George Johnston says Wanderers showed their ability to do “the ugly side” of the game well in their 1-1 draw with Ipswich at Portman Road.

The Whites were under pressure during the second half and had to dig in and be resilient to ensure they would return to the North West with a point.

Johnston is pleased with the result against one of the early favourites for promotion and felt they defended well as a unit.

“Overall, a good point on the road. I think we defended as a team quite well,” said the defender.

“In possession, we weren’t our usual selves but we aren’t going to be able to play our usual stuff everywhere we go.

“It is just about finding a way to get a goal and stuff. But we have got things to improve on now and we know what we need to improve on going into next week.

“(It is) always tough coming here and we know they have got good players. We knew what we were coming up against and we had a strategy to deal with it.

“We can rely on big Rico (Santos) behind us. We went man-for-man, which I think for the first 30, 35 minutes especially caused them problems, and on the back of that we had a few counter-attacks.

“But second half we were a bit ragged. They pulled us apart a bit. But that is when we have to regroup and we just defended for our lives towards the end.”

Aaron Morley put Wanderers in front with a cool penalty midway through the first half, but the hosts hit back through Lee Evans’ effort before half-time.

“I feel we know how to deal with these things better now,” Johnston added. “The first goal is massive – it silences the crowd and puts us on the front foot.

“From when we got the first goal until when they scored, we were kind of controlling the game.

“Obviously, it is disappointing to concede from a set-piece and from then until half-time it kind of wobbled us.

“But we regrouped inside, talked about it and came back out. It is just a good point at the end of the day.

“When we come to places like this with big crowds, big atmospheres, we want to put on a good display and show what we are capable of.

“Did we do that in possession? Probably not today. But out of possession we have shown what a dangerous team we can be – winning the ball back high and counter attacking, and then being solid at the back.”

Ian Evatt described at it one of the hardest games of the season on paper prior to kick-off, and Johnston felt they handled the occasion well in front of more than 25,000 home supporters.

“It is a mental thing as much as a technical, physical thing. We are not going to come and play good, free-flowing football all the time,” the defender explained.

“You have got to think about how we are going to win the game in other ways, and that might be doing the ugly stuff well and winning second balls.

“Especially the first 30, 35 minutes, I think we dominated the second balls. If we went long to Dion and Dapo, they would make a scrap out of it but if they didn’t win it, MJ and Aaron and Kieran were there to pick up the second balls.

“There are different ways to win games, which we didn’t always realise on the pitch last year but this year that is something we have definitely got to improve on.

“We didn’t want to get turned over. We wanted to come here and showcase what we are about.

“Coming in, we weren’t nervous. If anything, we thought they would probably be more nervous than us so we came here and tried to do what we wanted to do.” 

Johnston was part of the squad that headed to Portugal during pre-season and hopes the hard yards will pay off in the coming weeks and months.

“It is the toughest pre-season that I have ever been part of, and I think all of the lads will agree with me on that,” he added.

“We have ran more than we have ever ran before, but that is only going to benefit us in the long run.”