The View From Churchmans

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


Ipswich Town 0 West Ham 2

And so the season which started with so little promise (despite the “young guns” nonsense from the club’s marketing department) ended with a whimper. It was a real let-down after what had been so unexpectedly achieved in the meantime, and the many fans
who’d rather have seen the marketing department get its wish can say “what a waste that the young guns didn’t get their chance”. But let’s face it, who were these unused youngsters anyway? One thing’s for sure: we’d have kept very quiet if this team had
done the business; nobody should underestimate how far one of the smallest squads in recent Ipswich history managed to get.

However, next season’s squad will be interesting. Did Joe go for experienced players because he just doesn’t want to bring through a new team? Or because, in reality, he had no choice? With half of last night’s lineup over thirty, and a money-making
departure or two due over the summer, will he bring in youngsters (from inside or outside) or will he be on the lookout for David Unsworths? I know what I’d prefer.

Oh, and the match? As it went on, we were increasingly outplayed and outthought, and we deserved nothing from it. Enough said.

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

DAVIES 7 (4/3): The first half was one of Kelvin’s best recent displays, despite not having to make any of his show-stealing saves. He looked confident and imposing, and to be honest, wasn’t bad in the second half either, despite (yet again) being left
hopelessly exposed. Despite what the club says, I can’t believe they won’t want to get some money for him while they can (he’ll go for nothing in a year’s time if he has another good season), especially as we have two potentially great understudies in
Price and Supple. The “Kelvin for Arsenal” rumours seem a bit far-fetched, but there’s no reason why we couldn’t get enough to buy a decent new centre-half or a playmaker successor to Jim.

WILNIS 5 (2/3), NAYLOR 6 (3/3), DE VOS 5 (3/2), RICHARDS 5 (3/2): Simply not good enough as a unit, again. Despite the comings and goings in both fullback positions all season, the defence has been consistent only in that they’re all playing decent
individual games but seem to be on differemt pitches. We can have all four defenders back and make it seem like we’re outnumbered by two attackers at times, and both goals last night were classic examples. There’s actually a chance all four will be with
us again next season, but surely some big changes are in order? Fab tries hard, but his attention can wander: it was horrible to see him stranded upfield on two or three occasions as Etherington tore away, despite *surely* his one job last night was to
subdue West Ham’s major threat. Bam-Bam is always going to be a reasonable central defender, but will only ever finish his career as a top-class one if he isn’t continuously asked to race across forty yards to make last-ditch covering tackles. He did
what he could, last night. Jason makes just too many unforced errors, but if he’s asked to take over as captain, and I believe he will, maybe he’ll rise to the task and use the responsibility to get rid of this weakness. And as for Matt? Perhaps my
fervent hope that he’ll become a great full-back clouds my judgement; maybe Joe’s right and he really isn’t up to it. But I’d love to believe Matt can still make it, and he put in a pretty good show over the two legs.

MILLER 4 (2/2), MAGILTON 5 (3/2), WESTLAKE 5 (3/2), CURRIE 5 (3/2): It’s odd that we wondered if last season would be Jim’s swansong, yet he carried on and arguably became even more influential this year. So who’d bet against him continuing even longer?
But his performances are surely too inconsistent, and the comparison between the first and second legs of the playoffs showed this only too well. However, none of the midfield excelled last night; Tommy and Westy played disappointingly low-key roles, and
Darren played a few nice balls, but never looked threatening on the wings. The midlfield seemed to be as much of a muddle as it has been for most of the season, with nobody really seeming to know, or be played in, their best positions. Or at least that’s
the best excuse I can think of for them.

KUQI 5 (3/2), BENT 5 (2/3): Neither of the pair excelled themselves, although the service to them was appalling (and in the second half, almost non-existent). Shefki was terrific in the air in the first half, winning almost everything, but he was nodding
on to an invisible strike partner. Dazza worried them with his pace, but never made the breakthrough, and by the second half, both of the strikers were reduced to coming back to get the ball for themselves on the halfway line. What a waste. Predictably,
Darren threw his shirt into the North Stand at the end, and you have to think he may well be off; as with Kelvin, we may not be able to afford to turn down offers when the alternative is an eventual freebie. But fortunately, as with Kelvin, it may be a
position where there’s some up-and-coming cover (Deano, and the cracking pair from the youth team), so the money can be used elsewhere in the squad.

Subs: BOWDITCH went close at least once, but was completely anonymous for most of the time. Perhaps he’s even more dependent on decent supply than Shefki or Darren.

The REFEREE just about coped, but you felt if things had gone off, he wouldn’t have kept control at all. Harewood’s outrageous playacting at the end to try to get Davies sent off (or so it would seem) was so pathetically bad that the referee (like the
rest of us) probably couldn’t believe what he’d seen, but even so, a mere booking was a bit of a cop-out. The CROWD was fabulous for the first hour or so, but we all became disappointingly subdued as the inevitable started to unfold in front of our eyes.
We won’t get as good an atmosphere against Hull or Hartlepool.

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