The View From Churchmans

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


Ipswich Town 2 Sheffield Wed 1

You’ll have seen us play better than this in the past, and you’ll do
so again in the future, but seldom will you come away from Portman
Road with such a buzz. This was, quite simply, the sort of afternoon
which makes you brave all those damp February evenings in the hope
you’ll see it again. Why? Commitment, teamwork, and an infectious
desire to win ran right through the team. And guess what? We had
youngsters, we had (so-called) reserves, and we had players out of
position, and they just got stuck in.

Doubtless the management will take the first opportunity, when the
injuries clear up, to “get things back to normal”. But they shouldn’t
rush into it. Not only because the team out today deserve more chances
to show what they can do, but because this is what the fans want to
see. Enthusiasm. We wanted them to be good, and they wanted to be good
for us. It was great.

I think the performance was driven as much as anything by the
backs-against-the-wall situation which led to Joe being forced to play
the likes of the two Deanos up front in the first place. But there was
an X-factor in there too. All the elements which could have been
disastrous proved to be the greatest strengths: an out-of-position
full-back at centre half, a teenage goalie making his home debut, and
a complete absence of aerial threat up front. They all worked. Being
under constant pressure played to Fab’s strengths, having to “protect”
Shane Supple brought the defence together as a unit, and of course, we
had to play it on the deck much more to take advantage of the guys up

Do you get the impression I enjoyed this one?

Match Ratings:
Excitement – 3/5
Town Performance – 4/5

Player Ratings (1-5 for commitment, 1-5 for impact):

SUPPLE 7 (4/3):
Who’d have thought that after Lewis Price’s confident home debut,
which banished all worries we had following Kelvin’s departure, that a
fortnight later we’d be wondering if he’s already been displaced from
the team? Whatever the case, this was an equally accomplished home
debut, and we have two potentially great keepers on the books now.
Shane doesn’t look imposing (in fact, he looks about 14), but he reads
the game beautifully, and neither he nor the crowd were at all
nervous. He didn’t have a serious stop to make in the first half, but
coped well with almost everything thrown at him in the second. A great

SITO 7 (4/3), WILNIS 8 (4/4), NAYLOR 8 (4/4), RICHARDS 6 (3/3):
You can call it as makeshift as you like, but this defence played as a
unit as tightly as anything we’ve seen in blue these past few seasons.
Sito looks very solid; he made few errors, and was furious with
himself whenever one happened. Bam-Bam was a rock, and Matt looked
much more positive, both going forward and on the back foot. But Fab
was the star of the show for me – total commitment, and barely a

CURRIE 6 (3/3); MAGILTON 6 (3/3), GARVAN 6 (3/3), WESTLAKE 7 (4/3):
Nice to see Jim back in the centre – it was a strangely subdued
performance, but a vital one I think. Horlock had to be at his best to
fulfil the same role later on. Another mature performance from Owen
Garvan (what a find he looks set to be), and Darren played a similarly
crucial part which was missed later on. Westy worked hard and the goal
was a cracker.

McDONALD 8 (4/4), BOWDITCH 6 (3/3):
Wow. Dean McDonald. What a performance. Speed, skill, and an ability
to seemingly be everywhere. Seldom can we have played two strikers
with such sublime first touches. So exciting to watch. It was a pity
big Deano got caught offside so much, but let’s not pick too many
holes. These two opened up so many possibilities with their movement
and quick thinking, and little Deano in particular scared the willies
out of the Sheffield defence.

Subs – HORLOCK was a like-for-like swap with Jim, and did a fair job.
PETERS looked lively, and clearly had the beating of any defender in
sight, although it’s a tribute to McDonald’s continual movement that
the main threat continued to be on the other flank even after the
other winger came on. JUAN was brought on to shore up the middle in
what could have been a scary last few minutes.

The REF was fairly uninvolved, which is always a good sign. The CROWD
were pretty good.

Not much to complain about this afternoon, was there?

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