box after Kane Vincent-Young’s push. Wes Burns saw a sweeping low cross hacked behind.
It seemed only a matter of time before a Blues breakthrough.
When a fancy flick from Kayden Jackson and subsequent square pass from Morsy opened up the hosts, the ball landed at the feet of exactly who you want it to in a central spot just inside the area…
Chaplin unfortunately couldn’t get his first effort and it was a comfortable collection for goalkeeper Max Stryjek.
When Brandon Hanlan received the ball on the inside, there appeared to be little danger.
But he was able to distract Cameron Humphreys, send Cameron Burgess to the shops with a dropped shoulder and fire home before Richard Keogh could get over to cover.
From a nothing situation, and right against the run of play, the Chairboys had scored.
For only the fourth time in 22 league games, Town had conceded the first goal of the game.
After the break, Ipswich dominated possession, worked many good positions and forced several corners.
But there was no way through against a ferocious and experienced Wycombe side who were content to defend their one-goal lead.
George Edmundson put a towering header just wide, after a teasing deep delivery from Humphreys, was as close as Town came to an equalizer in front of their 2,612 strong vocal away support.
Kieran McKenna made a triple change on 64 minutes, replacing Humphreys, Jackson and Chaplin with Lee Evans, Kyle Edwards and Sone Aluko.
Edwards often made Wycombe defenders go back with some twists but was unable to provide a killer cross or shot.
Ladapo repeatedly dropped into dangerous pockets and rolled his marker, but his initial moves often left no one in the box to attack the eventual cross.
McKenna threw on Gassan Ahadme towards the end and switched to 4-4-2, but the Blues continued to huff and puff.
In truth, it never felt like a goal was coming.
There was mixed news on the injury front after this game.
As mentioned, Lee Evans made his first appearance in almost two months.
The Welshman didn’t settle into the middle of the game during his late cameo, often sitting on the toes of the defence, but it was great to see such an influential player back out there and getting minutes.
It was also good to see Marcus Harness warming up ahead of the game. It suggests that his comeback is not far away as well.
The bad news is that just as some midfield and attacking injuries are starting to clear up, the Blues are being hit by a host of defensive backs.
Luke Woolfenden sat out this game with a minor adductor strain and could be back in time for the Boxing Day home clash with Oxford.
Richard Keogh replaced him in the team but was forced off at half-time after receiving a kick to the calf.
George Edmundson came in for him, but McKenna revealed that he wasn’t really supposed to play because of an ongoing knee problem that needs to be dealt with.
Janoi Donacien, meanwhile, saw a streak of 58 consecutive league starts end due to the ankle injury that forced him off against Peterborough.
At the full-time whistle, Wycombe trio Stryjek, Alfie Mawson and Josh Scowen taunted the traveling Town fans.
This defeat hurt. It felt like a missed opportunity against a team that didn’t play that well in a stadium that felt pretty quiet.
This isn’t the first time we’ve seen possession without a hit against a low block. It is now a clean sheet of seven league games. That’s two wins in six.
These are all valid points to bring up, but let’s also keep some perspective here.
This was only the third league loss of the season. And Ipswich have arguably been the better side in all three of these games (Plymouth, Lincoln and Wycombe). It speaks of a remarkable consistency in performance levels over a long period of time.
Let’s not forget that Ipswich have finished 11th, 9th and 11th since being relegated to League One. We should all know by now that this division is not easy. You can’t win them all. Nobody does.
Town are 17 points ahead of where they were at this stage last season. This time last year we were still digesting an FA Cup defeat at Barrow.
Others at Christmas? I think everyone would have taken it before a ball was kicked.