Peterborough 7-1 Ipswich: Fawlty Towners
Saturday 20 August 2011
Ipswich Town acted out a new British farce for the TV cameras as defending of comically bad proportions saw Peterborough United record an astonishing 7-1 demolition of the Blues at London Road.
Ironic as it may seem in hindsight, manager Paul Jewell made four changes to his starting lineup in the hope of avoiding a repeat of Tuesday's 5-2 loss to Southampton. Jack Ainsley was handed his first league start alongside Damien Delaney in defence, with Tommy Smith dropping to the bench.
Lee Martin and Josh Carson replaced Mark Kennedy and the injured Lee Bowyer in midfield, while Jay Emmanuel-Thomas was restored to the starting lineup alongside Michael Chopra up front, with Jason Scotland making way.
Hoping to emulate Southampton's performance against the Blues in midweek, Peterborough were quick to put the Town defence under pressure. George Boyd had a shot blocked before David Stockdale was called into action twice in quick succession, first to tip Grant McCann's free kick over the bar before making a good reaction save to stop Scott Wootton's header from the subsequent corner.
Having started on the back foot, Ipswich gradually warmed up, Delaney heading straight at Paul Jones in the Peterborough goal before Emmanuel-Thomas hit a low shot which curled just wide of the far post. With 15 minutes gone, one-time Town trainee Ryan Bennett did enough to prevent Chopra turning home Carlos Edwards' cross from the right, then Martin curled an effort off target after a good run from the left wing.
The Blues were to be rewarded for their pressure on 23 minutes. Edwards charged forward before laying the ball to Keith Andrews, the Blackburn Rovers loanee then unleashing an exquisite 30 yard drive which smacked in off the left-hand post to give Ipswich the lead.
Sadly that was about as good as Town's evening got, with Peterborough quick to hit back. Paul Taylor almost found an equaliser just 3 minutes later, getting beyond Edwards and rolling a shot beyond Stockdale which clipped the outside of the far post. They were back level on the half-hour mark though; Mark Little worked hard to keep a long ball in play and cut past Edwards before his layback was diverted into the path of Paul Taylor, who smashed a great strike in off the post from the edge of the area.
8 minutes later, the home side were ahead. Lee Tomlin looked marginally offside as he ran onto the end of Boyd's long ball forward, but with the Blues defence too busy waiting for a linesman's flag that was never forthcoming, the Posh striker managed to get the better of Edwards before firing past Stockdale into the top corner.
It was at this point that Ipswich collapsed in spectacular fashion. Two minutes after the hosts had taken the lead, Grant Leadbitter played a poor pass back which allowed Paul Taylor to run clear and slot past Stockdale for 3-1. One minute later it was four, Lee Tomlin escaping another possible offside flag from Wootton's through pass before rolling the ball through Stockdale's legs for his second of the game.
As if to compound the chaos, Town were then reduced to ten men. Martin slid rather recklessly into Little on the right-hand touchline - albeit getting the ball - but despite no immediate reaction from the linesman, referee Graham Scott showed Martin a straight red; all within 7 minutes of Peterborough taking the lead.
Ipswich walked off the pitch at half-time utterly shellshocked at the manner in which their game had been turned completely upside down. Despite some questionable decisions, the Blues defence could have no excuse for switching off and looked so fragile by the end of the half that Peterborough seemed destined to score every time they came forward. Jewell therefore reacted by attempting to strengthen his defence, moving Ainsley to right-back and replacing Carson with Smith.
Much to the manager's horror however, the move backfired spectacularly. Tomlin might have been offside again as he ran clear on goal, but with nothing given, he was brought to ground by Smith, prompting Scott to show the New Zealand international a straight red card - just 67 seconds after coming on. Worse still, despite the challenge occuring on the edge of the D, the referee awarded Peterborough a penalty, Grant McCann stepping up and striking confidently home from the spot to give Ipswich the worst possible start to the second half.
The match was now absolutely dead and buried for Town, with the interval clearly doing little to slow the pace of the Peterborough onslaught or their own collapse. It hadn't finished there either, Stockdale managing to deny Little soon after only for the hosts to go 6-1 up on 56 minutes, Grant McCann seeing his strike deflect off Ainsley and loop in.
Jewell had made his second change of the game just before the goal, Mark Kennedy taking the place of Emmanuel-Thomas, but the Town manager was by now helpless to effect any change upon the game. Ipswich were effectively camping in their own half with 8 men behind the ball, Chopra looking utterly redundant on his own up front.
The one shining light was Stockdale, who by now looked to be fighting a one man crusade to prevent the score growing further. The on-loan Fulham keeper did superbly to parry Boyd's fierce drive across goal and then denied McCann before pushing away another strong effort from Boyd. Further saves followed from Craig Alcock, McCann and Taylor as the Blues held on with over 20 minutes still left to play.
Town had brought over 1,000 fans to London Road and in defiance of the abject humiliation going on in front of them, plenty were still in the ground, albeit now making their own entertainment with a conga line. Such was the one-sided nature of the match that the supporters were given a rare chance to back their team on the attack from a Leadbitter corner, but Delaney could only head out of play at the far post. 2 minutes later, the isolated Chopra was replaced by Nathan Ellington.
Peterborough continued to try for a seventh, substitute Ryan Tunnicliffe hitting the woodwork from Taylor's cross before Tommy Rowe fired over. At the other end, Andrews - whose opening goal was now feeling like an eternity ago - had a rare chance for Town with an audacious attempt from the centre circle which Jones claimed, while substitute Ellington was trying his best to at least keep the ball in the Peterborough half.
As the match entered its final ten minutes, Tunnicliffe dragged wide, Alcock struck over and Rowe had a shot blocked as Peterborough continued to use the Town box for target practice. Stockdale was then again called upon to make two stops at his near post before McCann, Rowe and Tomlin all went off target.
With 92 minutes on the clock however, Peterborough did make the Ipswich net ripple a seventh time. Taylor sent Rowe through on goal, and despite Stockdale getting a block in, a defensive scramble resulted in Lee Tomlin firing in at the second time of asking for his hat-trick.
The hammering is one of the heaviest in Ipswich Town's history and their biggest in the league since the 9-0 loss at Manchester United in 1995. It also means the Blues have conceded 12 goals in two matches, as well as having lost their last four; a quite unbelievable change of fortunes after the opening day win at Bristol City.
It was a true baptism of fire for Ainsley, who did look out of his depth, whilst the likes of Leadbitter, Delaney and Smith will undoubtedly face more heavy criticism. Stockdale and Andrews were among the very few Ipswich players to emerge with credit from this clash, and whilst the Blues may have been hard done by with a string of poor decisions, the hosts were unquestionably worthy of their victory. Even discounting the Peterborough goals which involved dubious calls by the officials, Town would still have lost at least 3-1.
A dreadful week for the Blues sees them fall to 19th in the early Championship table, and though position means little at this point, the warning signs are there for Jewell to quickly find plugs for his backline. The boss will now have a week before his team are next in action against Leeds United, and with Smith's red card exacerbating an already serious problem at centre-back, there simply must not be any further delay in bringing reinforcements to the club; if there are, it could be a very long season for the Blues.
Peterborough: Jones, Little (Gordon 57), Bennett, Wootton, Alcock, McCann, Rowe, Frecklington (Tunnicliffe 62), Tomlin, Boyd, Taylor - Not used: Day, Thompson, Ball.
Ipswich: Stockdale, Cresswell, Delaney, Carson (Smith 46, s/o 47), Ainsley, Leadbitter, Edwards, Emmanuel-Thomas (Kennedy 54), Martin (s/o 45), Andrews, Chopra (Ellington 71) - Not used: Lee-Barrett, Scotland.
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