The View From Churchmans

Ipswich Town home match reports from just another season-ticket holder


Ipswich Town 1 Leeds Utd 0

A game of two halves: in the first, we were relatively uninspired and Leeds
looked to be perhaps the strongest team we’ve seen at Portman Road this
season. In the second, we came alive, possibly due to an enforced change in
formation (or possibly due to whatever was said at half-time), and Leeds
couldn’t cope. It was perhaps fortunate that they were hampered by having
the completely static Brian Deane up front, which meant we started the
second half on level terms and with the chance to build things without
chasing the game. In contrast to some good movement around him, Deane failed
to move faster than a trot until a single run in the 72nd minute, and he
barely jumped for the ball all afternoon either (although by not doing so,
he kept winning free kicks from a gullible ref who didn’t believe either of
our centre-halves could rise so effortlessly above him, fairly).

For our part, the first half is best forgotten. Most of our woes stemmed
from Diallo putting in quite the worst 45 minutes any of our players have
put in this season. De Vos lost all confidence in him, and was constantly
hauled out of position trying to get over and cover, leaving a massive hole
in the centre on numerous occasions. Magilton, today’s unfortunate recipient
of the order to play on the wide-right-midfield position we never seem to be
able to fill, just seemed confused by Diallo’s antics, and all in all, the
whole midfield seemed to lose cohesion.

Miller was unable to continue much past half-time, but as ever with our
paper-thin squad, when a midfielder goes missing, we have to completely
reorganise, as Joe reckons we’ve only got four midfielders he thinks are
good enough for the first-team. Fortunately on this occasion, a switch to a
seasonal 4-3-2-1 Christmas Tree formation transformed the game. By attacking
the flanks with Bent and Bowditch, we stopped Leeds’ full-backs from coming
forward, and their whole game, it turns out, is based on that. The flowing
passing movement reappeared, and we had more chances than the single scrappy
goal suggests. Overall, we were pretty good value for the three points, and
we really shouldn’t fear anyone on this form.

Some ratings:
(1-5 for effort, 1-5 for achievement)

DAVIS 5 (2/3): On the plus side, a clean sheet, good positioning, and a
couple of pretty decent stops. On the negative side, some uncharacteristic
flapping and punching at times, and consistently poor kicking. No, make that
very poor. Then this fantastic throw appears: where did that come from?

DIALLO 3 (2/1), DE VOS 5 (3/2), NAYLOR 8 (4/4), WILNIS 6 (3/3): Dizzy wasn’t
quite as much of a liability in the second half as the first, but then he
wasn’t under much pressure. His tackling was poor, his positioning was
awful, and his distribution wouldn’t have got him into a pub team. Awful to
watch, and dragged Jason down with him (although there was some
Mowbray-esque passing from him too). Fortunately Bam-Bam was really in the
groove this afternoon, with a rock-steady performance and the usual superb
anticipation. Fab’s hair has gone all frizzy.

MAGILTON 6 (4/2), MILLER 5 (3/2), HORLOCK 8 (4/4), WESTLAKE 6 (3/3): Jim
worked his socks off, and looked shattered towards the end, but couldn’t
exert much influence on the game from the wide right position or once we
became outnumbered in the midfield after half-time. “Super Kev” however put
in a performance as solid as Bam-Bam’s, always on the spot to mop things up
and passing sensibly throughout. Sometimes the unspectacular can be as
critical to a winning side as the moments of genius.

KUQI 6 (3/3), BENT 7 (3/4): The strikers had little to work with in the
first half, other than very speculative long balls, but in the second half
Darren started to turn it on again. One moment in particular, when from out
wide on the right, with a defender to beat, he produced a killer centre, was
Premiership class. Nice to see him take a scrappy goal too, which looked
suspiciously like he kicked it out of the keeper’s hands to us, but there
were no complaints from Leeds.

Sub: BOWDITCH 6 (3/3) showed some sublime skill with his first touch,
although might have got involved a bit more. His introduction made all the
difference though.

The REFEREE gave lots of irritating free kicks, but also gave Jermaininho a
yellow card, which was the biggest laugh of the afternoon, if nothing else.

The CROWD were comprehensively outshouted by the large Leeds contingent, but
eventually got going, and the atmosphere was pretty good by the end. Who’s
next? Is it Wigan yet?

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