The View From Churchmans

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


Ipswich Town 2 Preston NE 1

Well, of course we made heavy weather of it, that’s so often the way, isn’t
it? This was a game against a very poor team which should have been wrapped
up by half time, but we didn’t have the normal incisiveness up front, and
even though we still managed to create several chances, only one was
converted. So by the end we were hanging on by the skin of our teeth against
a Preston team which had suddenly sensed an opportunity and had decided to
play a bit. For the first half, the thoughts of most supporters were
probably in France with the England team, and some of the players seemed
equally as distracted. The new plan of going 4-4-2 with strikers out wide
(does that make it 4-2-4?) looks exciting, but almost gives us too many
options, and with Walters on the right being the preferred channel, poor
Billy Clarke didn’t get much of the ball. However, it’s the defence which
should be singled out for particular praise. They rarely looked like
conceding, and operated really well as a unit. I’m not sure why Fab was
preferred to Alex Bruce, but he certainly didn’t let anyone down, and at 600
years old, looks as fit as anyone in the team. If the game in hand goes to
form, we’ll actually be right up there challenging. Now if only we can get
the away form sorted out…

Overall Town performance:
6/10 – solid, and never truly in danger, but lacking a little spark up front.

Opposition quality:
4/10 – pretty clueless until they brought a couple of useful subs on
(Agyemang and the cheating Mellor).

5/10 – little of significance to do, but hopelessly conned by Mellor
for the “penalty”.

Match excitement:
4/10 – I have to admit my attention wandered on more than one occasion.

Opposition supporters:
6/10 – most probably chose to stay at home for the rugby, but those
that made the trip seemed like a pretty decent bunch.

Player ratings as ever out of 5 for each of effort/achievement…

ALEXANDER 6 (3/3) was the main beneficiary of the excellent defensive
display in front of him, and had very little to do. Both he and the
defenders deserved a clean sheet.

WRIGHT 7 (4/3) had another steady game; WILNIS 8 (4/4) was athletic and
involved, although he produced a couple of heart-stopping moments; DE VOS 8
(4/4) was again composed and almost faultless; and HARDING 7 (4/3) worked
hard throughout. Just as with almost every home performance this season,
there were precious few moments when you felt at all worried when the
opposition came at us, even when it was in numbers.

WALTERS 8 (4/4) can enter his name on the player of the year voting form
already – he’s proving to be a great target man, winning almost everything
thrown at him and rarely wasting a ball, although he understandably seemed
to have tired by the end; MILLER 7 (3/4) will have been massively relieved
to have scored a goal at last; GARVAN 7 (4/3) was industrious and imposing
again; and CLARKE 6 (3/3) looked useful once he started to see more of the
ball in the second half, although being promptly substituted didn’t allow
him to see this through. Miller and Garvan are being asked to do quite a job
in the middle of the park with the wide men getting so advanced, but they’re
forming a nice partnership which – with apologies to Monica – I’d like to
see develop.

LEE 6 (3/3) got his head down and did a decent job without any histrionics,
which is really encouraging to see – I’m becoming much more of a fan this
season; and so it’s COUNAGO 5 (3/2) who was this afternoon’s fall guy – he
looked really lightweight and every other move in the first half seemed to
break down with him. Nice backheel for the winner though.

As for the subs, HAYNES was lively, without making a breakthrough, but
ROBERTS made little impression on the game.

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