In their last fixture before the international break Ipswich Town finally secured their first victory of the campaign, and the first win in 12 Championship matches under Paul Hurst. The Tractor Boys beat Swansea City 3-2 in a dramatic encounter at the Liberty City Stadium.
Ipswich fell behind inside the opening eight minutes, as Janoi Donacien deflected Connor Roberts’ cross into his own net, and Hurst’s side had to show character to stay in the match as the hosts mounted pressure on their defence.
However, just before the half hour mark Ipswich, against the run of play, levelled the match through Gwoin Edwards before taking the lead just four minutes later through a Mike Van der Hoorn own goal.
Ipswich held onto the 2-1 lead despite being put under mounting second half pressure, but eventually conceded an equaliser from former Ipswich player Bercant Celina’s effort from outside the box with eleven minutes to play. It looked like the chance for a much-needed first win had gone, however with six minutes to play Trevoh Chalobah powered home a header from a corner to give Ipswich a vital win.
The win at Swansea leaves the Suffolk club level on 9 points with Preston and Reading, who occupy the final place above the bottom three, and to within a point of 20th placed Millwall. The significance of that is heightened by the fact that three of Ipswich’s next five games, that could potentially define their season, are against those opponents.
The Tractor Boys face Queens Park Rangers, who are currently 18th in the table on 14 points, at Portman Road on Saturday with Hurst looking for a first home win in charge. That fixture is followed by a trip to 3rd placed Leeds United next Wednesday before a trip to Millwall the following weekend. Ipswich then host Preston before a visit to Reading in the last match before the next international break.
The next five games will therefore be crucial for Hurst and his side as they look to get their season back on track, after a difficult start to life without Mick McCarthy. The win at Swansea highlighted Ipswich’s character and ability to dig in and claim a victory when under pressure, however the performance was for the most part similar to what they have produced so far this season.
If Ipswich can build on the momentum gained by the win at Swansea they should be able to pick up a decent points return from their next five games, and start to ease building fears of relegation and the pressure on Hurst. However, Failure to pick up points and wins in those games will further increase the pressure on Hurst and leave Ipswich with an uphill task to stay up his season.