The View From Churchmans

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


Ipswich Town 4 Rotherham 3

Remember all those games last season where we created chances at will,
but gave away goals with schoolboy defending? Well, that side was back
for its long-awaited encore tonight. We don’t care how many you score,
we’ll just score one or two more. Great for the neutrals.
Heart-stopping for the fans.

Don’t let the score fool you: Town dominated the match. At 4-1 with
half an hour to go, I’m sure many of us were thinking six or seven, it
was looking that easy up front. But Rotherham (who absolutely had to
win tonight) had not set out to contain us, instead ambitiously
playing an open game, so still they tried to take the play to us when
they could …and it paid off. The Town defence showed that the
difference between this season’s relative solidity and last season’s
long-running comedy is only paper-thin. Once Rotherham had got a
second, complete panic set in whenever our defence found itself under
any pressure. A third was almost inevitable, and they really should
have had an equaliser – the guy only just failed to finish from close
range. Meanwhile, at the other end, we continued to carve out chances
of our own!

Joe now has to make sure that the nervousness in the defence is
banished for the next game. I’m sure it can be. Four wins and a draw
and we’re up. I need a stiff drink.

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

DAVIES 5 (3/2): Not that busy, but a couple of necessary saves and a
couple of essential catches at corners. Failed to hold on to the ball
for their third goal though.

WILNIS 5 (2/3), NAYLOR 4 (2/2), DE VOS 4 (2/2), UNSWORTH 5 (2/3): For
large parts of the match, they looked like they’d never met each other
before. Fab was very reticent to come forward all night, whereas
Unsworth (under no pressure for most of the game) played like a
right-winger at times and contributed a lot up front. However, he
probably made more defensive mistakes than anyone, including a stupid
push which gave Rotherham the free-kick from which they (flukily)
scored. Naylor and De Vos looked like a couple of stand-ins.

MILLER 6 (3/3), MAGILTON 7 (3/4), WESTLAKE 7 (3/4), CURRIE 7 (4/3):
Generally, the midfield played well. It’s true that Tommy was much
less involved than on Saturday, and Jim started off awfully, seemingly
unable to do anything other than play passes backwards, and poorly
too. But as the game settled down, Jim seemed to become more
commanding, and Darren moved infield into some sort of roaming role
which found him working encouragingly hard at times. Westy did a
really solid job getting forward and taking the ball into the area;
apart from his goal, he also made Benty’s second.

KUQI 6 (3/3), BENT 8 (4/4): A relatively subdued game for Shefki, and
there didn’t seem to be any particular reason why. His main
contribution was a series of excellent headed knock-ons for Benty.
However, with some space to play with, Dazza was my man of the match.
His speed was awesome at times – we really shouldn’t take it for
granted. And when he scored his first, all I can say is, we expected
it to go in, whereas a few weeks ago we’d have expected it in the
upper tier.

Subs: RICHARDS came on for Miller, not for any obvious reason, and
looked a bit lost. Certainly the balance of the midfield was upset,
with Currie switching to right wing. HORLOCK was brought on for Currie
at the end, and I’m not sure if he touched the ball, although by then,
with Rotherham looking for the equaliser, I found it hard to watch.

The REFEREE had an easy evening, with barely a semi-tough decision to
make. The CROWD was 26,000, impressive considering Rotherham had only
brought around 100 fans. The noise levels were OK, although I’m sure
the concern around the ground was being felt by the players towards
the end. Nice chants of “sign him up” aimed at Rotherham’s impressive
Campbell-Ryce as he was applauded off by the whole ground after an
impressive display (and thank goodness they bafflingly took him off –
he’d have loved the last few frantic minutes). We also enjoyed the
North Stand’s “You’re not fit to run the line” directed at the
linesman who had to retire early with a leg injury.

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