The View From Churchmans

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


Ipswich Town 0 Crystal Palace 2

I hope things don’t continue this way for too much longer, if only because words really are going to fail me soon. List stattos will, I’m sure, give us the full story, but I’m going to guess that this will be the lowest end-of-December position we’ve
been in since before the Burley era, and what’s worse, in the seasons which I reckon come close to this (96/97, 97/98 and 02/03), we were at least well into an upward charge by now. This time we seem to be going nowhere. “Transitional Season”, Joe? The
only thing we seem to be in transition to at the moment is too awful to contemplate.

The team simply came out today, stood there and watched Palace run rings around them for twenty minutes. We looked like the away team. And one from a division below. With nothing to play for. It was shockingly bad. Eventually, things started to come
together, and by half time, with your blue-tinted glasses on, you might even have contemplated the possibility of us getting back on terms in the second half, if we could actually create a goalscoring chance. But it wasn’t to be. Palace got their second,
we remembered today’s plan (“there’s no plan today, lads”) and one guy in front of me left, shaking his head, with 25 minutes to go. Palace supporters sang “you’re supposed to be at home”, and the North sang back “we’re supposed to be at home” to much
amusement in the away section.

So what was wrong (again)? Well, running out at home with five in midfield and a single “striker” who prefers to play out wide isn’t going to get the pulse racing, is it? Of course, as far as Joe’s concerned, we’ve apparently “only got one striker
available in the club at the moment” but the crowd’s reaction to the teamsheet suggests we don’t quite sympathise (or agree), do we? Pack the midfield as much as you like Joe, but it’s not going to achieve anything if every time Owen or Jimmy or whoever
picks up the ball, they look up and see nothing but opposition shirts. Ipswich today were leaderless, directionless, and for most of the game, pretty well clueless too. Which is a real shame, because a few of the players actually looked like they cared.
If the manager does, he seems to have a funny way of showing it.

Match Ratings:
Excitement – 3/5 (an extra point for the referee’s bizarre contribution)
Town Performance – 2/5

Player Ratings (1-5 for how much they cared, 1-5 for how well they fared):

PRICE 4 (2/2):
One, or possibly two, very decent saves, balanced out by some sloppy distribution whether or not he was under pressure. There might be a question mark over Lewis for the second goal too, but let’s just say for now it was a fantastic shot.

WILNIS 5 (3/2), DE VOS 6 (3/3), NAYLOR 6 (3/3), SITO 6 (4/2):
Now, for better or for worse, the defence just about picks itself at the moment, doesn’t it? Jason, Bam-Bam and Sito all in their normal positions, with Fab filling in at left back. Not ideal, but he’s done a reasonable job there so far. Hang on, what’s
this? Oh yes, great idea Joe, why not make Sito play the other side today? Just for a laugh perhaps?

WILLIAMS 4 (2/2), GARVAN 7 (4/3), JUAN 5 (2/3), WESTLAKE 5 (3/2), CURRIE 7 (4/3):
Another match, another midfield permutation, and to be honest, it looked most effective when Darren detached himself from the rest and almost became a second striker. He and Owen Garvan were the bright spots in the bunch, the others were disappointingly
anonymous. I really can’t see the point of Gavin Williams.

FORSTER 5 (3/2):
Maybe generous for a striker whose caught-offside-to-shots ratio was, as usual, greater than 100%, but hey, he did at least have one good strike. More often though Nicky put in some half-decent work with an overlapping midfielder out on the touchline,
cut in towards the penalty area, looked up for the centre-forward in the box

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