Icy reception for turgid Town
WITH so much to play for at either end of the Championship, both Ipswich Town and Wigan Athletic suffered from frostbite during a bitterly disappointing goalless draw.
Boos rung out at the end at Portman Road but with Ipswich still firmly entrenched in the topsix, it was probably more of an indictment of the uninspiring, turgid football on show.
Defences were well on top but this was as much about the lack of any final-third creativity and inventiveness.
This was certainly one to forget, even if Wigan closed the gap to fourth-bottom to seven points while Ipswich lost ground on the Championship frontrunners.
Neither Town boss Mick McCarthy nor his opposite number Malky Mackay offered any excuses – both admitting they were delighted with a point in the circumstances.
McCarthy said: “I’m not going to make any excuses. Neither side played very well. We didn’t deserve to win the game, so I am delighted with the point.
“I have always said we are not that good that we are going to win every game. But it takes about 75 points to make the play-offs so we now need 24.
“The key to getting results in any division is grinding out points, especially when you are not playing well.
“If you look through Wigan’s team, you can’t tell me that’s a team in the bottom three. They ought to be challenging.
“They made it really hard for us. If I was Malky, I would think that’s a magnificent point.”
Mackay was indeed a proud man as he plotted more additions to his squad ahead of Monday’s transfer deadline.
He said: “I think we were terrific. I have watched Ipswich four times this season as a neutral and I knew they grinded teams down before scoring and winning – that is why they are near the top.
“We had to make sure we matched that and we did. There was very little between the two teams. Anyone watching that game couldn’t have said who was near the top and who was near the bottom.”
In a week where some of the club’s big names have left, Mackay added:“We are starting to get a team in my image and the way I want to play.
“Anyone I bring in, whether it is on loan or permanent, has to have hunger and fire in their belly and hopefully we can get at least another two in before Monday.”
It was an instantly forgettable first half with freezing fans starved of clear-cut chances.
The best fell to Jay Tabb, the industrious Ipswich Town midfielder, who was beautifully fed by Tyrone Mings but opted to drill the ball over with team mates screaming for a pass.
Wigan, a side very much in transition, were clearly content in sitting back, and who can blame them?
At the other end, Ipswich were missing Championship top scorer Daryl Murphy, out with a calf injury – though new signing Freddie Sears offered a tantalising glimpse during a 25-minute cameo.
Second-half chances were as rare as in the opening 45 minutes.
McGoldrick headed straight at Ali Al Habsi, while an alert Sears beat his marker but also hit straight at the Wigan stopper.
At the other end, James Perch brushed a header just wide but the game drifted to an inevitable and dire conclusion.
HOLD ON: Wigan Athletic’s Martyn Waghorn keeps Ipswich’s Luke Chambers airborne
McGoldrick BALANCE: Ipswich’s David