Birmingham City drew 2-2 against Ipswich Town at St. Andrew’s on Saturday afternoon, despite having gone two goals to the good.
Blues’ bright start to Wayne Rooney’s second home game in charge was awarded with a goal less than 15 minutes into proceedings, the exact response the 38-year-old was looking for after their 4-1 defeat last weekend to Southampton. Juninho Bacuna’s deflected effort arrived at the outstretched boot of Jay Stansfield, who calmly took a touch to create an extra yard of space, firing past a swarm of Ipswich bodies to give the home side an early lead.
The visitor’s lacklustre first half continued to worsen after the break, with a sliding Cameron Burgess turning the ball into the back of his own net. A threaded through ball, courtesy of Oli Burke, found Bacuna on the left-hand side, who’s driven cross proved too tricky to for the unfortunate defender to deal with, deservedly doubling Blues’ lead.
However, the afternoon’s events were about to take a turn for the worse for Rooney and his men, with substitute Marcus Harness fuelling the fire for Ipswich’s comeback. Dane Scarlett’s driven cross into the box met Freddie Ladapo, John Ruddy kept out the substitute’s attempt on goal, but the 27-year-old was their pounce on the rebound, bringing the away side’s deficit down to one.
This one goal deficit wouldn’t last long to the frustrations of the St. Andrew’s faithful, with Harness once again finding the back of the net. After Ruddy’s initial save from Ladapo’s glancing header, the ball slowly floated out towards the right boot of the potent striker, whose volley on the turn nestled into the bottom right-hand corner, sending the travelling Tractor Boy’s into pandemonium.
Speaking to Blues Focus post-match, Rooney reflected on what was a positive performance, despite the disappointing late turn of events.
“I’m disappointed with the result in the end having been two goals up, but there were a lot of positives in today’s game.
“I thought the energy, and the way we communicated on the pitch was much better, as well as playing on the front foot and being hard to beat, making it difficult for Ipswich to play against us.
“I’ll take the positives and work on the stuff we need to work on.”
Despite the encouraging aspects, Rooney touched on his disappointment with the performances of some of the substituted players, and the impact Ipswich’s changes had on their comeback.
“Their substitutes made a difference, and I felt ours didn’t.
“Some of the lads who came on off the bench didn’t do enough, if you’re not in the starting eleven you need to be ready to come on.”
The manager also touched on his want to include as many of the young players as he can, which was made apparent when 16-year-old Romelle Donovan came on in Blues’ previous home a game against Hull.
“I’m a coach who loves developing younger players, we had Romelle (Donovan) come on a week ago, and he was too on the bench against Southampton.
“We have to manage them correctly of course, and make sure they have the right opportunities at the right times.
“It’s important to build them up both physically and mentally in training, so the young players will be a big part of what we want to do moving forward.”
Rooney will look to pick up his first win as manager when they travel to the Stadium of Light next Saturday to take on 8th place Sunderland, kick-off 3pm.
Tune into our vlog from the game below:
YouTube: LATE IPSWICH COMEBACK | Birmingham City 2-2 Ipswich Town | Blues Focus Matchday Vlog #014