Blues 1 Ipswich Town 0
A fortnight ago, Blues approached four potentially season-defining games. I recall writing on this very website that a return of six points was the absolute minimum requirement.
The 3-0 win against Hull coupled with today’s 1-0 victory against Ipswich means Blues have already hit that minimum target.
If successive home wins and clean sheets aren’t enough to please then climbing out of the bottom three should see a smile appear on the face of even the most pessimistic of fans.
For what it’s worth, today’s victory was a slog – a real Championship battle. An even game was split when Jacques Maghoma was sent to ground and Jota coolly converted the resulting spot kick.
It was just about what Blues had deserved up until that point. But Ipswich, who had won at St. Andrews only once in their last 17 attempts before today, were never going to lie down.
The back four stood strong and had to overcome some nervy moments. While you won’t find me faulting a single player, one player deserves a special mention for he was the glue that held everything together.
Whenever Ipswich ventured forward, they found a Harlee Dean shaped wall in their way. Tackles, headers, blocks…you name it. It was arguably Dean’s best performance in a Blues shirt.
Alongside the previously criticised Michael Morrison, Garry Monk seems to have found a settled back line. Maxime Colin continues to perform well on his weaker left side and Wes Harding hasn’t done much wrong since forcing his way in the team.
Prior to this game, Ipswich announced that Mick McCarthy will stand down at the end of the season. To be fair, his players battled for him and, but for a penalty, there was very little to separate the sides.
Blues travel to Bolton on Tuesday night backed by nearly 5,000 fans before returning to home soil to host bottom-placed Burton Albion next Saturday.
Winning even one of the two will stand them in good stead in their battle to beat the drop. But let’s not rest on our laurels as football has a nasty habit of biting you in the arse when you least expect it.
For now, though, let’s just enjoy this win. Mine’s a pint!
Vital Blues Man of the Match: Harlee Dean