IT was grim to watch, but some survival essentials returned to Huddersfield Town’s game and the point gained may prove incredibly valuable in the long run.
The low quality of football was typical of two sides dogged by their League positions and desperate not to make mistakes.
But boss Mark Robins – who resisted the temptation to start with loan signing Theo Robinson – got a businesslike response to the horrors of 10 goals conceded in his first two matches at the helm and it felt like a step in the right direction.
There was nothing fluent or attractive about Town’s performance overall, but there were moments of inspiration and encouragement and they certainly created the better chances to win the game.
Indeed, Lee Novak and Robinson would, on another day, have had at least a goal apiece and Ipswich keeper Stephen Henderson acquitted himself well under pressure as Town probed to try and force what would have been only a second win in 17 Championship outings.
Town can’t, of course, continue to miss good opportunities in the final 13 games of the season, but at least they are creating them through hard graft and persistence.
Click on the link below to open a picture gallery of match action pictures from the game
Despite the result at Nottingham Forest, Town had four crystal clear openings they failed to take advantage of at the City Ground, so they are making chances, it’s just the sharpness of finishing that has to improve.
Two things, particularly, were pleasing to see against an Ipswich side who set up with two very solid banks of four in defence.
Firstly, Town tracked back far more efficiently than they have done in some recent matches and it meant for a much less active afternoon for goalkeeper Alex Smithies, who was very vocal in his direction of the back four.
Secondly, Robins’ selection didn’t lose their shape despite him trying to force the win with the introduction of three pacy substitutes in the second half – Robinson, Sean Scannell and Jack Hunt, the latter operating on the right wing and producing a venomous late shot which Henderson did well to hold.
There seemed to be a genuine resolve, too, that enough was enough and the team were going to stop shipping goals.
It was illustrated in exemplary fashion by skipper Peter Clarke, a professional who has been a credit to the blue and white striped shirt since he first pulled it over his head three years ago.
Right from the start, when he booted one clearance onto the main stand roof as if to make a point, he was going to ensure Ipswich maintained their record of scoring the fewest goals in the Championship, 12, on their travels this season.