Ipswich Town: The Championship high-flyers who can’t stop scoring screamers


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The Championship season might be only five months in but Ipswich Town’s Goal of the Season contenders list must easily fill an A4 page.

Town have taken the second tier by storm since their rampant League One promotion and they have scored some wonderful goals along the way.

Whether it’s Harry Clarke’s thunderous strike or Massimo Luongo’s late volley, both against Blackburn Rovers, or Conor Chaplin’s fine finish against Hull City to cap off a rapid attacking move, there have been plenty of goals worthy of the annual award.

But perhaps none so than Town’s second in the 2-1 win over Coventry City.

Wes Burns’ name will remain etched into the history books for the finish. He left Coventry City shot-stopper Brad Collins completely grounded as the Welshman,  Town’s first signing of the American ownership era, used the outside of his right boot to score what Blues boss Kieran McKenna describes as his “favourite” goal since coming to Portman Road almost two years ago.

This was a goal that, like so many others for Town, started right at the back with goalkeeper Vaclav Hladky calmly playing the ball to his defensive teammates. Defensive trio Luke Woolfenden, Harry Clarke and Cameron Burgess moved the ball carefully in a triangle before Chaplin spread it across the pitch to Leif Davis.

[Leif Davis: Ipswich Town defender is most archetypal ‘modern full-back’ there could possibly be]

The Geordie drove forward 24 yards before executing another switch – this time to goalscorer Burns. Clarke’s driving overlapping run pulled Jake Bidwell with him, allowing space for Burns to cut inside against Jamie Allen and exquisitely shoot well beyond Collins from the edge of the box.

In a matter of eight passes, 21 touches and 31 seconds, Town moved the ball from one end of the pitch with the involvement of seven players to being in the back of the Coventry City net. It’s a goal that epitomises they way in which McKenna wants to play.

A beaming McKenna, whose side remain seven points clear of third-placed Leeds United and 17 clear of seventh-placed Blackburn Rovers, said of the goal:

“The second goal is my favourite since I’ve come here. The finish from Wes is incredible but the patience from the players to work it down one side. The players have to be calm, sticking with the principles and execute it at the exact right moment.

“Conor switched it to up the tempo and we had the runners behind when we needed them. We have scored some fantastic team goals, some fantastic individual goals and that was a wonderful balance of both.”

Wes Burns added:

“The boss has hammered me for not using my left foot! I’ve tried it so many times in training and it’s not come off. The space opened up on the left so I cut inside and thought I’d use the outside of my boot that time around.

“They were covering the line quite well. They had obviously done a lot of work on me and Chappers [Conor Chaplin] as they were blocking off the one-twos down the line. The space opened up on the inside and like I say I’ve tried it so many times in training that I thought I’d try it in a game.”

Statisticians at FotMob recorded Burns’ strike as having an xG (expectedGoals) value of just 0.03 – meaning only three per cent of shots would ordinarily be scored in similar circumstances. That’s the second-lowest xG converted strike by an Ipswich Town player this season.

Ipswich Town's lowest five xG strikes as of December 3, 2023

Ipswich Town’s lowest five xG strikes as of December 3, 2023. (Data: FotMob)

But Town are no strangers to scoring some unbelievable goals this season.

According to WhoScored, the Blues average around 5.7 shots from outside the penalty area per 90 minutes, compared to six last year in League One. Just 16 of their 101 promotion-winning goals last term (16%) were from outside the box whereas this year it’s seven of their 41 – a marginal increase to 17 per cent.

McKenna said:

“I would love to say that we have worked on today’s goal by Wes but we can’t take any credit for that. We try to have different threats and ways to score a goal. There’s certain types of goals that we score repetitively.

“We did probably make a conscious reflection that we would need to score more goals from outside the box and that’s why we brought in players like Jack Taylor who have scored a couple of great goals from outside the box. It’s good to have people who have different qualities and can score from different areas. Of course being able to shoot from deep is an important one.”

Burns, Luongo, Nathan Broadhead, Jack Taylor and co have already scored goals worthy of winning the annual award.

There will almost certainly be more to come based on the attacking style that Town deploy – but there will have to be a truly spectacular effort to stop Burns (as well as his teammates in blue) from picking up the award come next summer.


About Author

When not busy covering local news for EssexLive, Matt Lee can be found in the press box at Portman Road covering Ipswich Town's return to the Championship and push for the Premier League.

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