After a frustrating first month of the new season, Ipswich Town have taken maximum points from their home games in September and now sit in ninth, five points outside the play-off places.
Ipswich started the month with two winnable home games against Middlesbrough and Yeovil Town. They fell behind against Middlesbrough thanks to an Albert Adomah volley and were second-best for most of the first half, but the game turned when David McGoldrick struck from 25 yards about then minutes before the break. A Luke Chambers header and another from McGoldrick at the death earned a well-deserved win.
The midweek fixture against Yeovil was expected to be an easier match, but Mick McCarthy rightly warned against complacency in the lead-up to the game. Joel Grant gave the visitors a shock lead just before the break, but early second-half goals from Daryl Murphy and Aaron Cresswell turned the match around. Ipswich had control of the match thereafter but couldn’t kill the game off, and Dean Gerken had to make a smart save in stoppage time to stop Yeovil taking a point.
Ipswich then travelled up to Wigan Athletic, the third time they had played a newly-relegated side away from home already this season. Ipswich were on top throughout but couldn’t take their chances, whilst Wigan took advantage of mistakes at the other end. Ryan Shotton was left unmarked at a corner and he headed home, then Nick Powell sealed the win after a Dean Gerken howler.
The final game of the month was a potentially tricky home match against Brighton and Hove Albion. Ipswich controlled the game throughout, not allowing their opponents a single shot on target, and two David McGoldrick goals in the first half won the match.
Ipswich’s home record under Mick McCarthy has been superb, losing just four of the 21 home league matches since he took over in November last year. Good home form is always the basis for a promotion push, and four wins from the first five home games is an excellent start, though it should be noted that none of the top Championship sides have visited Portman Road yet.
It has been a different story on the road, with only one point from four games. In their defence, the three defeats were at the newly-relegated sides, and the match at Wigan should never have ended in defeat. There are a few lingering concerns about Ipswich’s ability to find the back of the net. David McGoldrick has been in superb form and four different defenders have scored already this season, but Daryl Murphy’s performances have been patchy and no other striker is pushing hard for a place. Paul Taylor has been loaned out to Peterborough to get more minutes under his belt, leaving Ipswich with Frank Nouble, veteran Alan Lee and youngster Jack Marriott as the other options up front. The midfield will need to chip in with more goals if Ipswich hope to push a play-off place at the end of the season.
The rest of the side has been stable throughout the month. Christophe Berra has shown himself to be a commanding figure at the back, with Luke Chambers looking increasingly solid at right-back. The defence has perhaps not kept as many clean sheets as they would have liked, but they are performing fairly well as a unit. Ryan Tunnicliffe has impressed on the left side of midfield with his work rate and confidence on the ball, and Cole Skuse is already a crucial part of the midfield.
Dean Gerken came in for Scott Loach before the Birmingham game and has done well, other than the terrible mistake which led to Wigan’s second goal. This position is still up for grabs, as is the right midfield slot, though Paul Anderson seems to be first choice for that role at the moment.
With three winnable away fixtures coming up in October, along with the home game against in-form Burnley, Ipswich could be knocking on the door of the top six at the end of the month if things go to plan.