The View From Churchmans

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


Ipswich Town 1 Crystal Palace 2

A gloriously sunny afternoon which started off with a wave to new club
president Lord Bobby on the pitch, and the blue-tinted spectacles
firmly in place. The start of a new season, the anticipation of some
new names and perhaps a new approach …and a huge reception for one
of the most popular managerial appointments in the club’s history.

What could possibly go wrong? Yes, you at the back. That’s right. We
could start brightly, spend the rest of the afternoon gradually losing
any initial spark we might have had, make some silly mistakes in
defence, and bingo! New start, same old Ipswich.

Long old season? You betcha it might be. Interesting one? Hey, why not?

As previously noted, I fully expect the existing defence to be broken
up this season. Much as we love the individuals, things have been
hopeless at the back for too long, and with Jason now captain, and
presumably the first name on the teamsheet, that may mean the end of
the road for Bam-Bam in his testimonial year. And if Jim’s to be
allowed a season for team-building, then Fab, in surely what must be
his final year, must also expect to play a bit part. Chris Casement is
a promising right-back/centre half, and new signing Alex Bruce plays
in either position.

It was no surprise to see Alex Bruce trot out on to the pitch then.
What was a surprise was to see the existing centre-halves both out
too. A radical three-at-the-back for Jim, perhaps? No, I’d forgotten
about our other big problem: an acute shortage of central midfield
players: we’ve got just one, Owen Garvan, and he was injured today.
So Gavin Williams had to be called into the centre (where I think
we’re going to see him more often), and Bruce was asked to play
alongside him: new club, completely new role. They ended up the pick
of the team, for me.

The other new signing, Dan Harding, became the latest in the stream of
names tried at left back; whether or not he’s an improvement on
Richards, Barron, or Sito (not to mention Wilnis or McEveley), we’ll
have to see. Four of those five are still in the running for that

Elsewhere Jim went for something old, something new. Peters got a
welcome chance one side, but we got the same old Currie on the other
flank. Forster played his tried-and-tested role up front, but Deano
got his chance as strike partner. Of Sam Parkin there was no sign, not
even on the bench.

So did we see any dramatic changes in style under Jim then? Not
really. We’d try to play it around and work it through the midfield,
and for a while things looked promising, but as the side got more
frustrated, back came the long balls, and they were seldom any good. I
could have been writing this at the start of last season, or the
season before, and probably did.

But I don’t want this to sound dispiriting. There were some good
individual performances, and the poorer aspects of the display were
the same ones as in the past, so they’ll be straightforward for Jim to
fix if he’s bold enough. The younger players were some of the
brightest, and whilst the squad is small, there’s still enough choice
for Jim to select the players to fit his vision, rather than him
selecting a bunch of disparate players and then trying to make them
gel together, a feature of the Royle Years. He didn’t do it today, but
he can. I just hope he’s bold enough.

Overall Town Performance: 5 (3 for effort/2 for achievement)

Player Ratings

SUPPLE 5 (3/2): stopped the straightforward stuff confidently and very
cleanly. May have been a bit hesitant at times though, and shouldn’t
have been beaten for the first goal. Confident to the point of
cockiness with dribbling round oncoming strikers in the second half.

WILNIS 4 (2/2), NAYLOR 5 (3/2), DE VOS 6 (4/2), HARDING 6 (3/3): Not a
great day for the defence – when is? – but Jason looked mature and
responsible, and Dan Harding shows potential. Even he might have been
embarrassed by the official MotM award, as I’m sure he’d only claim to
have been finding his feet, but I suspect the award is decided by some
idiots in a corporate hospitality box, half of whom come to one match
a season. Fab showed some of his normal flair at the start, but went
AWOL several times in the second half, with at least one of the goals
being down to his mistake.

PETERS 5 (3/2), WILLIAMS 7 (3/4), BRUCE 7 (4/3), CURRIE 5 (2/3): Jaime
looked lively, but nobody wanted to play balls for him to run on to,
and Granville (I think) stuck to him like glue. With passes to feet,
he was just ordinary. Gavin really looked good, and with new boy Alex
Bruce, ran the midfield for 45 minutes. Alex seemed to rein himself in
after being booked, which was understandable but a shame. Darren was
his normal self, possibly even slower than ever; Dan Harding must have
been bemused on several occasions to take a few strides forward, look
up, and realise he’d already gone past the midfielder in front of him.
The trouble is, without Darren (and of course Jim now), who’s going to
put the crosses and corners in?

FORSTER 6 (3/3), BOWDITCH 6 (3/3): This was better from Deano: his
touch and acceleration was unquestionably the most skillful of any
player out there today. He looks more confident too. However, he still
seems lightweight, and created little of genuine impact. Forster
showed some impressive one-on-one speed, especially with the goal, but
faded in and out.

Subs: RICHARDS came on for Williams, substituted according to Jim
“because we didn’t want to push him too far” after limited pre-season
action. Worked hard but his appearance coincided with the team losing
its shape. LEE replaced Bowditch, and the contrast of his substance
with Deano’s style couldn’t have been more apparent. He was pulled
around a bit by the defence, but his theatrical reactions were simply
deplorable. I hate to see this from a Town player. HAYNES was a late
like-for-like swap for Peters, but had little chance to shine.

The CROWD were lively, although quietened when Palace got into the
game. The warm reception for Jim seemed to be appreciated though. The
club’s commercial side have obviously woken up, with free programmes,
free cans of Not Gay Coke, and the introduction of a season-long “win
a car” thing for half times (although whether Rob Chandler will still
be able to sound excited about it by February is questionable).

The REFEREE was OK, based on his card count being about right,
although some dodgy decisions certainly didn’t endear him to the North

Reply to “Ipswich Town 1 Crystal Palace 2”

Follow us on Twitter!

Site Search