The View From Churchmans

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


Ipswich Town 0 Barnsley 0

I can’t remember how long it’s been since we had a goal-less league game at FPR. One moment please. (Sounds of interweb being consulted). Well, it would appear that it was well over a year ago, at the start of last season. And the one before that was in 2003. So you could say this afternoon was something of a rarity. But it should also be said that it wasn’t an unreasonable representation of a game where both sides were fairly well matched in their mediocrity.

Barnsley started off the better side and whilst we slowly came back into it, and ended up on top for a far greater period, they never looked like cracking. They clearly started off with a decent plan of how to stop us, and when we tried something a bit different, they adapted instantly. Smart team, smart manager. It was obvious early on that Lee wasn’t going to get much joy in the air, and I’d have considered a change of tactics (i.e Danny Haynes) at half time if I’d been Jim anyway. As it happened, the substitution was forced even earlier, but it was disappointing that Danny’s impact in the middle was so little that he had to be swapped with Jonny Walters for the second half, and neither were particularly effective in their exchanged positions.

The main problem – as against Southampton – was a lack of creativity in the middle, although this time the problem seemed to be that we’ve rather built a style around Owen Garvan’s strengths, and we weren’t really able to adapt at short notice to his absence. Gavin Williams is a good player (perhaps as good as Owen) but he’s a different one.

The best players on both sides were the centre-halves. It was a match for those who enjoy solid defending in conditions for real men.

Overall Town performance:
5/10 – subdued.

Opposition quality:
7/10 – intelligent.

8/10 – nothing controversial to do, but he really kept this one flowing, ensuring what would otherwise have been a really dull match into just an uneventful one.

Match excitement:
3/10 – I don’t recall being out of my seat once.

Opposition supporters:
5/10 – about the smallest in number of any side this season, but they made themselves heard. I’m not sure they realise how silly “Barn-ser-ley Barn-ser-ley Barn-ser-ley” (to the tune of “Ingerlund Ingerlund Ingerlund”) sounds. Or maybe it’s post-modern irony or something.

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

ALEXANDER 6 (3/3) was competent when he needed to be, and pulled off one fine tip-over.

WRIGHT 7 (4/3) was dependable again, and worked hard; BRUCE 7 (4/3) and DE VOS 8 (4/4) were terrific, and Jason in particular looked like the only player who really wanted to press on and win the game towards the end; HARDING 6 (3/3) was also quite sound.

WALTERS 5 (3/2) didn’t have his usual impact in the first half, and then when put in the middle for the second half, probably had even less; MILLER 6 (3/3) made himself available but didn’t do a lot more than just keep things moving; WILLIAMS 5 (3/2) looked good on the ball but very little happened and he has to take a large responsibility for our lack of creativity; CLARKE 5 (3/2) scurried around as usual but – and it pains me to say it – is failing to deliver the goods in almost every respect.

LEE looked tired again, and was obviously labouring on the fitness front; COUNAGO 6 (3/3) was the source of the vast majority of problems which we caused the Barnsley defence, but in the end, he had hardly an attempt on goal in ninety minutes.

HAYNES 4 (2/2) was really poor, both in the centre and out wide. ROBERTS looked sluggish again; twice he was beaten by a quicker defender to a ball which really should have been his.

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