The View From Churchmans

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

MATCH REPORT

Ipswich Town 1 Leeds Utd 1

A second consecutive 1-1 draw at home against a Yorkshire side right up the
top of the table, where again we played pretty well and might even have won
it. Leeds’ position in the table flatters them even more than Sheffield’s
though, and if we’d had this team out from the start of the season (nearly
all of them were here then), perhaps we could be up there in this season’s
distinctly ordinary-looking playoff zone.

Despite both sides moving the ball about positively, it wasn’t a game of
many chances: there was only one decent save from each keeper. Town had a
whole string of corners and free-kicks in the first half which were taken a
bit half-heartedly by Jim, and the only player on the pitch who looked
likely to score was Danny Haynes, once he’d realised (or been told) that he
easily had the beating of Leeds’ defence.

This was another hybrid 4-4-2/4-5-1; there was no real right midfielder
though, which was nominally Haynes’ role, but few would suggest he played as
a midfielder rather than a striker. I heard that Currie was late getting to
the ground; if that was true, I wonder if he’d have started instead of
Haynes? It’d be nice to think that Joe knew of Leeds’ rather ponderous
defence and decided that Haynes was the man for the job, which he turned out
to be.

Anyway, things are progressing, the team seems far more motivated than
before Christmas, there was a decent crowd and only a contentious late
penalty stopped us from winning. Best of all, over half of the team were
under-21s! We’ve got the right players in the squad now, and whether that’s
part of a gradual plan, as the Royleists would have us believe, or just the
result of injuries forcing the manager’s hand, we’ll probably never know.
Just so long as he doesn’t muck it up, maybe we won’t care either. This is a
squad which not only can improve, but ought to.

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

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

SUPPLE 6 (3/3):
Nice confident performance from Shane, despite having little to do.

WILNIS 6 (3/3), DE VOS 8 (4/4), NAYLOR 7 (3/4), BARRON 6 (4/2):
With most of Leeds’ attacking play being in the air, the centre-backs needed
to have good games, and they did. But they were real handfuls at set-pieces
up the other end too. Best of all, and largely due to Owen Garvan’s constant
availability, they didn’t keep hoofing it up the other end when they’d won
the ball. Scott Barron was tireless and kept his concentration up well, but
understandably struggled when Leeds really concentrated on exposing him.

MAGILTON 5 (3/2), GARVAN 8 (4/4), WESTLAKE 6 (3/3), RICHARDS 7 (4/3):
Jim is old enough and wise enough to know he has to participate in a fluid
midfield when one exists, and he did that well; it’s so easy for a slower
player to keep bringing things to a stop, and lose the momentum, as Darren
Currie so ably demonstrated again in the second half. It was a shame his
dead balls weren’t those of the Jim of old any more. Owen Garvan was just
magnificent. He just does the simple things, but he does them so well. Any
player can just keep laying the ball off to another, but to do it in a
positive way every time is a great skill. And he makes himself available so
well. Matt worked hard again, and was our creative inspiration a lot of the
time, but played a disappointing number of poor passes too.

HAYNES 7 (3/4), LEE 6 (3/3):
Danny continued his spooky impersonation of a young Darren Bent, and must
have stuck his goal away with a sense of some satisfaction, given Donachie’s
much-criticised comments following the miss of an identical chance in the
last game. He’s certainly got the speed to worry a lot of defences, and just
needs to find the right role. Alan Lee looks to be a great foil for him, and
it’s looking like the advantages he has over Parkin and Forster (the ability
to hold the ball and use it after winning it) are genuine, and not a
first-match wonder. As ever though, when we’re light on numbers up front,
it’s a shame to see Lee having to go out wide to win the ball, because even
if he does (and it was with some success last night), there’s then nobody in
the centre to receive it.

Subs – CURRIE 5 (2/3) replaced Magilton but I’m not sure if the (supposedly)
better creativity he brought to the team made up for the stop-start aspect
to the play which came with it. In a faster midfield, Darren seemed more
like a square peg in a round hole than ever. PROUDLOCK came on for twenty
minutes for Haynes. It should have been more, because Haynes clearly should
have gone off earlier, but I suspect Proudlock could have been there now and
still would have contributed little. The most disappointing performance on
an otherwise good evening.

The REF was generally OK, except for the penalty, which was harsh, to say
the least. His linesman on the Britannia side in the second half was
appalling, however, giving three completely incorrect corners, including one
which led to the penalty incident.

The CROWD was lively, and another good one. Give ’em a team which appears to
want to be watched, and they will come, I guess.

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