The View From Churchmans

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

MATCH REPORT

Ipswich Town 6 Nottingham Forest 0

Where to start? Is this team built that much on confidence that one home
game it can put in a performance worthy of relegation, and the next look as
good as anything this division will have to offer all year? We sat agog as
the team came out, pinged it around and showed within three minutes that
they were not only going to reverse the recent downward trend, but were
suddenly about to jump back to the best they’ve looked for months.

What caused the change? It was far more than a couple of team amendments and
a tweak at the back could possibly have caused. The side looked a different
class immediately, well before any of those aspects could have come into
play. If Joe knows how he did it, and can repeat the trick, Wigan and
Sunderland will hardly be able to drop a point now if they’re to stay ahead
of us. I doubt if anyone will dare believe we really can keep it up, but who
knows?

The passing was crisp and to feet (or amazingly, even into space). The
movement was a huge improvement on recent weeks. And in midfield, people
simply seemed to be playing in the right positions. Needless to say, Forest
were rubbish, but we’ve all seen our team play down to the level of a poor
opposition recently.

But although the improvement was far more than can have been explained by
the changes in lineup and formation, that’s the obvious aspect to discuss.
I’m still not sure whether we were playing 3-5-2 with Richards and Wilnis as
wingbacks, or 4-4-2 with Richards as a straightforward wide midfielder.
Either way, Matt certainly added some speed and movement out wide. But
perhaps even more important was Westy’s industry alongside him, which in
turn enabled Jim to just act as a slightly withdrawn central playmaker. When
he went off at half time, for whatever reason, Joe was obviously so keen on
having someone in that position that he put Darren Currie in there, even
though that’s a highly unusual role for him.

If it’s all down to confidence, and it may be, then Joe will surely have to
stick to this team and this formation, however ambitious it might look in
the forthcoming away games. But he’s shown before that he loves to go for
broke, and I bet he will.

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

DAVIES 6 (3/3): Forest didn’t mount a decent attack for 25 minutes, so it
wasn’t Kelvin’s most challenging afternoon. Even when they finally put
things together in a short period early in the second half, very little got
as far as the keeper.

WILNIS 8 (4/4), NAYLOR 7 (3/4), DE VOS 7 (3/4), UNSWORTH 8 (4/4): Whilst we
were overloaded with three players making pretty triangles on the left, Fab
ploughed a brilliant lone furrow on the other side making sure that the
opposition couldn’t divert its resources and leave him alone. Of the whole
defence, Unsworth looked the most up for it though, perhaps the result of
this week’s appalling off-field display. Bam-Bam and Jason looked
comfortable throughout, especially playing in this arrangement.

MILLER 8 (4/4), MAGILTON 7 (3/4), WESTLAKE 8 (4/4), RICHARDS 8 (4/4): Was
this the same midfield which has been so clueless recently? Well, not
exactly: with the Matt’n’Westy partnership restored and given its most
aggressive role yet, there was something new, and Jim looked much more
commanding with the need to chase around taken off him so much. If Tommy’s
shooting boots had been on, he might have had four or more, but two’ll do.

KUQI 7 (4/3), BENT 7 (3/4): Anyone who wondered how much we missed Shefki
the last few weeks got their answer this afternoon: hugely. He didn’t look
100%, but his effort was, as ever, inspirational. And although Dazza
continued to seem lacking in confidence, with a couple of poor misses, he
set up many of our best chances with some blistering speed, and finally got
a goal that might make all the difference.

Subs: CURRIE 7 (4/3) was asked to play a strange role, but worked hard at it
and covered a lot of ground. SCOWCROFT looked worryingly ineffective in his
forward role when called on, although by then we were hardly trying.

The REFEREE seemed obsessed with stopping the game every time a player wiped
his own face, in case it was an imminent fractured skull or something. Very
irritating. The CROWD was pretty quiet, presumably just stunned by what they
were seeing, but players such as Kuqi and Bent will have appreciated the
support they received. Forest’s supporters were noisy and well-humoured.

Bring on …well, on this form, anyone, really.

Regards
Chris Rand
Cherry Hinton Blue

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