The View From Churchmans

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


Ipswich Town 0 Preston NE 4

For the most part, this was an utter shambles. It was far worse than can be
explained by the absence of Bam-Bam, the stupid one-up-front-at-home
formation, or even the fact that it was one of those days where almost
everything went in for the opposition. We started off ordinarily, completely
took our eye off the game, fell to pieces, and then didn’t seem to have any
inclination to even salvage some pride. It was the worst home performance
since the slaughter by Wimbledon a couple of years ago, and I got as close
to leaving early as I can ever remember having done in thirty years at
Portman Road (I didn’t of course, never will, but honestly, hardly any of
them out there deserved my minuscule contribution to their salaries today).

So what was wrong? Where do I start? So Bam-Bam was suspended and we were
down to four from about the last six defenders in the squad (although nobody
other than the four who started were deemed worthy of a place on the bench).
But hey, everyone wanted to see Aidan Collins get a go, and Fab’s proved
himself to be well worth a place in the centre of defence. So no real need
to panic. Except apparently it was necessary to play a five man midfield –
at home – to cover them. And leave a lone striker up front who, to put it
kindly, has yet to impress in a blue shirt.

Now, we’ve all had our reservations at times about the carefree approach the
side has had under Joe Royle, but it comes as quite a shock to find Town
looking so apprehensive from the outset. Magilton and Horlock together …at
home? Anyway, Preston were a fairly solid unit, but for the first part of
the match things were reasonably even, neither side looking like they were
ever going to run away with it and only a couple of chances at either end.
Then we gave away a soft goal, letting Preston walk through the defence, and
the cohesion (which was about all we had going for us) began to be lost too.
We gave away another, and both the team and the crowd lost heart. I’m not
sure anyone really believed we had a couple of goals in us. When we let them
walk a third one in before half-time, the second half was always going to be
damage limitation.

So could there have been any way back for us in the second half then?
Probably not. But the mistake was made of identifying the problem as the
central midfield, and substituting the entire lot, rather than the strike
force. Joe’s solution was to bring on two wingers to introduce a supply
line, but they were strangely subdued, and the highlight of the second half
was probably Parkin finally winning a header in the 68th minute. Except it
was in front of his own goal, clearing from a corner. It was a long 45
minutes with Preston showing little will to do much more (and who can blame
them?) and Town offering almost nothing of note. Not only was there none of
the enthusiasm of the Sheffield Wednesday game, there seemed to be precious
little pride in the shirt either. With Bowditch not getting a look in again,
you wonder what’s gone so wrong, so quickly.

Match Ratings:
Excitement – 2/5
Town Performance – 1/5

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

PRICE 5 (3/2):
Most (if not all) of the goals were scored by opponents sent clean through,
so perhaps Lewis can’t be held totally accountable, but he didn’t seem to be
the confident player we’d seen in previous games either. Disappointing.

SITO 6 (3/3), COLLINS 4 (2/2), WILNIS 8 (4/4), RICHARDS 4 (2/2):
Oh dear. We so wanted Aidan Collins to slot in like he’d been there all his
life, but he really looked shaky at times. OK, so playing alongside Fab
isn’t exactly the hand-holding introduction Titus once had from Mogga, but
Aidan did seem a bit bewildered. And he doesn’t seem a complementary type of
defender to Fab, like he is with Chris Casement. Probably even worse was
Matt Richards, who was dragged all over the place and has to take a lot of
the responsibility for the lapses which led to goals. At least Sito was
pretty reliable again, and really seems to be a good signing, although he
faded in the second half. The bright spot, once more, was Saint Fabian van
Wilnis, who put his heart and soul into things, and can be forgiven any
small errors in the bigger picture. He was the best defender throughout,
nonchalantly kicked one off the line, and even wandered forward later on and
put in one of our better efforts all game. Genius.

CURRIE 6 (3/3), MAGILTON 6 (3/3), HORLOCK 5 (3/2), GARVAN 5 (3/2),
WESTLAKE 6 (4/2):
Individually the midfielders were OK, but collectively it didn’t happen at
all. Darren seemed to have to play several different roles, some at the same
time, and Westy was tireless, if rarely influential. The others pootled
around and were all withdrawn early, with Jim being the only one we really
missed. There just seemed very little structure to it all.

PARKIN 3 (2/1):
Dreadful. Simply dreadful. Ponderous, hopeless in the air and completely
contained on the deck. I’m sure people will rightly point out that he had
little support and no supply, but he was just so slow off the mark that he
offered nothing for an advancing midfield. I’m sorry that the supporters
turned on him a little bit, but really, he wasn’t good enough.

Subs – McDONALD 5 (3/2) scurried around as a wide strike partner for Parkin
but didn’t get any breaks. PETERS was very subdued, and contributed little.
JUAN was a little more involved, although didn’t seem to offer any more than
any of the three substituted midfielders could have done.

The REF swung the whole game by bottling the red card which would surely
have been given to Nugent on any other day. The CROWD were quiet, and
managed little more than ironic cheers in the second half when Parkin
actually won a ball or one of his colleagues actually tried to shoot. But
hey – there wasn’t the effort being shown out there which justified
twenty-five quid, and we were justified in letting them know what we
thought. NUGENT, by the way, will be a high new entry in the chart of
most-hated opponents when it’s next compiled. I hope some Premiership club
does sign the arrogant git tomorrow, as predicted, and then he sinks without

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