By Jon Harries
I get the impression that Crewe Alexandra are our new bogey team. Both performances have been under par and in fairness to Crewe under David Artell they had planned their game against us perfectly with their high pressing, forcing mistakes from us, and generally being well organised.
On Saturday Crewe started the game on the front foot, Omar Beckles forcing a top save from Fisher from a Crewe free kick. The Railwaymen deserved their lead after Zak Jules was robbed of possession in midfield and a neat flowing move involving Kirk, Lowery, and Mandron ended with the Frenchman finishing the move brilliantly. It was two shortly after, Kirk again with the clever lobbed assist and Mandron turned and shot low at the near post, just when you thought Darling was going to boot it into the Cowshed. The control Crewe had at that point was probably one of the best away performances seen at Stadium MK this season. After that the home side got their act together, but the damage had already been done. Cameron Jerome, Will Grigg, and Charlie Brown all had great chances to get on the scoresheet, first Jerome was played through one on one, rounded the keeper who I believe got a touch on the ball and the subsequent shot hit the base of the post and back to the goalkeeper. Brown then had a header late on which was superbly kept out by the goalkeeper, Grigg was also possibly denied by unfair means.
The four game winning streak is over and probably any small chance of a late play-off run with that, it’s all about building towards next season now.
Ipswich come into Saturday’s game with brilliant news off the pitch where the fans pantomime villain Marcus Evans has finally sold the club to American investors. Mike O’Leary is the new Chairman tasked with backing current Manager Paul Cook in the summer to finally return the Tractor Boys to the Championship.
Although technically not out of the play-off picture, given that Cook still hasn’t settled on his strongest 11 or even a formation, it would take a brilliant end of season run to even get there. A scoreless draw against a relegation threatened Rochdale where chances were very limited for both sides doesn’t exactly help either club, to have no shots on target in the second half frustrated the fanbase who are quite rightly asking questions about the process going forward.
Tomas Holy is a superb goalkeeper at this level, Kane Vincent-Young has just returned from long term injury to bolster the RB position, and Luke Chambers is a fans favourite. In midfield Andre Dozzell, Flynn Downes and Teddy Bishop could be a future Ipswich midfield three with tenacity, passing and guile, and it’s hard not to forget Alan Judge who was part of the infamous referee incident when Ipswich played Northampton. Up front they have Freddie Sears, Kayden Jackson, and James Norwood, and if given the right service can definitely be the spearhead going forward for Ipswich.
Jon Nolan is the man in focus, another opposition player who like Mandron loves a goal against the Dons. The former Shrewsbury midfielder has the ability to ghost into space and provide ammunition for the aforementioned strike force. He has scored in his last four appearances against this opposition so one to watch for sure. Injuries have hindered his progression but on his day he is certainly L1 level.
O’Hora – Darling – Lewington
Laird – McEachran – Surman – Harvie
O’Riley – Fraser Jerome
Lewington and his experience could be exactly what we need in this type of game against a good side. Surman will be vital to break up the play in midfield and Fraser can cause problems the other way. For me the key battle will be how Ipswich deal with Jerome. A back two duo not known for their pace, the former Norwich hitman will want to inflict damage at Portman Road and put a huge smile on our manager and former Norwich captain.
I’m predicting a 1-0 away win. Narrow wins at former Premier League stadiums seems to be a theme this season with Hull, Sunderland, and Charlton all succumbing to defeat, I’m going for Jerome with the goal.
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