Ipswich Town 1 Leeds United 1
Since I expected us to get beaten down at Portman Road I can hardly now be disappointed that we only got a point. After 41 minutes I would have snatched your hand off had you offered me that! Leeds were awful for almost all of the first half, our passing in particular was dire and it may have been down to the poor state of the pitch which was threadbare and bobbly. You can argue it was the same for Ipswich but I guess they are more used to ploughing their way through it as they did in the 9th minute when they took the lead. A terrible pass by Hernandez was intercepted by Emyr Huws who was then allowed to slalom around a Vieira tackle and feed the ball to Grant Ward on the right; his first time cross was met on the full by Freddy Sears who beat Luke Ayling to the ball to smash it past Green. It was a veritable catalogue of errors.
For the next 33 minutes Leeds proceeded to give the ball away regularly with a series of passes that were either too short, too long or totally in the wrong direction. Some of it was due to the pitch but on many occasions it was technique and haste that caused passes to go awry. There were odd glimpses of Leeds as an attacking threat; mostly down our left wing and on such occasions the Ipswich defence didn’t actually look that confident. Sadly another misplaced pass would be the usual end result. Then, out of nowhere Leeds were level.
Luke Ayling attacked down the right wing and nudged the ball forward to Hadi Sacko. Sacko checked back onto his left side and awkwardly scooped the ball into the middle with that seldom used left foot of his and Chris Wood just managed to get the faintest touch with the top of his head to knock the ball behind him where he knew Stuart Dallas was running in. Dallas still had plenty to do with Spence hanging onto him for dear life and the keeper also in close proximity but Dallas slid in with his left boot and poked the ball between keeper and post to level the game. It was more than Leeds deserved but it gave us a chance to start again in the second half.
Liam Bridcutt was brought on for Ronnie Vieira at half-time; many thought the youngster was unlucky with Eunan O’Kane being favourite for the hook in my and many others’ eyes. There was no immediate improvement following Bridcutt’s introduction and indeed for the next twenty minutes the Leeds goal led a charmed life as a combination of poor finishing, the woodwork, some excellent work by Rob Green and a huge dollop of good fortune left the Ipswich goal-tally unchanged. Then, slowly but surely Leeds got a foothold in the game; maybe it took us that long to work out how to play on the threadbare pitch.
With Bridcutt involved in everything in the defensive and middle thirds and Pablo pulling all the strings in the final third, Leeds started to dominate possession and at times moved the ball about sweetly. We didn’t actually create much, but that was largely down to some agricultural defending by the Tractor Boys. In fact, despite the improvement, Leeds failed to get more than just a single shot on target all game and that was the Dallas goal. That simply is not good enough.
Sacko was largely ineffective while he was on the pitch but so too were Barrow and Doukara in the short time they had when coming off the bench. We have so many wide players now to choose from but there doesn’t appear to be much between any of them. More for Garry Monk to ponder ahead of the Sheffield Wednesday game on Saturday.
So long as Leeds can go on to beat Wednesday next weekend then this point will look even more satisfactory but we have to find the right combination of wingers and midfielders and we have to play a damn sight better than we did in that first half today. For now let’s not get too depressed, this was only the 5th point we’ve won at Portman Road in the last ten visits so let’s be grateful and move on!
Ipswich Town Leeds Utd
Possession 41% 59%
Shots 10 4
On Target 3 1
Corners 9 1
Fouls 10 11