Ipswich boss Paul Cook said his new-look team need “time to grow” after their 2-2 draw with newly-promoted Morecambe at Portman Road.
The Blues, who gave debuts to eight players following a busy summer in the transfer market, twice came from behind and grabbed a last-gasp equaliser through substitute Macauley Bonne after Scott Fraser had levelled for the Tractor Boys.
Morecambe gave an excellent account of themselves in their first-ever Sky Bet League One encounter, with Cole Stockton’s brace nearly handing the Shrimps all three points.
But both teams had to settle for a point from an entertaining game, which saw 21,037 fans back at Portman Road after Covid-19 restrictions were lifted.
Cook said: “We’re new, we’re just brand new. We’ve got players arriving at the training ground yesterday, we’ve got medicals going on, we’ve got our players looking at new cars in the car park. We’ve got to be given that time to grow.
“I think the first goal showed the quality that we might possess in terms of opening Morecambe up and scoring an amazing goal – then we give them the softest goal you’ll ever see.
“Pleased not to get beat, up-and-running, delighted with our supporters, I thought the atmosphere was electric and we move on to the next game.”
Cook said he was disappointed in the manner of the goals the Tractor Boys gave away.
“We’ve given poor goals away, in terms of chances and shots, Morecambe had very little but credit to Morecambe in the game. They certainly came with a game plan and the game plan, probably for long spells, worked,” he said.
“But you’ve seen a moment of quality, especially with our first goal, how we can open teams up but we’ve got to get those flair players the ball.”
Cook also heaped praise on Ipswich-born Bonne, who came off the bench to earn the Blues a point in stoppage time.
“Massive praise for Macauley Bonne, he’s a massive Ipswich Town fan and to score a goal like that deep into stoppage time in front of your supporters and your own people must be an amazing feeling and that will stay with Macauley… and his family were all here watching. Probably should have got him on earlier, he’ll be telling me!”
Morecambe manager Stephen Robinson said he was disappointed not to win the game following his side’s performance.
“We’ve come away disappointed,” he said. “It was one big punt up the pitch which cost us at the end, so the nature of the goal is disappointing. But the performance itself, I thought we were very well organised.
“Can we be better? We’re a good footballing side. I thought at times when we broke, we made the wrong decisions but there was a lot of good stuff.
“To come to a place like Portman Road, favourites for the league, and to be minutes away from three points, tells you how far we’ve come.”
Robinson said his players will take confidence from the performance and result in front of a big Portman Road crowd.
“We were unlucky not to get three points but I think, as a whole, that will give them a lot of belief in how good they are,” he added.
“Some of them have only played at League Two level so it’s about building that momentum, we got 16 new players so after four weeks they can be very proud of themselves for taking that information on board and carrying it out.
“Ipswich are a good side, they knock the ball about really well and you see the subs that they make, the choice they’ve got in depth and that’s what we probably lack.”