With a goalfest at Portman Road versus Rovers, the Tractor Boys picked up their seventh league win of the season from eight games. Ipswich Town’s unbeaten start to the 2023-24 Championship season continued on Saturday with a thrilling 4-3 victory over Blackburn Rovers at Portman Road. The Tractor Boys entered the game having won six of their first seven league games in their first Championship season since 2018-19, with their sole defeat coming a few weeks ago against Leeds United.
That was similarly a 4-3 result, but Kieran McKenna’s side did not come out on top; however, it was a different story this weekend, as they narrowly won their seventh game of the season.
Harry Clarke’s first ever goal for his hometown club in the fourth minute of the match was cancelled out by Arnor Sigurdsson’s equaliser five minutes later, but goals from Nathan Broadhead and George Hirst put Town 3-1 up at half-time.
A Clarke own goal and Sammie Szmodics’ strike put Rovers level by the 65th minute, only for Massimo Luongo to fire home the winner 11 minutes from time.
The win puts Ipswich up to second in the table – let’s look at THREE things we learnt about them during the success over Jon Dahl Tomasson’s side.
Last season, Ipswich had Conor Chaplin to fire them over the line to automatic promotion as out of their 101 league strikes in League One, 26 of them came from the diminutive attacking midfielder.
10 of those goals came in the last nine matches of that season, and he’s had a good start to 2023-24 at a higher level as well with three goals and two assists.
One of those assists came on Saturday when he gave the ball to Nathan Broadhead to fire home in the first half to make it 2-1, but McKenna now has a lot of players he can rely on to hit the back of the net if Chaplin isn’t having the chances.
Broadhead has scored four times already, Freddie Ladapo has netted three times, George Hirst has been on the scoresheet twice and even defenders and defensive midfielders like Clarke and Luongo are scoring great goals.
It will be comforting for McKenna to know that when Chaplin perhaps isn’t firing on all cylinders, the likes of Broadhead, Hirst, Ladapo and Omari Hutchinson will be real threats in the final third.
Ipswich play notoriously good, attractive football under McKenna’s tutelage, but they can mix it up and go direct when needs be.
But even when Ipswich go more direct it still looks very good, and Cameron Burgess was the surprise creator for George Hirst’s goal against his former loan club to make it 3-1.
The towering centre-back curled a fantastic left-footed ball down the pitch, one which Hirst latched onto and finished coolly beyond Aynsley Pears in the Blackburn goal.
Burgess only really had a shot in the starting 11 last season when George Edmundson was injured, and he’s held his place in the side since the club’s promotion to the Championship – and he’s proving he’s more than simply a strong defender. Speaking of defenders and defending, McKenna’s squad still has a problem with surrendering goals.
Town are too easily broken at times, with Blackburn scoring three times and Leeds scoring four times against them at Portman Road – Cardiff also scored twice.
While they can certainly outscore opponents, Ipswich must be more cautious while attempting to keep the opposition out – in some games, they have been successful. have been strong and determined, but they have been exposed far too often at home.