The View From Churchmans

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


Ipswich Town 2 Crewe 1

I have to keep reminding myself here of the mental note I made at
half-time: “whatever happens in the second half, even if we score ten,
do not forget how angry and frustrated you felt as the players went
off”. The events of the second half can often make you conveniently
forget what’s gone before, and it would have been easy for that to
have been the case yesterday.

So, two match reports for the price of one then.

The first half started badly, and, astonishingly, got worse. Crewe
came with their normal let’s-play-football attitude, which we normally
love (and that’s why this fixture saw 16 goals across Crewe’s last two
visits). This time, however, we weren’t at the races, and they passed
us off the pitch, setting up chance after chance, and squandering
almost the lot. It would be easy to point the finger at the defence,
which worryingly is probably our first-choice lineup at the moment,
and certainly the full-backs kept being left the wrong side of the man
by a couple of slick Crewe passes. But it was the midfield, or rather
the lack of one, where the real blame should lie. OK, Westy is out,
but otherwise there were four half-decent players there. Why then
could they hardly win a single loose ball, or (when they did get it)
play a decent pass? It was horrible to watch, and got worse after
Crewe deservedly took the lead, when heads seemed to drop.

At half-time the North Stand led a chorus of disapproval as the
players left the field, and although you hate to hear it, most of the
team deserved no better. You felt that the only way this was going to
be turned around was if Neil Warnock or Sam Allardyce had been waiting
for them in the dressing-room. I certainly didn’t think there was
anyone on the bench who could have solved the intrinsic problems, nor
would a change of formation have helped.

But I was wrong. Whether it was through the claimed injury, or whether
this was the ultimate snub for a striker, we came out in the second
half with the centre-forward (Parkin) replaced by the centre-half
(Naylor). And suddenly we were looking at a different match. A stroke
of genius from BFJ, or desperation? It certainly did the trick.
Bam-Bam led by example, the crowd came alive, and the team seemed to
be transformed.

It got even better. Jimmy Juan came on and added some real presence in
midfield, and best of all, Nicky Forster came on to give Bam-Bam the
strike partner he deserved. The two played like they’d been together
up front for years, with speed, intelligence, and some quite
complementary skills too. We were looking at a different team. Crewe
continued to play open, expansive football, but now (as in the past
two seasons) it played into our hands. I’m not going to suggest we
“won” the second half by a greater margin than they “won” the first,
but by the end, a Town win seemed well-deserved and the ovation as
they left the pitch was a stark contrast to an hour before. At the
moment, the teamsheet must write itself, and who’d have thought that’d
mean Bam-Bam up front and Fab at centre-half?

Match Ratings:
Excitement – 3/5
Town Performance – 2/5

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

PRICE 5 (3/2):
Much as I desperately want the guy to show the potential I’m sure he
has, again Lewis was a bit of a weak spot in the team. Indecision as
to whether to tear out of his goal or stay put seemed to disconcert
the central defenders a bit, and the goal looked like the result of
hesitancy too. His distribution was also disappointing.

SITO 5 (2/3), DE VOS 6 (3/3), NAYLOR 9 (5/4), McEVELEY 6 (4/2):
Bam-Bam just died for the cause today. He was the only player punching
above his weight in the first half, and he changed the game
single-handedly in the second. I perhaps didn’t realise just how
little heart there was in the strike force until I saw the difference
which Richard’s commitment made. It was awesome. McEveley looked a bit
dodgy in defence, especially in the first half; although he made some
good saving tackles, they were often necessitated by him being caught
the wrong side of the attacker in the first place. Full credit to him
for struggling through a second-half injury though after our subs had
all been used up.

MAGILTON 4 (2/2), GARVAN 5 (3/2), HORLOCK 5 (3/2), CURRIE 5 (2/3):
These are average marks for the whole match – the midfield played much
better in the second half, with Owen and Darren in particular picking
up the pace. Nothing went right for Jim though, at any stage.

BOWDITCH 3 (1/2), PARKIN 4 (2/2):
Awful performances from the start, from both Deano and Sam. There’s
something definitely wrong in the Bowditch camp; in terms of impact on
the game he’s gone backwards, and his attitude seemed reprehensible.
On more than one occasion he just gave up chasing a ball which he
might not have won, but at least he could have put some pressure on.
He was pushed off the ball at almost every occasion, and didn’t really
show anything other than a nice ability to control a long pass to him.
Parkin just played like a big lemon again, winning little and turning
even less into something useful.

Subs – WILNIS 7 (4/3) looked again like he was born to play
centre-half. With Sito looking reasonably comfortable, maybe Fab and
Jason will be spending more time getting to know one another. JUAN
looked stronger and more inventive in the centre of midfield than
either Horlock or Magilton had been doing, and made a difference; but
not as much as FORSTER, who gave heart and soul for the cause, and was
visibly flagging by the end. “It’s like watching Shefki again”, said
the bloke next to me, “except with intelligence.”

The REF had little to do, and did the right thing in the circumstances
(i.e very little). The CROWD were worryingly quiet even before we
began to see how bad the team was, although the North Stand made
above-average efforts to get things going as the match went on.

Those Crewe fixtures: they’re never forgettable, are they?

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