The View From Churchmans

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


Ipswich Town 2 Sunderland 2

Whether history will show a point to have been enough, we wait to find out,
but at least the Town side which showed up today was the one we hoped to
see: the one which gets stuck in and is (almost) as good as anything else in
the division. Truth be told though, Sunderland will deserve to be champions,
and can probably feel they ought to have the scalp of Ipswich away to add to
Wigan away. They hit the post, missed a penalty, and wasted two one-on-ones
…but in the end, if their luck hadn’t held at the end, we could have ended
up 3-2 winners.

In a risky but vindicated call, Joe opted for Horlock in place of Magilton,
presumably because he thought the midfielders were going to have to cover an
exceptional amount of ground. He was right, and they did, but as a unit, it
wasn’t their finest game. What was most disappointing though was our
inability to force Sunderland’s nervous third-choice keeper into making
mistakes. We needed Currie and Benty to be banging balls into the box, but
we hardly had a shot on target in the first half and the chance was gone.

Unfortunately for both sets of supporters, we got a Premiership referee for
the game, and that usually means just one thing: a constant stream of
stoppages. Nobody ever seems to tell these guys that we have tackles in this
division, and they don’t need to outlaw physical contact. Steve Bennett has
given thirty yellow cards in his last five games, so another half dozen was
a banker today. It was just bad luck that we got nearly all of them, because
by the end they were being handed out at random.

Still, a really exciting match, and with our games getting gradually easier
and Wigan’s getting gradually harder, it may well go to the wire. Now we
just have to go and do to Leeds what Wigan did to Leicester.

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

DAVIES 7 (3/4): Nice stop in the second half, did enough to justify what
looks like a second or third place in the player of the year poll.

WILNIS 4 (2/2), NAYLOR 5 (3/2), DE VOS 5 (3/2), UNSWORTH 6 (3/3): Fab
started out reasonably well enough, but seemed to tire badly and became the
real weak point as the match wore on. Once again there was hesitancy and
gaping holes in the middle of the defence: it’ll have to do until May, but
this ain’t a Premiership-standard central partnership should it ever come to
that. At least Unsworth wasn’t as bad as Monday night.

MILLER 4 (2/4), HORLOCK 7 (3/4), WESTLAKE 6 (3/3), CURRIE 5 (2/3): A really
tough match for the midfield, and one which they didn’t really shine in.
Tommy was particularly ineffective (how we wanted that ball at the end to
fall to him for the shot, when instead it fell to Jim) and Darren just
didn’t keep up well enough. Only Kev really made an impression in the
unglamorous role of simply making his presence felt. A justified selection,
as it turned out.

KUQI 6 (3/3), BENT 7 (3/4): Shefki won a lot and was as up for it as ever,
but was more static than usual and lacked a cutting edge. Benty wasn’t
getting the backup he needed but at least seemed to scare the pants off the
Sunderland defence with his speed from time to time.

Subs: MAGILTON and then COUNAGO were brought on with 10-15 minutes to go, at
which point most of the players on the park were so worn out that even Brian
Deane had been able to make an impact. Not surprisingly therefore, both made
a decent impression, with Pablo setting up the equaliser and Jim nearly
squeezing a winner in. They might have done even more if they’d been thrown
in ten minutes earlier.

The REFEREE was an irritating muppet who did a fair job of ruining the game.
The CROWD was a full house and gave some terrific support; it’s the first
time this season when (from my position near the away section) a full
complement of opposing fans didn’t sound louder than us.

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