The View From Churchmans

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


Ipswich Town 0 Norwich 1

We had a false dawn at the start of the season getting so many games against
poor sides (Cardiff, Millwall, Sheffield Wednesday), and got found out as
soon as we got decent opposition. I’m not sure what category Norwich fall
into. You can see why they’ve been at the foot of the table; as a unit,
they’re a shambles, and it looks suspiciously like there’s some antagonism
between one or two players. Their finishing would sweep the board at any
comedy awards. Yet they’re surely much the same squad as swept all before
them a couple of years ago, and they must come good eventually. Let’s hope
this wasn’t the boost they needed.

I suppose in the end the result is always everything, and especially so in
derby matches, so I’m sitting here grumpy as hell. Derby or not, it was a
home defeat against the team joint bottom of the table, and that’s a
disastrous result in anyone’s book. But it’s not as bad as all that. We
showed spirit, if not too much class, we would have been well worth a point
had we got one. And don’t forget, after all, it was ten men against twelve.
We still haven’t got a settled defence, midfield or attack, yet there were
one or two fine individual performances which gave me just the tiniest hope
that this season doesn’t have to be mid-table mediocrity at best.

Few conclusions can be drawn from a game where for large parts we had to
play a central midfielder at left back, a left back at right back, and a
striker wide midfield, not to mention being a man light. Sito’s sending off
was a pathetic decision: the referee didn’t seem sure if it was a trip, and
had to defer to the manic flag-waving of a linesman who surely couldn’t have
seen it properly, and then he decided it was a clear goalscoring opportunity
(which it wasn’t), so what was at most a tangle of legs became a red card.
Worse, it meant that we’ll play the next two games with only four defenders
in the squad, two of them left-backs.

As ever though, ten men pulled together, and in terms of play we actually
probably shaded the match (although not the chances: we’d have been on the
wrong end of an embarrassing scoreline if Ashton, Lisbie, Huckerby and Safri
hadn’t all been utterly useless in front of goal, and hilariously incapable
of beating our simple offside “trap”). However, there was nothing happening
up front again, and we had few decent efforts. There’s a lot to be done
here, more improvement than will be provided by the eventual return of
Forster, Westy, Fab and Sito.

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

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

PRICE 5 (2/3):
I hope Lewis is big enough to overcome giving away such a soft goal in the
derby match. He still looked a little short of confidence, and his defence
doesn’t know whether he’s going to come rushing out like a madman (the goal)
or stay rooted to the goal line (most corners). Yet there were some good
saves in there too.

SITO, DE VOS 6 (3/3), NAYLOR 7 (4/3), McEVELEY 6 (3/3):
Bam-Bam was one of the players who looked well up for it today, and his
reading of the game was as excellent as ever. Jason was steady, despite a
couple of mistakes. Jay McEveley was involved throughout, actually getting
nearly 20 minutes in his proper position before having to cover the other
side, yet again. Had he been a liability on the right we could have forgiven
him, but big credit to the guy for looking quite reasonable there. Had a
cracking shot too. But is it me, or does he seem not quite match-fit?

MAGILTON 6 (4/2), GARVAN 6 (3/3), HORLOCK 9 (5/4), CURRIE 7 (4/3):
This was surely Kev’s finest 90 minutes in a blue shirt to date. He was
everywhere (and I don’t just mean the 30 minutes he had to play as an
emergency left-back). It wasn’t a glamorous role, but time and time again he
made sure he was in exactly the right place at the right moment, often
covering for Jim, who worked hard as well. Darren had one of his best games
too, working his socks off, and even chasing after lost causes, which you
don’t often see.

BOWDITCH 5 (3/2), PARKIN 4 (2/2):
Deano was OK, and showed some decent close control as usual, but created
little of note, although to be fair, playing right midfield after the
sending-off was never going to be somewhere he’d shine. With one up front,
how we needed Sam Parkin to spring to life today, but it wasn’t to be. Apart
from one excellent glancing header, he won very little again, and presented
far too static a target to trouble the opposing defenders.

Subs – RICHARDS 6 (3/3) put in another honest effort in trying
circumstances. PETERS was an obvious like-for-like replacement
(positionally!) for Deano once he’d been moved to right midfield, but he
didn’t sparkle. I’d have preferred to have seen McDonald on for Parkin, on
the basis that if we’re forced to play one up front, it may as well be a
moving target.

The REF was a complete idiot. There’s nothing else to say, although one of
his linesmen was – staggeringly – even worse at his job. However, that
resulted in as many wrong decisions in our favour as against us, so I
suppose it evens out. Oh, and HUCKERBY is a tosser if the highest order.

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