Andy Lawn and Tom Parsley took in a derby day which was less than entertaining. 11 games unbeaten, but does the stalemate raise more concerns about a City side which is struggling to adjust this season?
Tom - We still didn't lose to that lot. The longer it goes on, and for the lower stakes we are contesting (last season mid table mediocrity, this season relegation 6 pointer), the less it will sting when they eventually do get enough of a rub of the green to nick one. The huge slices of luck they got with their deflected goal, the most generous ref seen in a derby for many a year and our sudden injury crisis still wasn't enough. We drove home laughing at them again.
Andy – As Tom says, they still can’t beat us. There were other positives too. We finished the game with 3 academy products in a back 4 that had dealt well with an aerial bombardment. Further forward there were more flickers of cohesive, clinical attacking play, that just lacked a final ball. I genuinely feel this team is not too far off being very good indeed. This was not an inspirational performance, sure. But it was a brave one, full of character and a willingness to dig in when the going got tough, which it did.
Moment of the match
Tom - Mo hurtling over towards scenes of yellow and green limbs, pulling at the canary on his chest and burying himself in the welcome arms of a transplanted Norfolk public who minutes earlier were mostly grumbling at his performance. Zero to hero.
Andy – It has to be the goal doesn’t it? For 10-odd minutes Portman Road was the loudest I have experienced it, they were bouncing, hugging and pointing at our massed yellow ranks. Then Mo swept one home and it all went quiet. Again. The almost immediate disappearance of the angry little twerp, dressed like the milk tray man and made to well-up after a stern word from the police from the home end made it all the sweeter.
Random star performer
Tom - Thompson hobbling about in centre mid, trying to just occupy space and be useful when Farke had deployed all three subs. He hurt his pinged hamstring further by stretching to lift a ball over the head of their right back, playing in Onel for a late chance which sadly came to nothing.
Hanley was man of the match, thoroughly upsetting the petulant and lucky to be on the pitch Jackson, plus ruffling Walters' silver feathers at every opportunity. His dogged determination was back on show after a couple of less savoury performances in early season.
Andy – My vote would go to Jordan Rhodes, who had his best game in a City shirt as far as I am concerned. This was a classic centre forward’s showing, holding the ball up, winning flicks, and bringing other people into the game. Twice in the first half he also peeled off Luke Chambers, only for that final ball to be cut-out when it would have been easier to put the former Town man through on goal.
Tom - It wasn't a great performance by any means. It was more of what was served up against Preston and Leeds. There were small, brief passages of play in the first half where we threatened and looked lively playing quickly but constantly it broke down when the weight of the ball in behind to Hernandez or Rhodes was under hit. But the vast majority of the game we were slow, disjointed and had no way of raising the game from their level. That’s 270 minutes now where we have played about 45 minutes of decent football cumulatively and looked like we have some semblance of strategy or plan moving forward.
Andy – I disagree. A bit. I felt the first half was a really measured, strong performance, only lacking in a final pass. We were calm on the ball, but more direct with our passing, leading to 3 or 4 really good opportunities to get Rhodes or Hernandez in. That the final ball was lacking was frustrating, but the signs were promising. Then Chalobah replaced the stricken Skuse, suddenly all our promising build up play was being stopped in its tracks and we couldn’t get out of our 18 yard box for long periods. From that point on we were hanging on.
Tom - My review of last week's Leeds game suggested that we were one bad performance away from Farke being greeted with being openly criticised from the terraces for the first time. He was told several times at 1-0 around the hour mark from the 2,022 away following to "Sort it out". The resulting substitution of Buendia for the more defensively minded Louis T was booed by many, then when Rhodes was replaced by Dennis instead of having them both on the pitch, that signalled a loud chorus of "You don’t know what you’re doing". I had no doubt it was coming, and while a vocal social media presence calls for patience and tries to pick the positives I feel there are now plenty more that have had enough of Farke and his apparent lack of tactical nous.
Those same critics don’t tend to have the answer of who would replace him and neither do I. Certified Farke-sceptics have to decide whether credit is due to the boss of a team who had that many things go against them in a game, play that poorly and still come out with a draw. I suggest it will be discussed at length on the upcoming ACN pod, out Wednesday morning.
Andy – Unsurprisingly, I disagree. This was far from being abject. As a team we are not far off being a very good side. We’re not there yet, but that doesn’t mean we won’t get there. Again, there were glimpses of what Farke is trying to achieve. Furthermore, when Buendia was replaced by Thompson, we were struggling to get any foothold in the game. On paper, it was a defensive change, but it stemmed the tide of Ipswich attacks and within 5 minutes the momentum of the game had swung, and we had managed to get out of our own half, ultimately snatching the equaliser. It may sound counter-intuitive but in bringing on a more defensively minded player, Farke allowed us to be an attacking threat once again.
Tom - After the first 30 minutes, a combination of:
1. A dismal game
2. The imbibing of too early beers
3. It being a bit early in the season for a derby
4. It being a bottom of the table game
...made it actually quite quiet. The long injury to Skuse also killed things off and led to a feeling of an almost 35-minute half time period with next to nothing happening of note on the pitch.
The only time the home fans were noisy was the 14 minutes they led for (perhaps the best of their lives to go with the 3 from April?)
Don’t get me wrong, I hate them, but I can't help but be embarrassed by the abuse hurling outside the game at each other either side of some hilariously deployed riot police (they didn’t go as far as putting their helmets on). The only physical contact I saw was an officer pushing a City fan who got a bit sweary. Pathetically over aggressive from the officer in question who was applauded by his pathetic friends in high-vis.
Do grow up everyone.
Andy – Now this I agree with.
Tom - A terrible game of football to watch, disjointed and scrappy. One team were only interesting in smashing it long and gambling off scraps that bounced to them (I think they're even worse than under McCarthy and might go down, there is so little quality on the ball). All periods of pressure were punctuated from terrible referee decisions, corners or long throws so they could bypass using any skill and just hurl it into our box. The other team tried a little bit of the slick interplay they’ve hinted at being capable of this season, but very quickly descended to quick balls to get Jordan or Onel in behind. Yet another game where Farke didn't have the answer to impose his preferred style when the opposition is playing spoiler footy. If it wasn’t the derby this 90 minutes would be pretty much forgotten by November.
Andy – A solid, gritty performance from a young side in a game we could easily have folded in and lost. That we didn’t says much about the character of the embryonic side Farke is building. Yes, for long periods this was not pretty and we were hanging on for large portions of the second half, but hang on we did.