After the takeover, the makeover. Marcus Evans' bid for Ipswich Town is expected to go through after an extraordinary general meeting of the club next week, but the media entrepreneur's arrival will be just the beginning of the changes at Portman Road. According to the manager, Jim Magilton, a major transformation of the playing squad is likely.
Evans' plans include a 12m kitty for Magilton. After his team's meek surrender at The Valley on Saturday, the manager did not hold back when asked if he expected to let a number of players leave come the January transfer window. "If I could and if other clubs want them, yes," he replied. "I want quality, character and people who will stand up and be counted, because I don't have enough of those."
Refusing to blame a flu bug that had laid low some of his squad last week, Magilton said he had been embarrassed by his team's inept display in the first half, which saw Charlton take a 3-0 lead inside 39 minutes. Ipswich have the best home record in the division, having won eight and drawn one of their nine matches, but in 11 matches on the road they have taken only four points. On this evidence you could see why.
Ipswich were second best from the start. Magilton said the display was "totally unacceptable" and was frustrated at the "heap goals" his team gave away. Their second-half revival served only to underline how the problem seems to be one of application rather than ability. Pablo Counago scored a brilliant back-heeled goal from eight yards, Alan Lee wasted a golden chance with a missed penalty and Danny Haynes headed against the bar.
If Ipswich had played a big part in their own downfall, Charlton deserved the fullest praise for the way they took advantage. Alan Pardew's team had lost their previous two games at The Valley but took an immediate stranglehold.
Matt Holland and Andy Reid ran the midfield and Darren Ambrose, scoring his first goals of the season, was a threat throughout. The former Ipswich midfielder's two strikes were of the highest quality, the first a far-post header after Holland's fine overlapping run and cross and the second a thumping shot from the edge of the penalty area.
Pardew described Charlton's first-half display as "sublime". He added: "It's nice to be able to show the fans what we can do. If you haven't got that home form you won't get promotion."
Another key ingredient for success in this division is a strong squad and Charlton's resources will be tested in the coming weeks. Danny Mills and Lloyd Sam both have upcoming suspensions, as does Jonathan Fortune after his dismissal following a clash with Lee after the final whistle. "Jon had a bit of a crazy moment there and it will cost him a fine and his place in the team," Pardew said.
Goals: Ambrose (5) 1-0; Iwelumo (30) 2-0; Ambrose (39) 3-0; Counago (70) 3-1.
Charlton (4-4-2): Weaver; Mills, Sodje, Fortune, Powell (Bougherra, 87); Sam (Semedo, 72), Holland, Zhi, Reid (Varney, 83); Ambrose, Iwelumo. Substitutes not used: Randolph (gk), McLeod.
Ipswich (4-4-2): Alexander; Wright, De Vos, Wilnis, Harding (Sito, 46); Miller, Williams (Counago, 36), Garvan, Roberts (Haynes, 46); Walters, Lee. Substitutes not used: Supple (gk), Trotter.
Referee: N Swarbrick (Lancashire).
Booked: Charlton: Fortune, Mills. Ipswich: De Vos, Wright, Lee.
Sent off: Charlton: Fortune.
Man of the match: Holland.
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