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A Blues fan for almost 20 years, I am living the dream as Ipswich Town Writer for the East Anglian Daily Times and Evening Star.
Tue, Sep 20 2011 11:08 AM
HANDS up who agreed with Paul Jewell's starting line-up?
I don't mean at 10pm when Town fans were finally able to enjoy a night on the telly, a clean sheet and umpteen chances which ended in three goals.
Let me take you back a few hours when news broke that Jewell was starting with four central midfielders across the park.
Lee Bowyer, Jimmy Bullard, Grant Leadbitter and Keith Andrews were given the nod as eyebrows were raised, heads were scratched over where the width would come from.
But all fears evaporated after a scintillating 25 minutes of fast, fluid football. Well in truth, it was 18 minutes as Town only really got going thanks to Martin Crainie's moment-of-madness own goal with seven on the clock.
From then on, a sea of blue washed over the Sky Blues as the midfield quartet simply controlled the game. The narrow nature of the foursome allowed Aaron Cresswell and Carlos Edwards to bomb forward and Jewell got his tactics spot on for really the first time this season.
What the manager also called correctly was his handling of skipper Grant Leadbitter.
Many Town fans had called for the captain to be rested and who could blame them after a series of insipid displays, this season and last.
Manfully trying to do a job at both left and right midfield in weeks gone by, Leadbitter was restored to his favoured position against Coventry and finally shone.
It must have been a real confidence boost to the notoriously shy 25-year-old for Jewell to plump for him in the attacking peak of a diamond midfield with Bowyer on the left and Andrews on the right.
He certainly looked rejuventated, constantly making lung-busting runs forward and knitting passes together with intelligence and simplicity.
There has been a lot said about the age of Jewell's new-look Blues. But one thing this Dad's Army can do is control the tempo of matches, and Leadbitter was at the hub of that as Coventry were often left chasing shadows.
Bullard and Andrews' novel way of deciding who takes free kicks understandably got the headlines along with Cresswell's magnificent performance at both ends of the pitch.
But Leadbitter also answered a few critics with one of his best performances ever in a Town shirt - certainly rivalling his form when he first signed from Sunderland.
Now he, and his team mates, need to keep it going.
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