The View From Churchmans

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


Ipswich Town 1 Brighton 0

Let me see. A home win. A clean sheet. The best home record in all four divisions. The first team in all four divisions to forty goals. To criticise would be churlish, and I shan’t, but I can’t help feeling (a) that we can do even better than this, and
(b) we’ve been better in previous seasons. Goodness knows where it’ll all end up.

Let’s put the game in context. Brighton were probably the most unambitious team we’ve seen at Portman Road this year. Not necessarily negative (nobody will out-do the appalling Burnley in that respect) but just curiously unambitious. They set out for a
nil-nil (which is fair enough) by flooding the midfield and only really leaving the truly geriatric and totally ineffective Steve Claridge up front. But when they went one down, halfway through the first half, what did they do? Nothing, that’s what.
Whilst nobody would expect them to change into Brazil 70, you might have expected them to have made some sort of an attempt to score. Their supporters got increasingly frustrated, culminating in a prolonged chant of “bring on the strikers” between the
50th and 60th minutes until finally changes got made. After which they were OK, and we were actually counting down the seconds at the end.

So the score should be viewed in that light: all credit to Town for finding the motivation to keep playing decent football for most of the game, although given our complete domination it was a mystery how we created so little of note. It’s been noted in
the reports that Kelvin didn’t have a save to make until the 80th minute, but to be fair, their keeper only had to work for his living half a dozen times too (he was good though). When we were good, we were classy, but overall then, an afternoon where
the highlight was probably seeing the table on teletext afterwards.

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

DAVIES 6 (3/3): Barely any more involved than I was.

DIALLO 4 (2/2), DE VOS 7 (4/3), NAYLOR 7 (3/4), WILNIS 6 (3/3): It might be surprising that under so little pressure, defenders could be anything other than average, but it was an afternoon where they could show a different side to their game, and a
couple did just that. Unfortunately Dizzy didn’t; in fact, he was as bad with half an empty park in front of him as he has been recently when faced with an eager winger. He got forward a lot, it’s true, but in the first half he just ballooned it into the
area aimlessly first time, every time, and although in the second half (perhaps someone had a word) he tended to control it first, he still kept ballooning it in to little effect. On the two or three occasions he was on the back foot, his positioning was
awful. Jason however took his opportunity to come forward with real enthusiasm, and really looked good, and Bam-Bam covered for him impeccably. Fab continues to do a steady job on the wrong side; although I’ve never been a fan of his as a full-back, big
respect to him for doing such a consistent job there.

MILLER 6 (3/3), MAGILTON 6 (3/3), HORLOCK 5 (3/2), WESTLAKE 5 (3/2): Outnumbered for much of the game, the midfield failed to boss things around much, and perhaps the highlight for me was a more involved ninety minutes for Tommy Miller than recent weeks:
some good tackling, and two decent self-created chances. I heard it said afterwards that Jim had an outstanding game, and one of the newspaper reports concurred, but I’ve got to say I couldn’t see it.

KUQI 8 (5/3), BENT 7 (4/3): This was one of those irrepressible performances from Shefki, who never stopped for a second, even though he met his match physically for much of the time. He could certainly be accused of being too selfish on more than one
occasion, but we’ve complained so often when the team tries to pass the ball into the net that we can’t really complain when they do the opposite. Darren caused all sorts of problems again, and despite also suffering from a little selfishness, I think
some sort of partnership with Shefki is developing: they have a little thing where they both stand together when a long ball is coming, then one peels away and the other knows where he is.

Sub: RICHARDS got a short run-out and didn’t do much, although he did seem to be the only player with any idea when we were trying to play out time at the end.

The REFEREE started well but went to pieces. He let just enough go unpunished, then pulled out a questionable yellow card and – presumably for the sake of consistency – then started to card everything in sight on both sides. Ridiculous.

The CROWD were very quiet! Good numbers though, perhaps a lot of people realised there won’t be another Saturday afternoon at Portman Road until next year.

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