Last Saturday's performance and result were just what we didn't want so we need to quickly get back on track this afternoon. Hopefully we'll start with our strongest side and that means Maguire and McGeady starting. Our defence looked very vulnerable at times last week and our attack looked punchless so a win would be a big ask today. Jack Ross's head is on the block already in the opinion of many fans so we'll see if he retains the 3-5-1 formation that didn't work last Saturday. Having been relegated last season Ipswich have to be one of our rivals for promotion and a win today would be a considerable feather in our cap. James Norwood will be their main threat and I fear he'll have a good day if we don't tighten up at the back. I'll not be at the game as I'm whacked so I'll be tuning into SAFSEE. I'm afraid to say it but my match prediction is another 1-1.
When I got the team news not long before kick-off I was pleased to see McGeady and O'Nien in the starting eleven while Grigg was among the subs. I tuned in feeling slightly more optimistic than previously. Jackson was booked early on after looking for a penalty when he slipped over. McGeady was angry with Flanagan for not keeping his pass on the ground and we certainly need to stop putting high balls in as we never win much at all in the air. Apart from that the strong wind was a factor. We fell behind in the fifteenth minute when Garbutt squeezed the ball in from a tight angle after weak defending by Flanagan and McLaughlin, the latter of whom had already been described as sloppy by commentator Gary Bennett. So it was chasing the game again. We were then on the back foot for a while and it felt like Ipswich would get another as Norwood shot just wide. Ross soon changed formation by moving O'Nien into the back line. We were producing nothing in attack with McGeady and McNulty being ineffective because they weren't getting the service. Flanagan earned praise for a good clearance not long after the half-hour and we were showing a bit of an improvement in going forward. We almost gifted Garbutt a second goal when Willis completely missed a cross but luckily we had McLaughlin in goal to save it. We were sounding better playing 4-3-3 and we won our first corner with around eight minutes to go. Garbutt had to go off injured, and I wasn't sorry to see him go, while Judge came on. Four minutes of stoppage-time were added just as we conceded two corners and I was in a hurry for that whistle to blow.
Anyway, we made to half-time only one goal behind but clearly had to up our game considerably to get something out of the match.
As we kicked off again I wasn't feeling hopeful but I did feel pleased that Maguire had replaced Hume, who'd been bullied in the first-half and had been ineffective. Ipswich quickly won their fifth corner but we emerged unscathed. The passing of many of our players sounded as bad as it was last Saturday so we really need to improve such a basic skill. About ten minutes in we actually put some pressure on the Ipswich defence when McNulty was judged to be just offside during a promising attack and then he failed to get a touch on a good cross. Dobson was booked for a petulant foul but then we were suddenly level and it was good work by McNulty that created it. Maguire's pass seemed to be going nowhere but McNulty battled the defender and when the ball came to Gooch he fired home from close range. It gave our fans something to sing about at last. Grigg was warming up and Benno predicted that he'd replace McGeady who was looking tired. This duly happened with around fifteen minutes left. It was a much more open game now and our overall standard of play was markedly better then before. Ozturk replaced Willis with around five minutes to go and while there was a time that his name would've filled me with dread, he did well later last season and redeemed himself to a large degree. With just a minute or two to go we won a free-kick in a good spot but Maguire's effort fell to a defender. There were three minutes of stoppage-time and despite both sides having their chances, it ended 1-1.
In the end I was quite happy to come away with a point but the match followed a similar pattern to last week. Will we start again with three at the back and without Maguire? On the evidence of the first two matches it wouldn't be a good idea.