Please log in or register. Registered visitors get fewer ads.
Ipswich Town 3 v 2 Southampton
SkyBet Championship
Monday, 1st April 2024 Kick-off 17:30
Southampton At Ipswich The Verdict
Tuesday, 2nd Apr 2024 12:33

Saints fast fading hopes of automatic promotion died with yet another poor defensive performance and yet another strange choice of defence in the starting line up, now we need to look to cement our Automatic promotion spot.

It was yet again another strange team selection from Russell Martin, only one member of the back four from Saturday starting in the same position they did against Boro.

Kyle Walker Peters was dropped to the bench, Jack Stephens moved to left back and Jan Bednarek coming back into the centre of defence, almost a complete shake up, but of course Jack Stephens was still in the side.

Saints started the game well, but it was Ipswich who drew first blood and again it was our defence found wanting, Bree had come into the middle and left Davis alone on our right hand side, Bree was never going to get across to block him and the Ipswich man hit a hard shot, yes it was right in the top corner, but Bazunu should really not be letting shots like that in.

But the lead would last barely a minute as Adam Armstrong found Joe Aribo who helped the ball across goal for Che Adams to fire home from close range.

But it got better, a sublime ball from Stuart Armstrong found his namesake Adam who fired home across the keeper and now after just 23 minutes we were in control of the game.

Ryan Fraser almost made in 3-1 with a shot across goal that missed the post by inches, so at the break Saints were good value for their 2-1 lead.

In the second half initially Saints started well and Taylor Harwood-Bellis had a header well saved by the home keeper at full stretch, but then the game turned.

The warming signs were there before the equaliser, the Saints defence was at sixes & sevens as the home side struck the post, the warnings were not heeded, with 25 minutes to go Russell Martin had not used a substitute, Ipswich had used one in the first half. but made two more changes on 61 minutes and it soon paid off with Broadhead one of those brought on finding acres of space in the box and firing home in the 68th minute.

Now we were on the back foot, but the first chance wasn't to bring on fresh legs at the back or in midfield, but to replace Ryan Fraser with David Brooks.

Opinion on this was divided, on one hand we needed to win the game so a brave attacking decision, but on the other hand we also needed to keep things tight and bring on fresh legs, second change was Sam Edozie for Che Adams, still no fresh legs were we needed them and the home side were looking to catch us on the break.

Finally on 82 minutes we got the fresh legs of Smallbone & Rothwell, but Ipswich went long and James Bree was caught out and as the player got behind him he went down, it looked a harsh foul, but he would have been through on goal so the red card came out for Bree.

You would have thought at this point that Kyle Walker Peters might have made a late cameo, to add pace at the back and also an attacking threat, but no such tactical decision was made.

There fore it was no surprise that Ipswich won it in the 97th minute, the last of the 7 being played by the ref, once again tired legs were caught out, a man out wide on our right with plenty of time to pick his man, that man was Sarmiento who had so much time he was able to fall over, pick himself up and prod the ball home with not a Saints defender getting near him.

So a good 65 minutes went to pot in the final part of the game, once again puzzling team selections by the manager and a failure to use substitutions effectively.

We had no leadership on or off the pitch, Jack Stephens appeared to have a very fluid role as left back, frequently moving into the centre of the midfield. was this tactical or evidence of a team in total disarray, either way it ultimately cost us dearly as we failed to mark men at crucial times and paid the price.

There is a lot of anger on social media at the moment and of course there would be as it is a big disappointment to blow automatic promotion with still 8 games left to play, but perhaps we need to use it as a wakeup call, there were those that predicted doom & gloom back in August and indeed again in September, but the reality is we still live to fight another day, albeit that other day is now the play offs.

We now have to cement 4th position in the league, but first ensure that we are in the play offs long before the end of the season, as it stands Coventry are the team in 7th with 7 games left to play, the most points they can get is 81, that is 7 points more that the 74 we are on at the moment, win two games out of our last 8 and we should be home and dry, especially if one of those games is the game in a weeks time against Coventry at St Mary's.

Indeed with Coventry hosting Leeds on Saturday if they lose that one and we win at Blackburn, then a play off spot could be secured with a draw at St Mary's next Tuesday.

Photo: Action Images

Please report offensive, libellous or inappropriate posts by using the links provided.

wessexman added 12:50 - Apr 2
Kieffer Moore has scored 6 goals in 10 appearances for Ipswich. He has been a major part in re-igniting Ipswich's season. We should have landed him as he would have done a job for us. RM must be held responsible for failing to get automatic promotion. The squad was there, but....his incessant tinkering and this stubborn playing out from the back has cost us. Will he do the same in the play offs? On another note, Wilcox and Man U. I dare say, failure in the play offs will see numerous players going and maybe the manager as well. Frustrating is not the word as it is all so predictable. Seemingly not to the powers to be at SMS.

LordDZLucan added 12:50 - Apr 2
8 games to go. We need to treat those games as a pre season and have a complete reset. We need to adjust the way we play and every position in the team must be viewed as up for grabs. The way things are going at present no player has a divine right to a position in the starting line up. This is a unique opportunity to sort things out once and for all.

sandywelsh added 12:53 - Apr 2
The manager cost us that game tonight by not playing Walker-Peters our player of the season. They would not have got the first goal if he was on the pitch. We will never win anything with Stephens starting! The next problem was taking off Frazier, Aribo and Armstrong who where are 3 best players! Will this so called manager ever learn!!!!

WestSussexSaint added 12:57 - Apr 2
As the write up correctly states, the tactics worked for 65 mins. This included having Stephens as an inverted left back drifting into midfield to provide an outlet. The issue was that Ipswich changed their approach in the second half and Saints didn’t adapt. The damaging goal was the equaliser as a draw was not really any better than defeat.

It highlights that Saints aren’t as good as the three teams above us at present so RM has 8 games to work out how he wants to play for the playoffs and the players/tactics for that.

WestSussexSaint added 12:59 - Apr 2
Should add that the most significant point of the night was news breaking that Jason Wilcox had resigned following an approach from Man Utd. Long term this could be more significant for the club than this one result.

Centurion added 13:18 - Apr 2
We cannot coast until the play offs start.
We need to gain momentum and confidence from the last 8 games or we will simply lose the play off places tamely.
As for another season in the Championship. Yes we will lose players but to me the big question is will RM change his approach? If he does, then I think we can still aim for another top 6 finish.

SaintPaulVW added 13:25 - Apr 2
Don't really understand the tinkering. We had a solid defence when we played Bree, THB, JB and KWP. All those players were available yesterday so not sure why JS, who wasn't part of our winning run, needed to be shoved in? I suspect as an ex CB Russell sees something of himself in him.

Our real problem though was again the lack of a clinical finish in front of goal. Just like Boro we had the chances to win it but just didn't take them.

After last years appalling season, I would have taken a play off spot this year. However we need to be aiming to still win our way there, not drift in off the back of poor results.



NewburySaint added 13:26 - Apr 2
Rinse and repeat….the classic Saints away performance of this season!

The rest of the season, until the playoffs start, seems like a massive anti-climax now.

saintmark1976 added 13:29 - Apr 2
WestSussexSaint, “ so RM has 8 games to work out how he wants to play for the playoffs and the players/tactics for that”.

With respect to you that’s the whole problem with Russell Martin. He’s had 38 games already and with the best and most expensive squad in The Championship he has failed abysmally. Why give him the opportunity to fail again?

As I posted earlier on the Forum section of Nick’s site, our owners should immediately take the opportunity of rolling the dice, sack Russell Martin and replace him with Steve Cooper.

Cooper has successfully negotiated the playoffs and would install a different way of playing as well as invigorating and providing confidence to the players, some of which have clearly lost belief in Russell Martin.

JoeEgg added 13:49 - Apr 2
As I have repeated many times there really is very little between the top four sides in the Championship. Saints can play eye-catchingly well at times, but even the weaker Championship sides have identified our weaknesses and areas of vulnerability.
Our defenders are not poor as individuals but they have been moved around and messed about so many times, its no wonder they forget their individual and collective responsibilities. Bazunu is an accident waiting to happen but much of his weakness at the knees is a result of the indecision and hesitation in front of him.
Our midfield looked temporarily better with Aribo replacing Smallbone, but the former seemed to tire badly and with Stu Armstrong rarely great at defending, Ipswich found their encouragement to launch attack after attack.
Although both Adam Armstrong and Adams found the back of the net, it was so predictable that our attackers would still manage to miss so many clear cut chances that once again it looked ominous for our chances of holding on. You can excuse this fact once or twice, but it is the same thing happening every time we play.
Our substitutions once again were at best baffling and totally ineffective, unlike those made by Ipswich. Their substitutes changed the game.
The truth is we are at least as good as the three teams above. But Leicester, Leeds and Ipswich have managers that make all the difference with their team selections, ability to change tactics and their substitutions.
How anyone could leave Walker-Peters sat on the bench for the most important match of our season so far, is way way beyond baffling. Martin has been the architect of his own downfall, and the main reason we have no chance now for automatic promotion.

underweststand added 14:02 - Apr 2
Lots pf people have similar comments (above) about wrong selection, wrong subs etc but we also need to recall how many games / points we have won by scoring late / very late goals. In the last two games, we have dropped 5 points due to goals scored in the last minute(s) of the games.
Should we really complain now that we feel the same as fans at Sheffield (Wed), Plymouth Hull, Preston, Millwall, Birmingham and Sunderland because they also lost points because of our goals that were scored" at the death".
It hurts but what goes around, comes around and over the weekend we got our share of
" bad luck".." football karma " or whatever you call it. We are still in with a shout for the play-offs and if we are good enough.. we can still get promotion.

AmericanSaint added 14:19 - Apr 2
Well I think everyone has said many valid points here. Three things I think need to be stressed and repeated.
1. Why KWP wasnt starting is beyond me?? RM screwed that up BIG time.
2. The ref should have given (Modrigy - whatever his name is) a second yellow before halftime, but was too chicken-sht to do it. Even the announcer said it shoudl have been a second yellow.
3. Stuey (I like him a lot) screwed up and passed to wee0man instead of AA on the break and that cost us. How do you NOT pass to your leading scorer? I am still shaking my head at that one.

So now RM need to pull his head out of the ground (or wherever else it is) and stick with our best players (W/O JS) and push. If we make it to the finals of the playoffs, it will be either Leeds, Leis, or Ips, so we better be running on all cylinders for that one.

On to the next.

131153 added 14:20 - Apr 2
Well where do we go from hear. Firstly last night there is no doubt Bazunu is playing exactly as the manager has instructed. I don't believe there are more than 1 or 2 keepers who would have saved that shot. The problem was the player was not marked.The second goal went through THB's legs making a split second difference. Third goal had an element of luck, fine margins as many others have commented. Bazunu is very far from the worst keeper I have seen. Also no chance whatsoever Mcarthy would have saved any of these three goals, he has no idea where the near post is.
The pre match interview gave the game away RM when asked the rationale behind the three changes snapped back " I have picked the team to win this game". So he had already guessed the situation with benching KWP could easily blow up in his face. It did in spades.
My only consolation is had we won which overall we deserved, it would only have made matters easier for Leeds and Leicester. Ipswich have only matched us in 2011/12 let's see if they go up they last 10 years in the PL. Let's go on and win as many of the remaining games as possible and go into the play offs on a good run of form.
The situation with Man U and Wilcox is typical of the current situation, if you had spent most of your life in the North West and offered the opportunity to double/treble your money not a difficult or time consuming decision to make. If Ipswich don't make it to the PL pretty sure they will be looking for a new manager as he will be at a PL club. We can only hope an equal or hopefully better replacement can be found. Let us hope the club screw Man U for as much as possible,


kenchilds70 added 15:10 - Apr 2
For me Martin is no better at in game management than Hasenhutl. Another management "one trick pony" are we Swansea 2.0. A defender redcarded for a yellow card offence made it easy for Ipswich to win because Martin still plays gung ho football. A good manager would have shut up shot at two each....but not us. Taxi for Russell Martin as far as I am concerned.

SanMarco added 15:19 - Apr 2
I agree with virtually all these comments and heartily agree with those who put the responsibility firmly at RM's door. Whatever our anxieties at the start of the season the reality is that 4th will be an underachievement with the squad we have got. We were going well until he started messing with the defence.

That was a big game last night and most of my most memorable big games have been gritty 1-0 wins where it could be said we didn't even play well eg. Pompey in 84, the match at Swansea that kept us up, the semi win at Liverpool and even our greatest day of all in 76 (alright - we did play well in that one!) My strong feeling about RM is that in a January 84 at Fratton type situation he would ACTUALLY PREFER a match where we were pretty, stylish, scored a couple of good goals and lost 3-2. He could then say better side lost, blame the players, blame the ref etc. A gritty, hard-fought, totally unpretty and even slightly lucky 1-0 win would not be for him. I repeat - it was a big game last night and we LOST.

PS the ref was sh1te, again.

halftimeorange added 15:59 - Apr 2
It all goes back to the question of whether we can maintain RM's passing game for ninety plus minutes and we patently can't. Whether that is because it is too demanding or we don't possess the collective skills is open to debate. We certainly don't have enough players to make up an eleven that can survive in the prem. Promotion or not we'll be needing a whole new set of players in September and the loss of Jason Wilcox is, to my mind, a bigger blow than if RM is replaced although I must concede that with a few more proficient players than we currently have he might have got us automatically upstairs.

bryanK added 16:22 - Apr 2
I fully agree with the negative comments. Russell Martin had the squad and has blown it shame on him. Any reasonable manager with this group of players would have been nailed on to be in the automatic promotion shakeup.
The complete failure in a number of matches to kill the game off added to the dreadful defending has cost us due to his failure to adapt to situations.
He had a wonderful opportunity to win the fans over and has succeeded in alienating a high percentage of us.
Finishing 4th in most seasons would have been considered pretty good coupled with a play off slot but I feel Martin has cheated us. Not a sacking fan but his inability to change makes him untenable if we fail in the playoffs

ronniedavies added 16:24 - Apr 2
Oh…to have a natural proper decent left back like Ipswich’s Leif Davis.
We continue to shoehorn inadequate replacements who haven’t filled the role since Bertrand and Taggart.
This has been a blatantly obvious all season and the competition play on it week in week out!

IanRC added 17:28 - Apr 2
What a crock of s++t. We were much the better side for most of the game, Ipswich were barely in our half during the first half except for their goal. Thought Fraser looked only half fit, unable to beat his man and very wasteful when shooting. However when the eventual substitution came it was not Sulemana, who at least is direct, but an ineffective Edozie who came on. A good prospect but not as creative as Sulemana.

As American Saint said Stu was great in the first half but that pass to Fraser to his left when AA was central and unmarked to his right probably cost us the game. That said thought the sending off was harsh firstly because he went down very easily and secondly as it looked like someone could have got across to cover.

Not sure where we go from here, if we had won the three games against the teams above us we would of had a good chance of automatic promotion but we have fallen at the first hurdle due to our manager's incompetence. We will certainly need to tighten up and be more accurate in front of goal if we want to win the play off lottery.


Colburn added 17:36 - Apr 2
Stephens was magnificent, I suggest you watch the game again.. I agree with your comments about subs being made too late. I don’t agree KWP should have started as he’s just back from injury and played on Friday so it would have been stupid to risk him being injured again. We totally dominated the game for 60 minutes so your assessment about shape and personnel is horse sh*t as is your again cowardly attack at Stephens but you clearly have no scruples. The problem was the same as before, we stopped trying to hurt the opposition and didn’t freshen up the legs, which is probably why the game turned when it did as Aribo and Fraser looked spent. Had they have been replaced on the hour and Adams too, the result would have been different. So, why did we play so well for the first hour if the tactics, shape and personnel were wrong? You’re beginning to sound like a bitter old man, moaning when we win, whingeing when we lose and constantly attacking our longest serving player. The manager is young and learning his trade, it’s a seriously tough league and never tougher before so to achieve our best unbeaten run and have almost 2 points a game is something to salute. Be careful what you wish for guys and get behind the team properly instead of this constant whingefest no matter the result. From what I read, most of you don’t deserve top flight football..
Cue the minus thumbs down.. bring it on clowns

Jesus_02 added 17:50 - Apr 2
8 games to sort the defense out, at the moment any team in the top 6 will fancy their chances against us in the play offs.

If we don't go up this season I can see the Championship being our home for a while.

Farlow added 17:58 - Apr 2
This Manager is to indecisive,why would you give Sulemana 60 minutes on Friday and then not use him last night.Edozie was dreadful when he came on.Bazunu Should not have let their first goal in.Mara should have come on for Adams because Armstrong is too lightweight to play Centre Forward.Surely
in the most important game of the season you
have to play K.W.P.We should use the last few games to give the three youngsters some game time i,m sure Dibling would come through.

jameshill added 18:04 - Apr 2
I too thought Jack Stephens played well. Similarly I thought the team were really impressive for most of the game. Away to the league leaders and making them look average for 3/4 of the match.
A draw was probably the fairest result but football often isn't fair.
For my money the manager is talented and imaginative and time(i.e the play offs) will confirm this.
Keep the faith.

silverspringsaint added 18:17 - Apr 2
So play offs it will be. Critical to maintain momentum now, we still have a real opportunity to go up. Team is stacked with offensive talent, but that is not reflected in the score tally. More than enough chances to get a third against Ipswich which could have seen us home and dry. Not fully understanding the team selection on defence - where is Shea Charles, why KWP on the bench? Bazunu form seems to have fallen away which doesn’t help matters. We have lost shape at the back, far too much given up. Finally that Ipswich winner? Their guy was flailing on the floor with 6-7 Saints players looking at him, not making the challenge!?

onetowatch added 12:28 - Apr 3
American Saint, on earth can you criticise 1 pass from SA and state that it cost us the game????? As always, so much of what we do well comes through Stuey. Always trying to get the ball forward, either by passing it forward or carrying it, committing defenders....I think leaving KWP on the bench at a critical time of the game, had a far more negative impact - Colburn, I take your point re coming back from injury, but he could have played the last 20/30 mins...

You need to login in order to post your comments

Blogs 31 bloggers

Knees-up Mother Brown #22 by wessex_exile

Southampton Polls

About Us Contact Us Terms & Conditions Privacy Cookies Advertising
© FansNetwork 2024