Five talking points from Ipswich (away)

Michael Jacobs
Michael Jacobs

1. Wigan Athletic’s problems are even deeper than we thought.

Latics already needed snookers to avoid the drop into League One, heading into the game at Portman Road. After another abject display across the park - save for goalkeeper Matt Gilks, substitute Alex Gilbey and the busy Michael Jacobs - they virtually put the cue back in the rack. To say the performance left interim boss Graham Barrow frustrated would be an understatement. Add to that list angry, disgusted, let-down, embarrassed...

2. Alex Gilbey looks like being a shining light for Wigan Athletic regardless of which division they’ll be in next season. The 22-year-old midfielder was the stand-out man in pre-season and the opening few weeks of the campaign, before being cut down by a serious ankle problem. After five months out, he’s back in the fold and impressed during a sparkling second-half cameo, when he did everything he could to spark Latics into life. Indeed, he could have had a hat-trick on another night, had it not been for......

3. ......Town goalkeeper Bartosz Bialkowski, who underlined his credentials as a formidable last line of defence. The big Pole was labelled ‘the best goalkeeper in the Championship’ by his manager, Mick McCarthy, after Ipswich’s 3-2 win at the DW Stadium in December. He was even more impressive at Portman Road, denying Gilbey a hat-trick in the second half alone with remarkable goalkeeping. Turns out Bialkowski impressed during a trial spell with Latics in 2005 and wanted to sign, before a disagreement over agents’ fees scuppered the deal. Great.

4. Mick McCarthy is an absolute legend. As a defender, the gruff Yorkshireman went about his work with minimum fuss, not bothered in the slightest about what others thought or felt. Thankfully, he’s taken the same refreshing approach into management, and says exactly what’s on his mind. It’s not all been plain sailing of late for big Mick, with the Town faithful unhappy about a run of results that had seen them slip to the fringes of the relegation dogfight. He was asked after the game whether the mood had lightened somewhat among the supporters. The reply was priceless. “Free pies, free pints, happy clappers. It’s all b****cks. Wins make fans happy.” Quite.

5. Ipswich is a long way away! One, admittedly very minor, positive during the long drive home was the fact we probably won’t be subjected to another Tuesday night trek down to deepest Suffolk in midweek to sit through 90 minutes of pure torture next season. The 176 Latics fans who made the 500-mile trip either deserve a medal or their heads testing - quite probably both. They all deserved better, much better, than the performance they were treated to on the pitch, as Graham Barrow was quick to point out after the game.