15-03-2011: Ipswich Town 0 Watford 3 (NPower Championship) Portman Road, Ipswich, Suffolk
While this was another home performance that fell way short of expectations – expectation levels that have been set considerably higher since the arrival of Paul Jewell – and the third loss in a row at Portman Road, there were still brief moments during the game when you could see the direction that the new manager is trying to take us in, enough encouraging signs for me to not come away from the ground completely disheartened.
A comedy of errors led to Town gifting Watford the lead inside three minutes but the Blues had enough chances to level, and even take the lead as the first half progressed. Gareth McAuley had an attempt cleared off the line, penalty appeals after Adrian Mariappa handled in the area were waved away, Jimmy Bullard’s free-kick whizzed inches over the bar, McAuley headed against an upright, and on and on.
Kieron Dyer joined the fray ten minutes into the second period, to make his first home appearance in a Blue and White since May 1999, but that was about all we had to cheer after half-time as Watford added a further two goals.
For me the honeymoon period is still very much on for Jewell but this was another performance that illustrated the magnitude of the task that he faces in turning this squad into one that can seriously challenge for promotion next season. He can only work with what the previous incumbent left behind after all.