The View From Churchmans

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


Ipswich Town 3 Plymouth 0

While your regular correspondent gambles his time away in Las Vegas, he’s
asked me, Andy Pye (aka Lord Mac) to step in and deputise. I had a gamble of
my own this afternoon, with money on Ipswich to win 3-1 and Garvan to score
first, so I was devastated with the disallowed goal that Plymouth ‘scored’,
as it cost me £875. As things stand, I’m a fiver down.

Other than that, a satisfactory afternoon from the results point of view,
which means we can all put away our relegation calculators for another year
and ­ hopefully ­ enjoy some more of our youngsters getting a run-out in the
six remaining games.

As we kicked off into the keen North wind and with the sun at our backs, we
were handed an instant fillip when Mathias Doumbe received the earliest ever
red card to be shown at Portman Road ­ he would have needed to punch the
referee in the face at the kick-off to beat it ­ and it looked pretty harsh
from where I was sitting. The assistant referee will not make Ian Holloway’s
Christmas card list.

But it defined the game and with Plymouth dropping back an attacking
midfielder into the back four and adopting a 4-3-2 formation, it was hardly
surprising that we ran the midfield show for the next 45 minutes. The two
good team goals we scored in the first 15 minutes ­ yes, really ­ should
have been added to by several more, while Scott Sinclair and Sylvan
Ebanks-Blake showed occasional glimpses of what might have been if Plymouth
hadn¹t been playing with 10 men and five first-team regulars missing.

Somewhat inexplicably ­ the second half failed to live up to expectations
and was a lack-lustre affair, as Plymouth re-organised and took the game to
us. Eventually, both sides drifted simultaneously out of the game and it
took the introduction of Haynes to revitalise us. At this point, we finally
decided to keep the ball on the floor when playing with the wind, and it
brought the minimum acceptable return of a single additional goal.

For those who still feel that studying the table is still worthwhile, we
have moved above Norwich, who got the Layer Road treatment. I’m off to count
the number of loan players that Leeds put out last night against Preston ­
if it is six as I suspect, there is mischief to be caused.

Overall Town Performance: 7 (3 for effort/4 for achievement)

Player Ratings

PRICE 7 (3/4): One point-blank save from the evergreen Hayles in the second
half and a fingertip save in the first was pretty much all that Lewis had to
do. Distribution was solid if unspectacular and while his counterpart in the
Plymouth goal was given more work, he was the one who struggled to keep his
goal kicks inside the white lines.

WRIGHT 6 (3/3), BRUCE 6 (3/3), DE VOS 6 (3/3), WILNIS 8 (4/4): After a solid
enough first-half performance, we got the jitters in the second half. Jason
virtually presented Ebanks-Blake with a second-half goal by attempting to
clear over his head while facing his own goal, but the effort was chalked
off ­ perhaps contentiously – for handball. Alex, ever eager to emulate
everything his skipper does, repeated the exact move only moments and again
we were lucky to survive. David misjudged the flight of one aerial ball and
had to rely on his keeper to save the header from Hayles which resulted.
Only Fabian gave an assured performance, avoided heart-stopping moments and
anticipated most of those his colleagues made in time to get them out of
trouble. He took a slight knock, which gave us our first sight of the third
MILLER 7 (4/3) to play for us in recent years, this one from up the road at
Bury St Edmunds. He looked confident and assured, and with his graduate
qualification, has probably ensured that the team¹s average IQ exceeds its
average age for the first time in a while.

RICHARDS 5 (3/2), WILLIAMS 7 (3/4), GARVAN 8 (4/4), ROBERTS 6 (3/3):
Not for the first time, Owen gets the man of the match, running the show in
midfield and opening the scoring. Well supported by Gavin, who made some
characteristic penetrating runs and pinpoint passes. Difficult to read too
much into this performance, though, as the opposition was a man light in
their theatre of operation. Roberts impressed in the first half but
characteristically faded in the second, while Richards tried hard as usual,
but generated little of note really. The latter was replaced by HAYNES 8
(4/4), who showed what their left-back what we had been missing for the
first hour. And following just such a run, he scored the third goal.

LEE 7 (3/4), WALTERS (4/3): just as these two seem to be developing an
understanding, Franny Jeffers will be back to break it up. Can’t see the
point really, as we aren’t going anywhere, but if it persuades a few that
he’ll be playing for us next season and renew their STs as a result, then
maybe there’s a case for it. I’d prefer to keep our money in the safe and
see how far these two can go, backed up by Haynes, Rhodes (who made the
squad on the back of two sublime goals for the ressies at Orient on Tuesday)
and CLARKE, who came on briefly today to replace Jon, but missed a sitter
and gave possession away too often; poor lad, he’s better than that.

The CROWD 7 (3/4) was cheerful throughout, although if there were 21,000 of
them, local sales of invisibility cloaks must be booming. The REFEREE 7
(4/3) did OK by us, but should probably chuck away any Devon brochures now
if he’s considering where to go on holiday this summer.

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