Embarrasing City were lucky to claim a point against an impressive Ipswich side that must be wondering how on earth they are leaving the West Country with only a point.
Bizarrely, Johnson chose only to make two changes from the shambles that was last week. Liam Fontaine and Lewin Nyatanga came in for Carey and McCombe with Jamie McAllister taking the captain’s armband. The two changes unbalanced us further as both left-footers were played in the two centre-back spots.
And so it began, inside a subdued and sparsley full Ashton Gate.
The Tractor Boys, fresh from their first away win at Cardiff last weekend, were the first to show intent with Fontaine denying lazy ex-City loanee Stern John from tucking in a rebound following a Grant Leadbitter long ranger.
Gareth McAuley somehow contrived to head wide from the resultant corner after finding himself unmarked in acres of space.
Livewire target-man Jon Stead then tested Gerken with a curler from the edge of the box on 10 minutes which our keeper tipped wide before Owen Garvan clipped the angle of post and bar with a rasping drive.
Walters sent Stead racing clear again on 21 with Gerken doing well to keep out low to his right-hand side.
It was all Ipswich until talisman Paul Hartley narrowly curled over from 20-yards in first-half stoppage time.
The Suffolk side flew out of the traps in the second period with Jon Walters sending Garvan’s centre just off target and Stead warming Gerken’s gloves from distance.
Alan Quinn then had another glorious chance from the edge of the box after finding City’s defence all at sea but, once again, Gerken saved the day.
Evander Sno, wasting away in left midfield, brilliantly chested down a high ball for ex-Tractor Boy Danny Haynes who could only fire his left-footed drive against the post.
Maynard was afforded his only clear sight of goal when Hartley’s corner found him unmarked at the back stick only for the striker to make a complete hash of it with some sort of head and knee combo as the ball skipped up off the skiddy surface.
But in the 62nd minute, Maynard played in Sno, who drove in off the wing, before sliding through Haynes, whose luck was clearly out as he saw his angled shot hit the other post.
Haynes was required to defend 5 minutes later as Leadbitter’s effort squirmed away from Gerken following a corner only for the striker to hack away off the line.
Walters headed straight at Gerken from ex-City youngster Liam Rosenior’s right-wing cross before Ivan Sproule was eventually introduced to provide much-needed width on the right flank.
But Ipswich continued to press ahead against the lacklusture Robins as Colback fired a 30-yarder low to Gerken’s left. The ex-Colchester stopper did brilliantly to get up and smother at Ipswich sub Paulo Counago’s feet, as the Spaniard looked poised to poke home.
CITY 4-4-2: Gerken, Skuse, Fontaine, Nyatanga, McAllister, Elliott (Sproule 74), Hartley, Johnson, Sno (Clarkson 84), Haynes (Saborio 84), Maynard.
IPSWICH 4-4-2: Lee-Barrett, Rosenior, McAuley, Delaney, Wright, Walters, Leadbitter, Garvan, Quinn (Colback 79), John (Counago 57), Stead (Edwards 69).
REFEREE: Master Tony Bates (Staffordshire)
Dean Gerken 8
Cole Skuse 6
Neat and tidy after being played out of position again. Struggled at times but that’s to be expected when deployed in an unfamiliar position.
Jamie McAllister 5
Defended well but was poor going forward as his crossing and delivery was often array.
Liam Fontaine 6
If he’s going to be picked, it has to be as a left-sided centre-half unlike today. Defended soundly enough.
Lewin Nyatanga 6
Not at his best and struggled to deal with the lively off-the-ball movement of the impressive Jon Stead.
Marvin Elliott 5
Another one played out of position and another one who subsequently struggled. He, understandably being a central midfielder, rarely provided any width.
Evander Sno 7
As above, played out of position on the left wing but did well in containing the ball and having the eye for a defence-splitting pass. The sooner he’s in the middle, the better.
Lee Johnson 3
Awful today. Only made two tackles all game and squandered our best chance towards the end of the game. Was astonished to see him remain on the pitch for the whole 90 minutes.
Paul Hartley 7
Led from the front again and was the only natural leader on the pitch. Tireless work-rate and produced some good dead ball’s.
Nicky Maynard 5
Starved of any sort of service what-so-ever and suffered as a result. Didn’t have a single sniff on goal throughout.
Danny Haynes 7
Looked lively again and was unlucky in hitting the post twice in the second half. Needs to get his head up more often though.
Ivan Sproule 6
He’s a trier but why give him only 15 minutes at the end? Provided width and was a much-needed outlet. Crossing was poor though.
David Clarkson 6
At last! Showed a few promising glimpses of his obvious ability. Needs to be given a run in the team.
Did sod all when he came on. Offered nothing.
GARY JOHNSON – 1/10
Abysmal and has to take responsibility for this. As said last week, he’s learnt nothing from the previous game and actually claimed we played well! What game was he watching? Too narrow and shocking substitutions.
ROY KEANE – 7/10
Had his team organised and was tactically spot on. Made subs to affect the game and came for the win which, on another day, they’d have had a hatful.
Rubbish, Just Rubbish!
New lows were achieved today. We were absolutely dire again, too narrow again and totally outplayed by an Ipswich side that surely won’t hang around the bottom for too long on this performance. The only plus was that somehow, we escaped with a totally undeserved point.
Has Johnson Reached The End?
The football is mind-numbingly boring. The tactics are baffling, to say the least. The team selection and subs reak of ignorance and stupidty.
This isn’t just a one-off. This has been going on for months now. We’re drifting down the table despite him being backed well in the transfer market.
We have the best squad we’ve ever had, even if it is an unbalanced one, yet we’ve a manager who doesn’t know how to get the best out of them.
All players have a limit on their ability which they reach when they’ve fulfilled their potential at whatever level. Managers should be no different.