By Fan of the Year Jon Harries

Portman Road was the next destination for Manning’s Men. After a fantastic midweek win at home to Charlton the games don’t get any harder than Ipswich away. The favourites for the title with a cast of “all stars” were still looking for their first win of the season so there was hope of a result for the Dons. It was an end-to-end start to the game in which Ipswich took the lead in route 1 fashion through Macauley Bonne after a bouncing ball caught out both Warren O’Hora and Andrew Fisher, allowing Bonne to volley the ball in superbly.

The heads didn’t drop for the away side with Parrott heavily involved in everything good going forward but it was Ethan Robson who had the best effort of the first half hitting the bar after great approach play by the Dons. Half time but all was not lost. Ipswich had the first glorious chance of the second half when Wes Burns shot was tipped onto the post by Fisher. 

Then another moment of Twine magic, duplicating his Bolton goal in winning then converting a fabulous free kick for his second goal in as many away games. Ipswich then retook the lead when Scott Fraser delivered a great ball into the box and Bonne popped up at the far post to convert from close range.

All Ipswich had to do was defend for the last 15 minutes, but it only took four minutes for the Dons to level when Lee Evans was dispossessed deep in his own half by Matt O’Riley who could have squared to Mo Eisa instead he had the confidence to coolly slide it in. Nothing more than we deserved, and it could have had a happier ending when Norwich loanee Josh Martin found room in the box superbly and crashed his shot off the bar. A fantastic end to end game of football and I’m happy with the 5 points from 4 games given our start, it could have been worse, but we have negotiated a tough start to the campaign and come out of it with some hope and optimism.

Saturday sees the visit of Accrington Stanley to Stadium MK. John Coleman is one of the longest serving managers in the EFL (only Gareth Ainsworth is ahead) and does a superb job in keeping the Lancashire outfit competitive in L1. Last season they were flying before Covid struck the squad around the turn of the year and the number of fixtures postponed meant the season ended with a whimper. They have talented players and recruit well for such a small budget. James Trafford is between the sticks (18 and on loan from Manchester City) Michael Nottingham is the experienced head in the backline and contributes goals from set pieces. Harry Pell, Sean McConville, and Seamus Connelly provide vital EFL experience in midfield and up front both Colby Bishop and Dion Charles both achieved double figures in goals last season. 

Double Figure Strikers – Colby Bishop & Dion Charles

Joe Pritchard is my one to watch on Saturday afternoon. Coleman has made the creative winger into a dangerous wingback with great energy, drive, and a dangerous delivery from set pieces. He is a vital member of the squad who is given licence to roam either on the left or right. Stanley fans were rightly buzzing last season when he signed a new contract with the club and quite rightly. Bishop and Charles get the goals, but Accrington are the very definition of a team. 

Predicted Line-up


Watson – O’Hora – Darling – Lewington – Jules 

O’Riley – Robson – Twine 

Eisa – Parrott 

A very solid and fluid line-up. Bonds are building and quietly Manning is stamping his mark on this side. Harvie could potentially come in following concussion protocol, but this side is more than good enough to compete Saturday. I’m going for a 3-1 home win. Eisa x 2 and Parrott with the goals. The next few fixtures look favourable, but it doesn’t mean it’s going to be easy. COYD 

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