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Ipswich Town boss Kieran McKenna reflects on 'important three points' at Forest Green Rovers



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Kieran McKenna saw 'lots of good things' as his Ipswich Town side earned their first three points of the Sky Bet League One season with a 2-1 victory at newly-promoted Forest Green Rovers.

New signing Marcus Harness opened his Blues account in the 37th minute with a powerful effort to break the deadlock in Gloucestershire and captain Sam Morsy's great 25-yard strike doubled the advantage four minutes into first-half stoppage time.

Josh March pulled a goal back after the break but Town were able to see out the remaining 35 minutes, nine of those coming in the form of stoppage-time, to claim the win from the club;s first trip to The New Lawn.

Kieran McKenna oversaw a first victory of the season as Ipswich Town defeated Forest Green Rovers 2-1 Picture: Barry Goodwin
Kieran McKenna oversaw a first victory of the season as Ipswich Town defeated Forest Green Rovers 2-1 Picture: Barry Goodwin

"It was an important three points, obviously, not an easy place to come actually, I think teams will drop points here," McKenna told BBC Radio Suffolk's Brenner Woolley.

"They have got some good things as a team, their home record last year was good and I think they will pick up points again here.

"For us I thought there were lots of good things about the performance.

"We put ourselves in a very good position with two very good goals.

"The first goal was a very good team goal, the second goal was obviously a lovely finish from Sam.

"We went in at half-time in a very good position.

"I guess the bit of the game we're most disappointed with is the build-up to their goal, I think it's something we need to improve on urgently and understand why that happened.

"we obviously allowed them back in it but that can happen in this league and to be fair after Christian (Walton) made a double save I thought we saw out the last 20 minutes, including (the) extra time, out really well.

"I thought we showed good resilience in that spell and saw things off like we needed to do. To be fair I thought in the end it was only ever us that was going to score an extra goal.

"There are things to build on and things to improve but very important to take the points at this early stage and we move on to next week."

Marcus Harness, who signed for Ipswich Town from Portsmouth, scored the opening goal at Forest Green Rovers Picture: ITFC
Marcus Harness, who signed for Ipswich Town from Portsmouth, scored the opening goal at Forest Green Rovers Picture: ITFC

Put to him that the goal will have done former Portsmouth man Harness the world of good, he replied: "Definitely, yes, he is really instinctive in the box, shoots off both feet with good power.

"Yes, it will obviously help him with his settling in period. I think he has improved with that this week, definitely, and is hopefully going to get stronger by the week.

"It was a good finish by Sam as well, he had a couple of other chances and he looked a threat."

Asked if Morsy, whose late chance was saved as the Blues drew their Portman Road opener 1-1 with Bolton Wanderers last weekend, can contribute regularly this season, he was in no doubt.

"Yes, he has the attributes to do it. He certainly has the running power to do it and our set-up allows him the freedom to really get ahead of the ball and their midfield," he said.

"Sometimes he is our second highest player arriving on our crosses so yes, he is hard to pick up, he's a threat and he's improving - he still has room to improve in his game."

With positives from the performance last weekend it was put to him that it must be nice to get the first win on the board this time around.

"Yes it is," he said, "look, performance-wise it is two wins but obviously you have to put the ball in the net more than the opposition and we didn't manage to do that last week.

"I think after not getting the win last weekend that we probably thought we merited it was important to get it today.

"It was good to get a couple of goals, again, we have to be more clinical and keep improving.

"I thought we should have had more than two, in the second half certainly, but it's good to get the three points and is important for the group, especially with new players bedding in. It's important to get that new feeling of a win on the road."

McKenna made one enforced change to the side that started against Bolton with Cameron Burgess coming in for centre-back Luke Woolfenden, who he confirmed had a sickness bug that had also prevented Rekeem Harper from being named on the bench again.

And the Town boss was pleased with what he got from Burgess this afternoon.

He said: "Cameron's shown before he is ready to step into the team and will do so at different times of the season, not just when there's illness. He is a very capable centre-back.

"Yes, he stepped in well and other than that I wanted to build some consistency in the group at the moment. Obviously we've got new players bedding in but the best way to do that is to play games and build up.

"There is good competition now, obviously there are going to be lots of changes for Tuesday night and it is a chance for those boys to go and get minutes, go make an impression and help us try to win a game as well as competing to get as many minutes as they can."

Town host Colchester United in the opening round of the Carabao Cup on Tuesday looking to improve on a poor recent record in the League Cup competition.

Forest Green: McGee, O'Keeffe, Cargill, Stevenson (Robertson 61'), Hendry, Matt (C), Moore-Taylor (Casey 87'), McAllister (Little 61'), Godwin-Malife (Bernard 26'), Davis (March 46'), Brown.

Subs: Thomas, Bunker.

Booked: Stevenson, Brown.

Ipswich Town: Walton, Donacien, Edmundson, Burgess, Burns (Vincent-Young 84'), Evans, Morsy (C), Davis (Leigh 68'), Chaplin (Aluko 70'), Harness (John-Jules 70'), Ladapo (Jackson 84').

Subs: Hladky, Edwards.

Booked: Burgess.