Kieran McKenna delighted with first victory as Ipswich boss against Wycombe

Posted Thursday, December 30, 2021 by PA

Kieran McKenna delighted with first victory as Ipswich boss against Wycombe

New Ipswich boss Kieran McKenna could not conceal his delight at making a winning start to his career in management as his team secured a 1-0 win over high-flying Wycombe in his first game in charge.

The 35-year-old, who left his role as Manchester United first-team coach to replace the axed Paul Cook, saw James Norwood’s fluke goal just before the break clinch all three points.

Norwood was as surprised as anyone when Wycombe goalkeeper David Stockdale pushed the ball out and it rebounded off the striker and over the line.

McKenna admitted: “Obviously the three points are really important and some of the aspects of the performance were really pleasing.

“It gives everyone in the group a boost and hopefully gives us a good base from which to build going forward.

“We did the grisly bits of the game well. Wycombe made it a tough game the way they play and we had to defend our box well.

“To get a clean sheet from this type of game is another boost and I was pleased with the way we controlled the game early on.

“The most pleasing thing was the resilience, character and spirit of the team.”

Norwood has been a prolific marksman throughout his career and was the Tractor Boys’ top scorer in each of his first two seasons at Portman Road.

But things turned sour in the current campaign when he was exiled to the under-23 squad by Cook before his dismissal earlier this month.

Interim boss John McGreal brought him in from the cold and he has now netted three goals in as many games since being given a reprieve.

But the goals have dried up for co-striker Macauley Bonne has now gone 10 games without finding the net.

The on-loan QPR player, who has 11 league goals to his name, looked desperate to end his long wait to score.

He had the ball in the net early on from Sone Aluko’s cross but the goal was ruled out for offside and a flying header was kept out by Stockdale’s superb save.

Norwood’s goal, however fortunate, separated the sides at the interval and on the hour mark he was put through, only to fire wide.

The visitors, unbeaten in their previous five league games, finally threatened as striker Brandon Hanlan found space in the box but his effort flew over.

As Wycombe continued to search for an equaliser defender Anthony Stewart had a great chance in the 88th minute but ballooned his shot yards over from close range.

Then right at the death Ipswich should have added a second goal when substitute Conor Chaplin was in the clear but he saw his effort crash back off the far post.

Wycombe boss Gareth Ainsworth was absent after testing positive for Covid but was able to follow the action at home.

Assistant manager Richard Dobson said: “Gareth was in touch via our analysts but he trusted us to get on with it.

“It was obviously an unfortunate goal from our perspective but we restricted Ipswich to very little in the second half.

“There were a few positives from our point of view, like Josh Scowen coming back from injury. He’s a really important player for us.

“He was only on for half an hour but he showed how he links things up and we’re looking for him to make a huge contribution during the second half of the season.”


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