The View From Churchmans

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


Ipswich Town 3 Wolves 0

There were no outstanding individual performances in this one, nor did we put on a showpiece display, yet there was something very satisfying about the whole package today. Obviously the result: Wolves are playoff contenders, and had been on a nice unbeaten run. But perhaps even more importantly, you feel this might be the most settled, improving team we’ve had for a long time, and they’re playing like it. Gone is the edginess and sheer unpredictability of the whole promotion-or-bust Royle era, where you felt nobody knew what was going to happen with the team next, but equally, the uncertainty of Jim’s early days, with all the loanees, is also in the past. There’s room in the team for developing players like Billy Clarke, who I just don’t think would have been given such an extended chance in one position if he’d come along at any time in the preceding five (or even ten) years. He’s not nearly an automatic choice, yet he’ll only become so if he gets a decent opportunity. This is encouraging stuff.

As to the match, we were completely over-run in the first ten to fifteen minutes, then just as in the Colchester game – except an hour earlier – a penalty save woke us up. Credit to the defence for not conceding in the first quarter of the match when under pressure from a strong Wolves attack. After that we were probably the better team throughout, and due more to our own efforts than on Tuesday, when Colchester’s loss of discipline proved their undoing.

Despite my reservations about the depth (or lack of it) of the current squad, the quality and use of the subs bench was once again an asset. I’m not just thinking about Danny’s regular goalscoring exploits, but also about the way in which Alex Briuce was so swiftly brought on as a man-marker as soon as they heard Wolves’ instruction to push the big midfielder up front at the end. Still not sure about the point of Gary Roberts though.

All in all then, encouraging times. I’m not sure about us being second favourites for promotion (are the rest of Watford’s contenders really that unexceptional?) but let’s enjoy this as long as it lasts.

Overall Town performance:

7/10 – good all-round team display, with far fewer mistakes than we’ve grown up with over the years.

Opposition quality:

7/10 – I doubt this was one of their finer performances, but they look strong.


6/10 – generally OK and uncontroversial. Others might have red-carded Alexander but the replay showed the penalty alone to be the correct decision.

Match excitement:

7/10 – enjoyed this one, although the atmosphere from the home support was pretty dismal.

Opposition supporters:

6/10 – decent numbers, but saw little to get them going.

Player ratings as ever 1 to 5 for each of effort/achievement…

ALEXANDER 8 (3/5) created his own MotM award by giving away, then saving a penalty – for the first time in three matches it probably was a penalty by the way – and followed this up with two more great stops, one in each half.

WRIGHT 7 (4/3) was controlled and impressive, and worked well in combination with the ever-willing Walters in front of him; WILNIS 6 (4/2) just about performed as strongly as the other defenders, but had to work very hard to do so (and loses a point for
that back-pass); DE VOS 8 (4/4) also put in the effort and was imposing throughout; and HARDING 7 (4/3) completed an excellent defensive display – loved the surging run to set up Danny’s goal.

WALTERS 6 (3/3) again didn’t quite reach his early-season standards, but still caused problems; LEGWINSKI 6 (3/3) started off as shakily as Tuesday night but got more into the game as it went on, and thereby made a crucial difference; GARVAN 7 (3/4)
played consistently throughout and provided one or two killer passes; and CLARKE 6 (3/3) continues to improve in the wide position enough for us to not really miss having an on-form proper left winger.

LEE 6 (3/3) was tireless and provided a gem of a finish (much better than it looks on TV, by the way); and COUNAGO 6 (3/3) also justified his existence with a lovely finish, despite his contribution being a little more sporadic.

ROBERTS got 20 minutes but once again, disappointed; HAYNES only got half that time but made far more of an impact; and BRUCE came on for an interesting five minutes’ marking job to ensure the clean sheet.

Now just for once, could a derby match PLEASE go to form?

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