Ipswich Town 1 Leeds United 0
It was important that Leeds gave us a performance to be proud of today – with a well-rested team, few of whom toiled at Newport it was unthinkable that the 1st XI could go to Portman Road and put in a lack lustre effort; that would have just made the Newport fiasco pointless, a complete and utter nonsense.
And I thought the application of the side today was first class; a bit more luck might not have gone amiss but I couldn’t fault the effort. Maybe we can fault our finishing; we had more than enough chances to win the game despite playing more than half of it with a man less than the Tractor Boys. Chances for Cibicki and Roofe early on and then Cooper and Hernandez in the second half ought to have at least hit the target while a poor bounce of the ball meant a decent shot from Lasogga late on didn’t fall at the feet of a Leeds man. Sods Law meant that when Celina hit his shot from 30 yards out it found the top corner of our net. Luck or judgment?
And then there was the red card. Is that poor discipline or again just bad luck? It looked to me like a player conning an inexperienced referee. How many times this season have we seen opposition players bounce up off the ground, get right in the face of our player and then hurl themselves to the ground holding their own face pretending they have been head-butted? You can argue we ought to know better and somehow get the hell away from the situation but the speed with which these things happen often means you don’t really get the chance to get away. We saw it most famously at Bristol when Matty Taylor feigned a broken nose when he did the exact same thing to Gaetano Berardi getting both of them red carded before, incredibly, Taylor got his rescinded later and miracle of miracles his nose mended itself without medical intervention. I think there is a case for suggesting we could be more street wise (it’s been an issue for our players for years) but other than that, if a player wants to con the ref, it’s not difficult. I like to think one day the players that do it will reflect on their cheating but in this world of ours I doubt they will.
So, other than criticising our finishing and Jonas Knudsen outwitting O’Kane and the referee, I don’t have much complaint about the display today. Our ten men looked more than a match for the hosts in the second half and on another day lady luck might have smiled on us. Yes, there are still individual players who look short of the quality we need to get promoted – Sacko again looked poor today I thought and once or twice I remembered why I’m not keen on continental goalkeepers – but overall the effort was there and we played some decent football.
We move on and, as always, the next game is crucial. We have already squandered 8 points in the second half of the season compared with the results we achieved in the reverse fixtures so it is vital we now get 3 of them back by beating Millwall next Saturday. We beat Birmingham, Forest and Ipswich in the first games but we lost at Millwall. Let’s start to put things right by now beating them at Elland Road. If we can’t then logic says we can forget about a top six finish as points will become far more difficult to come by in February when we play all the top sides again.
Ipswich Town Leeds United
Possession 57% 43%
Shots 14 12
On Target 4 2
Corners 4 1
Fouls 13 14