When you are realising that League One is much harder than anticipated, and the games are coming thick and fast, finding your feet amidst a crowd full of unrest is not easy.
Under two minutes into the game at Portman Road, Will Keane takes a touch six yards out with just the keeper to beat, the defender recovers in that time to block, and the feeling in the stands is uneasy once more. Then, Burton break, catch Gwion Edwards and the usually sharp Luke Woolfenden at odds, Jamie Murphy slots past a wrong-footed statue resembling Tomas Holy which equals the usual, resigned groans from those that have seen this too many times before.
In the last 18 months, this would usually spell disaster for Ipswich but with Storm Dennis purchasing tickets to get in and affect the game, Alan Judge rattles the bar.
Ipswich picked themselves up, dusted themselves down and decided to go for it. Suddenly, wave after waves of attacks: Jackson, Keane, Judge are all involved. When Alan Judge goes through for another attempt both he and Burton’s keeper slip, and the ball ricochets upward.
The crowd decide it is bouncing wide, but the groan is quickly absorbed by a cheer; it’s in! Alan Judge is throwing his boot at the dug-out, not in anger but more to do with a “new boots” comment from the gaffer.
Japanese Rock Band ‘One OK Rock’ was in the corporate section to witness the spectacle that I am sure they especially travelled over for. The equaliser brought them and their Suffolk-based Guitar playing pal to their feet.
Ipswich are on the rise, at least in this game, and with moments left in the first half, Tomas Holy long kicks 3/4 of the pitch for a deft flick and Kayden Jackson to take a real poacher’s touch. He takes it past the onrushing keeper and, suddenly, it is 2-1. Additionally, Burton had to sub ‘Keeper O’Hara due to the collision.
A positive Portman Road cheered the team off. Chants of ‘Holy’ for his assist ringing out, the big man acknowledging his fan club.
The second half was to begin how the first ended, Ipswich came out for the kill, and it took just seven minutes for Kayden Jackson to score the third with a low head before Judge squeezed a fourth past sub keeper Garrett just after the hour.
The scoreline was not to change but, in truth, the frontline had plenty of chances to add to the tally. Jackson spurned a one-on-one, sub Bishop released a traction-engine of a boot through an 18-yarder and the ‘returning from long-term injury Sears’ had a couple of digs in the dying moments. Even the famously non-attacking Cole Skuse found himself in ‘nosebleed country’ at one point. With the crowd calling ‘Shoot!’ there was almost a moment where the silver-haired CDM considered it.
Burton did not give in, recording a late effort to flutter a few hearts in the rather cold and wet stands, 177 Burtonians had to leave Suffolk with nothing but potential colds. However, the Tractor Boys claimed the points and thus keep in touch with the tight pack at the summit of League One.